Mortgage Rates have Dropped to Recent Lows

average mortgage rates 2016

Interest rate chart data from Freddie Mac mortgage rates based on US weekly average survey.

Mortgage rates have dropped again officially hitting the lowest levels in one year which is near historic lows. According to the Freddie Mac weekly mortgage survey, rates are as low as 3.72% for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and as low as 3.01% for a 15 year fixed rate mortgage.

If you have been considering refinancing your mortgage now is the time to lock in a low rate. With falling oil prices, stock investors have been getting nervous and fleeing to more stable and safe investments such as government bonds and mortgage backed securities. This demand to buy bundled mortgages has driven mortgage rates to recent record lows.

Refinance to Drop Mortgage Insurance

In additional to low mortgage rates, home values have been setting records for appreciation. The rise in home values may make it possible to drop mortgage insurance (PMI) which is required on most loans with less than 20% equity.

Refinance to a 15 Year Mortgage

Other homeowners may choose to refinance from higher rate 30 mortgages to low 15 year fixed rates and keep their mortgage payment low. Paying a mortgage off 15 years sooner has the potential to save thousands in mortgage interest.

Refinance from a FHA loan to a Conventional loan

Government backed mortgages, such as FHA loans, are a popular mortgage option for those with smaller down payments. While government loan rates may be low, they typically have higher monthly PMI than conventional mortgages.  Higher property values may allow homeowners to refinance from a FHA mortgage to a conventional loan and save significantly on their monthly payments.

For more information on your refinance options call a loan officer today at 800-555-2098 or request information below.

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Grand Rapids Home Sales Statistics for 2015

2015 Grand Rapids Home Sales StatisticsThe Grand Rapids Association of Realtors (GRAR), which administers the local West Michigan MLS, recently released the 2015 home sales year end statics. The numbers confirm that 2015 was a year for the record books for West Michigan homes sales.

Number of New Listings Submitted to the Grand Rapids MLS

Number of New Listings Submitted to the Grand Rapids MLS

Year-end numbers for 2015 show that 15,872 homes were listed for sale by real estate agents though the Grand Rapids MLS. This number is slightly higher than 2014 year end of 15,126 however it is significantly down from home listings 1997-2011, which topped out at 34,262 homes listed, equaling nearly half the housing inventory of previous years.

Average Number of Current Listings for Grand Rapids MLS

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2015 set a new record for Average Number of Current Listings on the Grand Rapids MLS. Down from 2014, which was 2,995, 2015 had only 2,636 homes listed for sale on average. This new record low of average listings confirms that the home inventory is very low. Based on monthly sales volumes, this is only 2.5 months of housing inventory for sale. This also sets another record low for available homes for sale in West Michigan.

Number of Homes Sold in Grand Rapids in 2015

Number of Homes Sold in Grand Rapids in 2015

13,114 homes were sold and reported to the Grand Rapids MLS. The number of homes sold is up from the 2014 number of 12,467 representing a 5.19% year-over-year increase in sold homes. This number may be partially restricted due to the record low inventory of homes for sale. 2015 numbers are approaching the current record of 13,593 homes sold back in 2004.

Grand Rapids Average Home Sales Price for 2015

Grand Rapids Average Home Sales Price for 2015

Price is determined by the economics of supply and demand. With the demand for homes remaining strong, the lower supply of homes has driven up the average home sales price to a record high of $175,562. This new all-time record shows Grand Rapids home values are at the highest point in history. While not all areas have recovered from the housing collapse in 2007-2008, Grand Rapids has catapulted past the 2006 record of $163,924 for average home sales prices. This increase represents a 7.6% increase in home sales prices from 2014 and a 63.2% increase from the lows of 2009.

2015 Grand Rapids Housing Summary

Based on all charts and statistics provided from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, now is a great time to sell a home in West Michigan. The economic climate is that of a sellers market which means that sellers will not be required to submit to the demands of picky home buyers. As we enter into 2016 experts predict mortgage rates will hold steady and provide another potentially record year in real estate.

Reasons to sell a home in Grand Rapids:

  • Low supply of homes for sales means less competition.
  • Highest homes sales prices in history means extra profits.
  • Low home inventory means your home will sell quickly.

To request a recommended realtor to list your home for sale or to get pre-approved for your next purchase call Riverbank today at 1-800-555-2098 or request information below.

