6 Tips for a Quick and Easy Mortgage

Westport Mortgage has been in business since 1996 which means we have lots of experience in closing loans. We’ve learned from our experiences and would love to share what makes for a smooth loan process. Please read the following tips so YOUR loan could also close smoothly.

CONTACT US BEFORE YOU FIND A HOUSE

If you are in the market to buy a house, PLEASE reach out to us first! Let us review your finances so you can become pre-qualified. This way, your realtor will show you only homes you are qualified to purchase. Your realtor may not even agree to show you homes UNTIL they have a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage broker. Also, when you want to put in an offer, time is of the essence and offers are typically presented with a pre-qual letter! In a hot market, buyers can find themselves in a multiple bid situation. Including a prequalification letter from a trusted mortgage company can sway the seller in your favor.

[Read more…]

“Moving” In The Right Direction

With last week’s announcement by Wells to cut 700 mortgage jobs and Chase’s announcement to slash 22 mortgage products and 8,000 jobs, we just want to remind you that we are doing just the opposite. We have recently added two seasoned Loan Officers, Jim Hanrahan and Paula Greenberg, and an additional full time Loan Processor, Lisa Abassi, to serve you.

In addition, we have significantly increased the number of lenders and types of loan products (CHFA, VA, USDA, FHA, Jumbo and Conventional) to better serve you.

Fairfield County Events for this Weekend!

Here are some of the events that are happening in Fairfield County this weekend:

MUSIC

  • Citizen Cope at The Klein on Saturday 1/18. Citizen Cope presents a unique acoustic tour. Come and see this self realized writer & performer the way that he is, has been, and will be; a man and a guitar.
  • Martin Sexton at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Saturday 1/18. Spirited and soulful, Sexton’s songwriting covers the American landscape from gospel, R&B, country and blues. His songs are featured in film and television including NBC’s Scrubs and Showtime’s hit series Brotherhood.

VISUAL ARTS

  • Fairfield’s Rockin’ Top Ten at the Fairfield Museum & History Center. For more than 75 years, some of America’s most renowned musicians have called this area home. This exhibition celebrates 10 musicians who have helped create our region’s musical legacy.

FAMILY & KIDS

  • Hip Hop Dinosaurs is at the Bruce Museum on Monday, 1/20. Celebrate this important day at the Bruce where Connecticut’s Arts for Learning presents Hip Hop Dimensions, a diverse collection of dancers who give electrifying performances and educate audiences on the history, culture, and dance styles of Hip-Hop.
  • Dino-Light is at the Westport Country Playhouse on Sunday, 1/19.Westport Country Playhouse presents “Dino-Light,” in which glowing electroluminescent creatures will light up the darkness in a heart-rending original tale.

67% Believe Now is a “Good Time To Buy!”

This is an excerpt from a recent post from Dan Green:

Each month, Fannie Mae conducts a National Housing Survey. The agency speaks with 1,000 households nationwide about the state of the U.S. housing market. Survey results from December show consumers overwhelmingly bullish on the future of housing with 67% of those surveyed said now is “a good time to buy a home”. It’s easy to understand why respondents are optimistic. As compared to one year ago, home values in many U.S. cities are up ten percentage points or more versus last year, with some areas seeing growth of 20% or more.

The housing market’s recovery has been national news. Hard-hit cities during last decade’s downturn have led this decade’s rebound. Phoenix, Arizona and San Francisco, California are two notable markets in which single-family home values have climbed twenty-plus percent. Condos are faring even better.

A sampling of recent statistics demonstrates how much U.S. housing has improved.

  • Existing home supply is at just 5.1 months nationwide
  • New Home Sales are up 17% annually
  • Homebuilder confidence is at a 7-year high

Things to do in Fairfield County this Weekend!

Here are some of the events that are happening in Fairfield County this weekend:

MUSIC

  • Phil Vassar Friday at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Known as one of Nashville’s top tunesmiths, Phil has hit the Top 5 seven times and his songs other artists have taken to #1 include “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw, “She’s Right On The Money” by Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright.”
  • An Evening of Music at the Pequot Library on Saturday. Local pianist, Alex Beyer, vocalist, Katherine Waugh, and pianist Reverend Alan Murchie perform in this not-to-be-missed unique concert.
  • Keller Williams – Fairfield Theater Company on Saturday night. Keller Williams, the ultimate one man band, has made his mark playing from coast to coast with his Boss Loop Station. Creating kaleidoscopic tunes one layer at a time, Keller is a one man jam band and a legend in the making.

