Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone - WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate



Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/7/2019

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, there’s one three-digit number that could be oh so important to you. That number is your credit score. Read on to find out how a credit score can affect you and the steps you can take to be sure that your credit is in good standing when you head to apply for a mortgage. 


What Is A Credit Score?


Your credit score is checked by lenders of all kinds. Every time you apply for a loan or a credit card, there’s a good chance that your credit score is being pulled to see if you qualify for the loan. Your credit score is calculated based on the information on your credit report. This information includes:


Payment history

Debt-to-credit ratio

Length of credit history

New credit accounts opened


The areas with the most impact on your score is your payment history and your debt-to-credit ratio. This means that on-time payments are super important. You also don’t want to get anywhere close to maxing out your credit cards or loan amounts to keep your score up. 


What’s A Good Score?


If you’re aiming for the perfect credit score, it’s 850. Most consumers won’t reach that state of perfection. That’s, OK because you don’t have to be perfect to buy a house. If your score is 740 and above, know that you’re in great shape to get a mortgage. Even if your score is below 740 but around 700 or above, you’ll be able to get a good interest rate on your mortgage. Most lenders typically look for a score of 620 and above. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score the better your interest rate will be.    



What If You Lack Credit History?


Most people should get a credit card around age 20 in order to begin building credit. You can still qualify for a mortgage without a credit history, but it will be considerably harder. Lenders may look at things like your rent payments or car payments. Lenders want to know that you’re a responsible person to lend to. 


What If Your Score Needs Help?


It doesn’t mean you’re a hopeless case if you lack good credit. Everything from errors on your credit report to missed payments can be fixed. The most important thing that you can do if you’re buying a home in the near future is to be mindful of your credit. Keep an eye on your credit report and continue to make timely payments. With a bit of focus, you’ll be well on your way to securing a mortgage for the home of your dreams.        






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Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 11/1/2018

Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.

With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.

1. Refinance your mortgage


If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.

If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.

This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.

But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.

2. Make extra payments

An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.

Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.

3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year

Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.

The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.

This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.

On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.

Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.




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Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 2/9/2017

Owning a house gives you a sense of fulfillment, and helps boost your self-esteem. It is a long term investment and should not be taken lightly. The present state of your finances is possibly the single most important factor when contemplating home ownership.  Before you start shopping for a house, take into consideration the following factors. Have you set aside enough money for the down payment?  The amount you need varies based on the price of the home and percentage required by your lender.  Zero down mortgages are possible, however the interest rate is typically very high increasing the amount paid out over the life of the loan. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically required for this type of loan, again increasing your monthly payment. How high of a mortgage payment can you afford to make ?  If you opt for a fixed rate, your payment would remain consistent throughout the period of the loan. This type of loan is favorable for future financial planning.   Adjustable rate mortgages make it a bit trickier to predict your monthly payments based on the fluctuating interest rate throughout the duration of the loan.  This type of loan could be risky if interest rates rise and your payments increase significantly higher than anticipated. The security of your financial future is paramount when acquiring a mortgage loan.  You would not want to enter into this long term investment without stable employment and a definite career path.  Most banks and lending companies require a borrower to have been with the same employer for at least 2 years before considering a loan of this nature. Secure financial footing is key when applying for a mortgage loan. When determining your readiness to purchase a home, your credit score is as important as your finances. If you have a low credit score, you’ll attract a higher lending rate. This implies an increase in the amount paid back to the lender over the duration of the loan. An excellent credit score of 720 or above attracts the best interest rates and repayment terms. If your credit score is too low, improve it by:

  • Becoming Debt Free
  • Removing all inaccuracies from your credit report
  • Making all monthly payments in a timely manner -- eliminating late payments
  • Avoid applying for new loans and opening credit accounts
The commitment of home ownership comes with financial responsibilities beyond the monthly mortgage payment. Be certain to consider additional expenses such as property tax, utility bills, and home maintenance costs when calculating your budget.  Carefully weigh out all the factors to ensure you will be comfortable with your monthly payments allowing you to enjoy your new home for years to come.





Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 6/30/2016

For the generation that grew up at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, buying a home is a scary concept. Many young people in the 18-34 age range are dealing with high rent, a poor job market, unpaid internships, and student loans the size of a home loan. Yet, others are finding their footing and realizing that owning a home is advantageous in the long run. If you're thinking of delving into the world of home ownership for the first time here's a crash course in Home Buying 101.

Figure out your finances

You should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
  • Total monthly income
  • Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
  • Total monthly savings
  • Total savings and assets
  • Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
When crunching these numbers you should (hopefully) find that your income is higher than your expenditures and your savings should account for most of the difference. If your savings is lower than it should be, you either missed something on the expenditures list or you are spending more than you should be if you want to buy a home. Down Payments Down payments on a home, post-financial crisis, range from anywhere between 0-25 percent of the price of the home, 20 being the median. A down payment ideally shouldn't break your savings in case you have any unforeseen expenses once you buy your home. Moving is time-consuming and can be pricey, so you'll need to account for this in your finances.

Lock Down Your Financing

There are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.

Finding and buying your home

Once you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.  





Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 11/26/2015

Trying to decide what type of mortgage is right for you can be tricky business. So you may be wondering what is an adjustable rate mortgage? An adjustable rate mortgage or ARM, has an interest rate that is linked to an economic index. This means the interest rate, and your payments, adjust up or down as the index changes. There are three things to know about adjustable rate mortgages: index, margin and adjustment period. What is the index? The index is a guide that lenders use to measure interest rate changes. Common indexes used by lenders include the activity of one, three, and five-year Treasury securities. Each adjustable rate mortgage is linked to a specific index. The margin is the lender's cost of doing business plus the profit they will make on the loan. The margin is added to the index rate to determine your total interest rate. The adjustment period is the period between potential interest rate adjustments. For example, you may see a loan described as a 5-1. The first figure (5) refers to the initial period of the loan, or how long the rate will stay the same. The second number (1) is the adjustment period. This is how often adjustments can be made to the rate after the initial period has ended. In this case, one year or annually. An adjustable rate mortgage might be a good choice if you are looking to qualify for a larger loan. The rate of an ARM is typically lower than a fixed rate mortgage. Remember, when the adjustment period is up the rate and payment can increase. Another reason to consider an ARM is if you are planning to sell the home within a few years. If this is the case you may end up selling before the adjustment period is up. Federal law provides that all lenders provide a federal Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement before consummating a consumer credit transaction. This will be given to you in writing. It is designed to help you compare and select a mortgage.







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