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Grand Rapids homes sales charts and data provided from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors (GRAR)

Fannie Mae HomeReady Mortgage Program

home ready97% mortgagePartnering with one of the nation’s largest conventional mortgage lenders, Riverbank Finance is now offering Fannie Mae’s new 3% down home loan program called the HomeReady Mortgage, which allows borrowers to obtain a mortgage with substantially lower payments that standard conventional home loans. For a home purchase or even a mortgage refinance, this new home loan option removes Fannie Mae price adjustments which keeps mortgage rates low.

Related: Michigan HomeReady Mortgage Financing

This program is targeted at low to medium income families to make homes more affordable and sustainable. Income limits are imposed based on AMI (Area Median Income) however there are no income limits in many census tracts such as underserved urban areas.

To be eligible for this program a home buyer must apply for a mortgage with less than 20% down payment and 680+ credit score. Qualified borrowers will be able to get some of the lowest overall mortgage payments compared to standard conventional loans and FHA loans (another popular low down payment mortgage).

What makes this program unique is that it will consider income from others that are planning on living in the home such as parents, siblings, working children or even roommates without them being a co-borrower on the mortgage. This feature will be especially helpful for families that choose to live with multiple generations for health reasons or for financial savings.

HomeReady Mortgage Program Highlights:

  • No Fannie Mae pricing adjustments on loans greater than 80% LTV (loan to value) with credit scores 680+
  • Not limited to first time home buyers
  • Available for non-Fannie Mae Refinancing loans up to 95% LTV
  • Non-Occupant Co-borrowers are permitted up to 95% LTV (parent co-signers)
  • No income limits in many census tracts
  • Gift funds are acceptable for the entire down payment

To request a free quote for a HomeReady purchase mortgage or HomeReady refinance mortgage call Riverbank today at 800-555-2098 or request information below.

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Qualifying for a Mortgage with Student Loan Debt

qualifying for a mortgage with student loansIf you are in the market for buying a house it is important to understand the implications of qualifying for a mortgage with student loans. Each year, at least 60% of college attendees take out some form of student loans to help with the ever growing costs of higher education.  While this can be an invaluable investment into one’s future, these loans can pose a challenge when it comes to buying a home.  Recently, new guideline changes have gone into effect that can substantially impact how someone qualifies for a mortgage.

FHA home loans are a great choice for first time home buyers with flexible work history and credit requirements!

The main way student loans impact an individual’s qualification is through their impact on an applicant’s Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI).  This ratio gives a lender an idea of an applicant’s ability to reliably make monthly payments.  Simply put, this figure is calculated by dividing all monthly debt obligations (ex. Car Loans, Credit Cards, Mortgages, Student Loans, etc.) by gross monthly income.

Each mortgage program has different guidelines that are key to qualifying for a home loan with open student loan debts.  Calculating the monthly costs for student loans is especially tricky if the loans are deferred, in forbearance or not yet in repayment.

Regardless of program type, one of the most important actions a prospective home buyer much can take is to gather the payment documentation for the student loans.  This will allow your mortgage professional to ensure the most accurate qualification and best deal possible. The buyer’s credit report may not always accurately reflect the buyer’s minimum student loan payments which may affect underwriting approval.

Below are a few indicators of how student loan payments will affect a buyer’s debt to income ratio when qualifying for a home loan:

  • Conventional Mortgage with Student Loans
    • Regardless of deferment or forbearance, a payment must be counted against DTI
    • This payment will be calculated by either 1% of the remaining balance or the actual monthly payment, whichever is higher.
    • Example: $24,000 in total student loans would add a minimum of $240 per month for qualifying purposes.
  • FHA Mortgage with Student Loans
    • Regardless of deferment or forbearance, a payment must be counted against DTI
    • The actual monthly payment from the credit report or account statement will be used. If no payment is listed, or the payment is listed as zero, 2% of the remaining balance will be used to calculate a payment.
    • Income based repayment plans are acceptable without a minimum.
    • Example: $24,000 in total student loans would add $480 per month for qualifying purposes if no payment is reporting on credit otherwise the underwriter will accept documentation showing the minimum student loan payments.
  • USDA Mortgage with Student Loans
    • Regardless of deferment or forbearance, a payment must be counted against DTI
    • This payment will be calculated by either 1% of the remaining balance or the actual fixed monthly payment, whichever is higher.
    • Income Based Repayment plans are not acceptable if they are less than 1% of the balance.
    • Example: $24,000 in total student loan payment would add a minimum of $240 per month for qualifying purposes.
  • VA Mortgage with Student Loans
    • The actual payment listed on the credit report or account statement will be counted against a borrower’s DTI.
    • Student loan debt may be excluded from DTI if the payment is not scheduled to begin for 12 months after the closing date (Documentation is crucial).

