Author: Timothy Browning

Mortgage Types And Options


Mortgage loans come in many different varieties to suit borrowers with unique housing needs and financial situations. Learn about the most common types of home loans to determine which best suits your needs.

Conventional conforming mortgages follow guidelines, with loan limit maximums that often change annually to reflect increasing home values. They typically require a high credit score and a 20% down payment. To choose the right option for you, talk to Steve Wilcox W/Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.

mortgageConventional Mortgages

Conventional mortgages are private-sector home loans that do not offer a guarantee from the government. They are typically ideal for borrowers with good credit, stable income, and enough cash reserves to make a reasonable down payment on the residence. Conventional mortgages have higher minimum credit scores and require more documentation than government-backed loans. However, they also generally carry lower interest rates than jumbo loans, FHA loans, and VA loans. Conventional loans can be obtained through almost every type of lender, including banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage brokers.

Conventional loans can be either conforming or non-conforming. Conforming conventional mortgages adhere to the standards, two of the government-sponsored enterprises that buy loans from lenders and pool them as investments. Conforming conventional mortgages must meet certain financing limits for each county in the country, with higher limits for high-cost areas. Non-conforming conventional mortgages are those that do not adhere to these guidelines and may require a larger down payment, higher credit score, or lower debt-to-income ratio than conforming loans.

While conventional mortgages have more stringent eligibility requirements than government-backed programs, they are still available to many borrowers who do not qualify for government-backed options. In addition, conventional mortgages do not come with the program-specific fees associated with government-backed loan types, such as upfront mortgage insurance and monthly payments.

Despite the more restrictive credit requirements and documentation needed for conventional mortgages, borrowers who choose this option can often save money in the long run by choosing a traditional mortgage with low mortgage rates and an adjustable-rate structure. They can avoid the cost of mortgage insurance that is required for borrowers with down payments of less than 20% and can request to have PMI removed once their equity reaches 20 percent. Borrowers should always compare the costs of conventional mortgages with those of government-backed options to determine which is the better fit for them. However, mortgage rates change constantly in response to the economy and borrowers’ ability or willingness to purchase homes, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all home buyers.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Conventional fixed-rate mortgages are the most popular loan type in the country. They have a 30-year term and have an interest rate that stays the same for the life of the loan. These types of loans help protect borrowers against fluctuating interest rates and allow them to budget for their home purchasing or refinancing plans without having to worry about changing monthly payments.

Borrowers may also choose a shorter-term fixed-rate mortgage, which typically has a lower interest rate. These mortgages have a 15-year term and can save borrowers thousands of dollars in interest costs throughout their loan.

In addition, borrowers can choose between amortizing and non-amortizing mortgages. Amortizing mortgages allow borrowers to pay both principal and interest each month, which helps them build equity in their homes. Non-amortizing mortgages, on the other hand, require that all of a borrower’s monthly payments go toward interest charges, which can lead to the repayment of their entire debt before they have built up much equity in their homes.

Regardless of the terms chosen, all conventional mortgages must meet certain standards to be approved for financing. The most important qualification is a strong credit score, which can make or break a potential borrower’s chances of qualifying for a mortgage and receiving the best interest rates available. To improve their odds, borrowers should take steps to fix any issues that may be negatively impacting their credit scores before applying for a mortgage.

Another mortgage loan option that is popular for homeowners and homebuyers is an adjustable-rate mortgage or ARM. These mortgages come with a low introductory rate for an initial period, which can range from three to 10 years, depending on the lender. Afterward, borrowers’ interest rates can change periodically. ARMs can be appealing to borrowers who want to buy or refinance their homes at a lower interest rate but plan on moving in the future.

As interest rates rise, the demand for ARMs has also increased. With many lenders now offering a wide range of ARMs with different initial terms, it’s important for potential borrowers to carefully consider their options before choosing the right type of mortgage for them.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)

An ARM is a home loan that allows your interest rate to adjust based on a variable index. This is what makes them popular among homebuyers who plan to stay in their homes for only a few years, as they can take advantage of lower initial rates than they would receive on a fixed-rate mortgage.

In addition, many ARMs come with caps that limit how much your interest rate and payment can rise from one adjustment period to the next, which helps to mitigate the risk of unpredictable market trends. These caps are typically set on a monthly, periodic, or lifetime basis.