Comedy

  • Whose Barn is it Anyway? Improv comedy – Start the year with laughs! The Role in the Hay Players are back for their popular comedy night. In the unpredictable world of improv comedy, anything can happen…and usually does.
  • Brian Regan – Stamford Center for the Art on Sunday. Critics and peers agree, Brian Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, Brian fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations.

VISUAL ARTS

  • Julie & Julia – A WestportREADS Movie on Saturday. This is the true story of how Julia Child’s life inspired fledgling cookbook writer Julie Powell to whip up 524 recipes in 365 days and introduce a new generation to the magic of French cooking.
  • 34th Annual Photography Show – 1/11-2/9 Carriage Barn Arts Center – Who knew that photography could be so interactive? One area of focus of the Carriage Barn’s 34th Annual Photography Show is innovative presentation and process.

FAMILY & KIDS

  • Amahl & Peter: A Family Affair. The Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras (GBYO), and the Fairfield County Children’s Choir present Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony (GBS) presents Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with narration, and together.
  • The Little Mermaid – Downtown Cabaret Theater – 1/11 through 2/16 – With the help of Cindy Lobsta and friends Fish and Chips, the littlest of the mermaids believes all her dreams will come true – but what’s the catch?

FHA lowers 2014 Loan Limits for Fairfield County

 

HUD just announced that it will implement new FHA single-family loan limits on Jan. 1, 2014. For Fairfield County, the maximum amount you can borrow for an Owner Occupied property will go from $708,750 down to $601,450.

1 Unit                2 Units               3 Units               4 Units
$601,450           $769,950           $930,700           $1,156,650
 

Despite these lower limits, FHA still represents a great way for those borrowers with small down payments or less than perfect credit to buy a home, and FHA rates are still very low!

Flood Insurance

We hosted Kathy Piro, from Bearingstar Insurance, who gave a presentation on Flood Insurance today. As a result of the many recent storms we have experienced in the last few years the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program is redrawing its flood maps. These revisions became effective on October 1, 2013. The new flood maps have drawn in homeowners who lived outside the flood zones, and could potentially change rates for homeowners who were already in the flood zone. If you’d like to learn more please give us a call.

A Step-By-Step Guide to How Purchase Loans Are Made

1. Pre-approval – Get pre-approved for a mortgage and know in advance exactly how much house you can afford. Completing this step will also increase your negotiating power since you’ll be viewed as a “cash buyer”.

2. Loan Search – Put yourself in the hands of an experienced mortgage professional, someone who will help you to determine which financing options best suit your needs today and in the future.

3. Loan Application – It’s crucial to supply the lender with as much information as possible, as accurately as possible. All outstanding debts as well as assets and income should be included.

4. Documentation – Paperwork supporting the application must also be submitted. Information commonly sought includes pay stubs, two years’ tax returns, and account statements verifying the source of the down payment, funds to close and reserves.

5. The Hunt – Begin shopping for a house. Once you find the right one, the terms of the sale will be negotiated, including the price and potentially the terms of the loan being sought.

6. Appraisal – Lenders require an appraisal on all home sales. By knowing the true value of the home, the borrower is protected from overpaying.

7. Title Search – This is the time when any liens against the property are discovered. A lien may have been placed on a property to ensure payment of outstanding debts by the owner. All liens must be cleared before a transaction can be completed.

8. Termite Inspection – While most purchase loans do not require a formal inspection for termite and water damage, some loans (especially government loans) allow for the possibility. If problems are found, repairs may be necessary.

9. Processor’s Review – All pertinent information will be packaged by your mortgage professional and sent to the lending underwriter, including any explanations that may be needed, such as reasons for derogatory credit.

10. Underwriter’s Review – Based on the information put together by the loan professional, the underwriter makes the final decision regarding whether a loan is approved.

11. Mortgage Insurance – Many lenders require private mortgage insurance when borrowers put down less than 20 percent on a loan.

12. Approval, Denial or Counter Offer – In order to approve a loan, the lender may ask the borrowers to put more money down to improve the debt-to-income ratio. The borrower may also need a bigger down payment if the property appraises for less than the purchase price.

13. Insurance – Lenders require fire and hazard insurance on the replacement value of the structure. Flood insurance will also be required if the property is located in a flood zone. In California, some lenders require earthquake insurance on condominiums.

14. Signing – During this step, final loan and escrow documents are signed.

15. Funding – At this point, the lender will send a wire or check for the amount of the loan to the title company.

16. Confirmation of Funding – The lender authorizes the disbursement of loan proceeds.

17. Closing – Documents transferring title will now be officially recorded by the County Recorder.

18. Congratulations, you are now a homeowner!

If you’d like to learn more, please give us a call. We’d be happy to speak with you!