Get Pre-Approved to buy a home when you have student loans

We work with several first time home buyers and even repeat buyers have student loan debt.  It is crucial that you work with an experienced loan officer that knows the guidelines to assist you in qualifying for a mortgage when you have student loans.  With each mortgage program having different loan requirements it is important to understand how your debt to income is affected with each home loan option.

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5 Reasons to be Thankful in Real Estate

thanksgiving
2015 has has given many reasons to be thankful in the real estate industry for this Thanksgiving season. Here are the top 5 reasons to be thankful.

1) Low Mortgage Rates

Low mortgage rates mean higher purchasing power. With the low inventory for real estate in Michigan, low mortgage rates have increased buyer’s purchasing power allowing them to have a larger price range to search for homes.

2) New 3% Down Payment Mortgage Programs

Low down payment mortgage programs have expanded including the 97% mortgage. 2015 has granted new low down payment programs for first time home buyers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both released 3% down mortgage options for first time homebuyers allowing more young professionals and families to buy homes.

3) Fast USDA home loans

USDA home loans, the zero down mortgage program is quicker and easier to close. Michigan’s USDA has stayed up to date with their mortgage reviews allowing home buyers to close quickly on their no down payment mortgages. With Michigan being the #1 USDA mortgage state, the underwriting offices stay busy but have been able to quickly approve loans without weeks of delays as in previous years.

4) Low Gas Prices

Low gas prices have made driving to home showing appointments much cheaper. It isn’t just how much you make but how much you keep. Lower expenses equal more money in your pocket!

5) Low Unemployment Rates

Michigan’s booming job market has fueled home purchasing. Michigan’s economy has the lowest unemployment rate in years which helps allow families to have the stability to save and buy homes. With fewer people being laid off the chance that a buyer will lose their job a week before close is slim.

Did I miss any reasons to be thankful? Feel free to share reasons why you are thankful this year in real estate!

Mortgage Calculator Toolkit

Use our new suite of mortgage calculators with taxes, insurance and PMI to calculate mortgage payments for the most popular mortgage programs including FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans and Conventional mortgages. Click here for our Mortgage Calculator Tools.

FHA Mortgage Calculator with Escrows

FHA mortgage calculator tool

FHA Mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance and PMI for computing your exact FHA mortgage payment. Enter your desired loan amount, down payment, interest rate and term and you will be given the FHA loan payment including escrows. Our FHA loan calculator will calculate the total loan amount and monthly PMI which changes based on down payment and loan term.

VA Mortgage Calculator with Escrows

va mortgage calculator

VA Mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance and VA guarantee fee for computing your exact VA mortgage payment. Enter your desired Loan amount, down payment, interest rate and term and you will be given the VA loan payment including escrows. The VA loan calculator will determine the total loan amount and VA fees for regular military veterans, Coast Guard, Reserves and Disabled Veterans.

USDA Rural Development Mortgage Calculator with Escrows

 

USDA mortgage calculator tool

USDA Mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance and guarantee fee for computing your USDA Rural Development mortgage payments. Enter your desired Loan amount, interest rate and term and you will be given the USDA loan payment including escrows. The USDA zero down mortgage is a perfect low payment option for first time home buyers.

Conventional Mortgage Calculator with Escrows

Conventional Mortgage Calculator TOol

Conventional mortgage calculator with taxes and insurance and PMI for calculating your total Conventional Mortgage Payment. Enter your desired loan amount, down payment, interest rate, and term and you will be given your total Conventional mortgage payment including escrows. This Conventional mortgage calculator tool calculates PMI based off from MGIC’s mortgage insurance charts. The PMI is adjusted based on your down payment and loan term.

Mortgage Amortization Calculator with Extra Payments

mortgage amortization calculator

Mortgage Amortization Calculator with Extra Payments is a simple tool that allows you to calculate early payoffs and interest savings by paying extra monthly payments. The extra payments are applied directly towards mortgage principal which allows borrowers to save interest and pay off loans more quickly. Use this tool to print simple mortgage amortization schedules with extra payments.