When comparing ARMs, it is important to look at the terms of each product to determine which is the best fit for your situation. The most common ARM products feature an initial period and an adjustment frequency that is determined when you apply for the loan. For example, a 5/1 ARM offers an initial period of five years before the loan’s interest rate is adjusted, and then it will adjust once per year thereafter.

The interest rate that affects your monthly payments on an ARM is based on the index it is tied to and the margin added to that index. The index is typically a widely used benchmark like the SOFR (Selective Offered Frequency Ratio), which is the average of the yields on 10-year Treasury bills. The margin is a fixed percentage that is negotiated at the time of application and may be influenced by your credit score and other factors.

Generally, the most creditworthy borrowers will pay close to the standard margin, while loans made to higher-risk borrowers may be marked up further. Some ARMs also have caps that are established at the time of origination and do not change over the life of the loan.

For most borrowers, an ARM is an excellent option for taking advantage of attractive introductory rates and helping to finance the home they want without stretching their budget too thin in the beginning. However, these loan types aren’t for everyone, as they can become costly if market conditions lead to big interest rate increases that you cannot afford.

FHA Loans

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, you have many mortgage options to consider. Carefully weighing the pros and cons of each is an important first step to finding the best fit for your unique financial situation.

FHA loans have more lenient credit, down payment, and debt-to-income requirements than conventional loans. However, lenders still must verify your income through pay stubs, W-2s, and federal tax returns.

The FHA also requires that your DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, be at or below 43 percent. This is much lower than the maximum DTI of most other loan types, allowing you to qualify with a higher income and lower credit score. However, it is important to note that if your DTI is too high, you could have trouble qualifying for the loan or may be charged a higher interest rate.

While you can get an FHA mortgage with a qualifying credit score as low as 500, it’s more common to need 620 or higher to qualify. Additionally, you’ll need a minimum down payment of 3.5%.

Compared to conventional loan programs, you’ll typically pay a lower mortgage insurance premium with an FHA loan. This is due to the government’s guarantee of the loan, which protects the lender if you default on your payments.

Another advantage of an FHA loan is that it’s easier to refinance, if necessary. You can do this in a few different ways, including through the FHA program, which eliminates some of the costs and steps that are required for other refinances.

While FHA loans have many benefits, it’s important to know your options and understand what you’ll be responsible for upfront and over the life of the loan. As mortgage rates continue to remain low, this is an excellent time to shop around for the best rates and find a lender that’s a good fit for you.

Contact us to learn more about the mortgage process and the loan types that may be right for you. Our experienced professionals will work with you to find the right solution that fits your lifestyle and budget.

Driveway Replacement: Repairing Cracks and Potholes

Driveway Replacement

A new driveway is a major investment. Whether it’s made of concrete or asphalt, the driveway serves as the first impression for guests and visitors to your home.Driveway Replacement

Eventually, most driveways will need to be replaced. It’s important to know when the time is right and how to plan for it. Consult the experts at Driveway Replacement Colorado Springs

Cracks and potholes are not only unsightly, but they also allow water to seep into the subsoil base of your driveway, causing damage. It is important to address these issues as soon as possible so that the problem doesn’t worsen over time. Depending on the extent of the damage, there are several options for repair.

A crack sealer is an inexpensive and quick solution for smaller cracks. It can help extend the life of your driveway for two to three years, as long as it is properly applied and maintained. Hose down the area to be repaired and allow it to completely dry before applying the crack filler. It’s best to apply this type of crack repair before the temperature starts dropping. Cold weather can cause asphalt to contract and enlarge the cracks.

If you’re experiencing major cracking or heaving in your driveway, it may be time to call a professional paving contractor. If these problems aren’t addressed, they can lead to a collapsed or unusable driveway.

Heaving and cracking can be caused by many factors, including poor soil preparation or drainage. This is why it’s so important to hire a professional with experience installing and repairing asphalt driveways. Ask to see examples of their work from neighbors and friends who have had similar paving done.

A large crack in the pavement can lead to a pothole, which is a safety hazard for drivers and pedestrians alike. They are caused by water that has infiltrated through cracks and soaked into the asphalt and gravel subbase, then freezes and expands with the weather. Over time, this destabilizes the pavement and causes it to sink into a hole.