Riverbank Finance LLC is not part of any government entity. The information provided by our mortgage calculator tools are for illustrative purposes only. The default values are hypothetical and may not be applicable to your individual situation. The calculated results are estimates only and accuracy is not guaranteed. Speak with a licensed loan officer to review rate and terms that may be available for you.

TRID has Arrived for Home Loans on October 3rd 2015

TRID has arrived for October 3rd 2015What is TRID for Home Loans?

The CFPB (Consumer Finance Protection Bureau) issued the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) which will go into effect on 10/3/15.  The purpose of TRID is to help home loan clients understand mortgage transactions by simplifying important forms and disclosures. TRID will be followed by all banks and mortgage lenders nationwide and will affect all residential real estate transactions secured with a mortgage loan excluding HELOC’s, reverse mortgages, and mobile home loans not on real property.

Related Article: New Loan Estimate Form and Closing Form for 2015

How Does TRID work?

TRID will replace the current mortgage process, timelines, and forms under RESPA and TILA regulations. While clients may not notice a change in the home buying or refinance process, mortgage loans officers, real estate agents and title agents will be required to be familiar and operate under new TRID rules.

The Loan Estimate Form (LE)

The Loan Estimate Form (LE) will replace the forms currently known as the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Truth in Lending statement (TIL). The LE must be given to the applicant at least three business days from application and again seven business days before loan consummation (final loan closing).

TRID Loan Estimate Example Form:

Loan Estimate

Intent to Proceed Form

The intent to proceed is a form which confirms that the applicant has reviewed the Loan Estimate and intends to move forward with the mortgage application. The Intent to Proceed requires a signature from the borrower within ten business days from the LE disclosure date.  If it was not signed within ten business days a Changed Circumstance must be done and a Revised Loan Estimate (LE) must be provided to proceed. The Intent to Proceed Form must be signed before fees can be collected from the client.

The Closing Disclosure Form (CD)

The Closing Disclosure Form (CD) will replace the final Truth in Lending statement (TIL) and HUD-1 Settlement Statement (HUD). The CD must be given to the applicant at least three business days before loan consummation if given electronically or in person; if mailed, seven days before consummation.

TRID Closing Disclosure Example Form:

Closing Disclosure

What is considered a Business Day for TRID?

Disclosure waiting periods for TRID are by business days only which are defined by Monday through Saturday excluding legal public holidays. TRID business days may vary by institution if they are closed for business on additional days.

Will TRID hold up the appraisal ordering process?

According to CFPB guidance, companies may not impose any fee on a consumer in connection with their mortgage application until the consumer has received the Loan Estimate and signed their Intent to Proceed. This limitation includes imposing application fees or appraisal fees. If the appraisal fee is being charged to the client there may be a delay due to waiting periods. Collecting credit card information to charge after the form is signed is also prohibited under law.

Will TRID delay home loan closings?

With the new waiting periods for disclosure of the LE and the CD there is a potential for closing delays, however, if the lending institution plans ahead and provides these disclosures in advance, the loan process should not have any delays. Most lenders will be issuing the Closing Disclosure once all credit conditions are cleared before the underwriting clear to close. If the CD is provided at this time, the loan can close immediately after the loan is cleared for closing.

Closing delays due to TRID should not be an issue with most lenders.

Required re-disclosure of the Closing Disclosure would restart the waiting period. A new re-disclosed Closing Disclosure would be required only if the loan terms change from a fixed rate to an adjustable rate, if a pre-payment penalty is added or if the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) increases more than 1/8 of a percent for a fixed rate or 1/4 of a percent for an ARM. By the time the CD is issued, the fees should already be confirmed therefore re-disclosure requirements will not be a common problem.

Re-Disclosing the TRID Closing Disclosure will be required if:

  • The loan term changes from a fixed rate to an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
  • A pre-payment penalty is added to the mortgage
  • The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) increases more than .125%

CFPB logo - New GFE Loan Estimate Changes for 2015For more information regarding the new TRID regulations starting October 3rd, 2015 visit the CFPB TRID guide, call a licensed loan officer at 800-555-2098 or request information below.

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One Time Close VA Construction Loan

va-construction-loan


Riverbank Finance LLC now offers Construction to Permanent loans for new stick built homes, manufactured and modular homes. Our one time close home loan provides land purchase, construction finance and the permanent loan into one closing.

With a VA construction loan you are able to get your loan underwritten, approved and close before the construction begins. With a one-time close construction loan there is no chance of a low appraisal after the house is built. There is also no chance that you will no longer qualify for financing with a loan following the build; One-time means once you close you are fully approved and simply need to move in once it is built.