Potholes can be repaired by filling them with hot or cold-pour rubberized crackfill. However, if the cracks are wider than 1/2-inch, resurfacing or lifting the driveway is a better option for long-term repairs. A resurfacing job will cost more than patching, but it will add years to the life of your driveway. The most durable option is to replace your driveway, but even that requires proper installation and maintenance.

Damage to the Subsoil Base

Concrete driveways are fairly sturdy, but they can be damaged by frost and ground shifting. Cracks in concrete can let in water that erodes the subbase and freezes, making the problem worse. Often, the only solution is to replace the driveway entirely.

The same holds true for asphalt. It’s cheaper to repair cracks and patch holes than to replace the entire surface, but homeowners shouldn’t ignore damage or assume that it won’t get worse. Small, solitary cracks may not seem to require repair, but these fissures can spread rapidly and lead to potholes.

Alligator cracks—interconnected cracks that resemble reptile scales—may also indicate a more serious problem beneath the surface. Unless the cracks are insignificant, a homeowner should consider replacing the asphalt rather than simply filling them with sealant.

If a concrete driveway has major spalling, it isn’t safe to drive on. Disintegrating concrete is unsightly, and it can weaken the structural integrity of the driveway, which could collapse under the weight of vehicles or other forces.

Concrete driveways can be repaired by grinding the old concrete and applying a thick layer of new concrete over it. The concrete can be stained and textured to hide flaws, and there are many options for patterning and color.

If the existing driveway has minor settling, contractors can use slab jacking to raise the concrete back to its original position. This process involves pumping a mixture of cement, sand, and fly ash underneath the concrete to raise it.

If the existing concrete is heaving, it means that the soil under the driveway has shifted or eroded. This can cause one section of the driveway to rise up over another at a seam or crack. This can be caused by a variety of issues, including improper drainage design and the presence of tree roots. In some cases, regrading the driveway can help, but in other situations, it’s necessary to replace the driveway altogether. A new concrete driveway will better direct water away from homes, preventing foundation problems. It will also restart the lifespan clock for the driveway, reducing future repairs.

Severely cracked driveways

While some hairline cracks in concrete driveways are to be expected, severe cracks can detract from curb appeal and may be a sign of larger problems. It’s important to get these repaired promptly and correctly. The right repair solution can save you money in the long run and prevent further damage. Whether you need a do-it-yourself repair or professional assistance, a quick estimate from a local contractor can help you decide the best way to proceed.

A concrete contractor can offer a number of solutions, from simple color enhancements to complete resurfacing or replacement. In some cases, a repair can be done on-site using a product such as Quikrete’s Concrete Resurfacing Mix and Concrete Overlay that can be applied to the existing surface to create a fresh new look for the whole driveway. In other cases, a professional will need to jack the driveway up and remove it for reconstruction.

Cracks in concrete driveways can occur from many sources, both during construction and over time. Some can be caused by the initial pour, while others may result from settling and heavy traffic. In any event, these are signs that the structural integrity of the driveway is deteriorating and should be investigated by a professional to see if there are underlying issues that require more extensive repair or replacement.

Small cracks less than 1/2 inch wide can be filled with a concrete or asphalt crack filler. These are usually available in no-mess cartridges for a caulking gun or in pourable squeeze bottles. To prepare the area, chisel away any loose material and clean the crack of any debris or weed growth. Crack fillers with a self-leveling capability that is flexible to accommodate slight changes in temperature are recommended.

More significant cracks, sometimes called “alligator skin” because of their appearance, can be repaired with a concrete patching compound. This type of compound contains a plasticizer that allows it to stretch as the concrete expands and contracts, helping it bond and remain in place. Once it is pressed into the crack and smoothed with a putty knife, the cracks should be covered with a high-quality sealer to protect against weather and other elements.

Curb Appeal

A pristine driveway is one of the first things potential buyers see, and it’s a strong indicator that the home they are touring will be well maintained. However, a cracked, crumbling, or otherwise damaged front walkway and driveway can be a huge turnoff. Updating these areas is the quickest and easiest way to boost your curb appeal without spending the money it takes to completely overhaul your whole exterior.

When it comes to replacing your driveway, there are a few different options you can choose from, including resurfacing and complete replacement. Resurfacing involves removing the old surface and applying a new layer, which can include filler or sealer to repair small cracks and holes. It’s often a good choice if you’re in the market for an affordable upgrade since asphalt and concrete are prone to cracking over time.

Choosing the right driveway material is also important. Both Micetich and Harmon agree that it is best to work with a professional who uses high-quality materials, so you can expect your driveway to last longer. A contractor who is using subpar materials will most likely cut corners, and you’ll end up with a surface that deteriorates much faster than it should.

If you choose to go with concrete, consider adding a decorative element to it to increase its curb appeal. For example, you can add a stenciled pattern or choose to stain it a unique color. You can even opt for a more modern look with resin-bound surfacing, which is a coating that uses a mix of resin and aggregate stone to create your ideal design.

For homeowners who want to take their curb appeal game up a notch, lighting is a great option. “Lighting to me is drama; it’s the jewelry on a house,” Fleming says. Strategically placed solar lights can be used to highlight the shape and texture of a concrete driveway. You can also hang string lights along the edge of your walkway to illuminate the pathway and set a welcoming tone for visitors.

Your driveway and front walk are more than just a path from the street to your door. They’re the first impression a visitor has of your home, and it’s important that they leave a positive one. Replacing or repairing your driveway will give you and future visitors the peace of mind that it will be safe to park on and enjoy this important outdoor space.

The Duties of a Realtor

real estate

If you’re in the market to buy or sell real estate, you should know about a realtor’s duties. There’s more to hiring a realtor than just making a few phone calls and asking for an appointment. A realtor’s job involves working with the buyer or seller and negotiating the purchase or sale of a home. real estate

Real estate agents must have a thorough understanding of the local market. They can refer clients to professionals such as mortgage brokers. These individuals help buyers to find the right lender and to secure a loan.

In addition, a real estate agent will need to help buyers with home inspections. Their agents have relationships with reputable inspectors.

Homebuying can be a stressful and emotional experience. However, some tools can help smooth out the process. Among them are real estate agents. A buyer’s agent works with a homebuyer to provide an insider’s perspective. This includes an unbiased analysis of the best neighborhoods for a particular family. It may also include advice on schools, entertainment options, and other factors to consider.

A buyer’s agent is usually a part of a larger team of agents, which can be a real asset during a competitive market. They have access to information about the latest homes for sale, as well as open houses and other events that may be of interest to prospective buyers.

When buying a home, the buyer’s agent can help you navigate the legalities and complexities of the purchasing process. If you are looking for a new place, you will need to get a pre-approval letter for a mortgage. You may also need to hire a contractor to repair or renovate the property.

A listing agent is a professional who is responsible for helping you sell your home. They are a vital part of the sales process, helping to make sure you get the best price possible.

Listing agents are able to give you insights into the local real estate market. They can also help you with marketing your property, as well as making suggestions for upgrades that will improve the value of your home.

It is important to understand the differences between a listing agent and a selling agent. Depending on your circumstances, a listing agent may be the right choice for you. Listed below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a listing agent.

First, it is important to know your agent’s credentials. While most listing agents are ethical and hard-working, some unscrupulous ones might take advantage of you. Be sure to do your due diligence and ask for references from previous clients.

The Code of Ethics for Realtors is a detailed ethical framework that governs the actions of all real estate professionals. It provides options to protect the interests of consumers. If you are a real estate professional, you can download the free Code of Ethics from NAR.

There are 17 articles that cover many aspects of real estate ethics. These include adherence to the law, the disclosure of personal information, and maintaining the client’s best interest.

The NAR Professional Standards Committee has a role in ensuring that members meet the highest professional standards. They hold special meetings and meetings on association leadership.

The NAR Code of Ethics is a comprehensive guide for all realtors. Each year, the Code is updated to reflect changes in the industry. For example, the current version of the Code outlines new obligations related to discriminatory conduct.

As the real estate market continues to grow and more people get into the market to buy a home, the number of job tasks a real estate agent does for a buyer increases. A real estate agent’s job is to negotiate on the buyer’s behalf and make sure they get the best deal possible.

Another important task a buyer’s agent performs is to protect the client’s approval. The financing process can be a complicated one. If there are significant changes in the financial situation after the application is submitted, funding can be denied.

Realtor fees are not just the fees you pay for a listing, but they can be a significant part of your total transaction costs. Fortunately, real estate agents can be very willing to negotiate on your behalf.

The fee is typically a percentage of the sales price. Depending on your agent and the market, you may be able to get a discount.