VA Construction Loan Benefits

  • 100% Financing – Zero Down Construction Loan
  • Reduction in total costs for only one closing versus the standard construction loan and end loan
  • Reduced Interest Rates for VA Loans vs Conventional
  • No Payments due from borrower during construction
  • Borrower’s first payment begins once construction is complete
  • No credit, document or appraisal expiration once the loan closes
  • No Re-Qualification of borrower once construction is complete
  • Builder/Retailer is allowed staged funding draws during construction based on line-item completion

Loan Requirements

  • 620 Minimum Credit Score
  • $417,000 Maximum Loan Amount (or per state max)
  • Owner Occupied Only
  • 1 unit properties only
  • No single wide mobile homes

Term Options

  • 15 Year Fixed Rate
  • 30 Year Fixed Rate
  • (No Adjustable Rate Mortgages)

If you are a US military veteran and you are interested in building a home then the One Time Close VA Construction loan is the loan for you. We will help to request your Certificate of Eligibility form the Veterans Administration on your behalf and pre-approval you for your next home.

Need some extra money? Consider cash-out refinancing.

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Considering home renovations, debt consolidation or just need to get some cash in hand? A Cashout Refinance Mortgage may be the right fit for you. You can actually refinance your home mortgage for more than you owe and cash out the difference. It may seem like an easy way to get extra cash, but here’s what you need to know to decide whether cash-out refinancing is the best option for you.

Reasons for cash-out refinancing

Cash-out refinancing could help you save a lot of money. It’s always wise to calculate the potential savings with your goals in mind. Are you refinancing for a short-term or long-term reason? Here are some good reasons for cash-out refinancing:

  • Get Cash Back: Do you need to get cash for a special project, vacation, business, college or even vacation? Cashout refinance may allow you to access cash in the equity of your home to make it happen.
  • Home renovations: Cash-out refinancing would allow you to improve your home, and that would increase its value.  For example, if you do a $20,000 cash-out refinance on a $100,000 home, you could potentially increase its value to $150,000 — for just a $20,000 cash out.
  • Debt repayment: If your student loans, second mortgage, or credit cards are high, you could do a cash-out refinance and pay off your debts with a lower interest rate. Plus, your credit will improve since you’re paying them off (even though you’re just transferring the debt to your home).

With that said, here’s why you can’t afford to miss out on cash-out refinancing:

1. Mortgage rates are at historic lows. If you bought your house in the 1990s, your mortgage rate may be as high as 7 to 10 percent. But now, mortgage rates have been hovering between 3-5% for many loan options. Now is the time, not only to refinance, but to cash-out. You’ll not only be able to keep your mortgage payments unchanged, but you’ll also be able to cash out at closing.

2. Home prices are increasing. If you choose cash-out refinancing, you still have equity in your home. The risk is not having enough mortgage paid off if home prices begin to dip in the future. That’s when you risk losing equity in your home, along with having a higher total mortgage to pay off. So, right now is a great time to opt for cash-out refinancing, as long as you can pay back the money you cash out in a reasonable timeframe.

3. Home equity can help remove PMI. If you originally put down less than 20% on your home when you first bought it, you’ve been paying private mortgage insurance to ensure the lender against default. Since home prices are increasing, your home equity may have increased. So even if you opt for cash-out refinancing, if your home equity is at 20%, you can drop your PMI payments.

When you decide cash-out refinancing is the right option for you, call Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098, and one of our licensed loan officers can help you get the process started. Whatever the reason for the cash out, we’re here to help you get what you need.

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How to Refinance a Home Loan

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Want to save money on your mortgage? Refinancing might be the best way to take advantage of the historically low rates. Depending on your goal, make make great financial sense to refinance your mortgage. Here’s what you need to know to make the best decision.

Benefits of Refinancing your Home Loan

Before you refinance your home loan, it is important to determine your financial goals. Do you want a lower interest rate? Do you want to change your adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage? Do you want to pay off your loan in 15 years instead of 30? Do you want to lower your monthly payments? Did you know you can also refinance to consolidate a first and second mortgage? You can also extend your current loan to cash out if you want to start a business, help a family member in financial crisis, or go on an expensive vacation.

Do the math.

Ask your loan officer to help you figure out how much refinancing will cost you, and how much you’ll save over the long term. If refinancing will save you $200 per month, but you have to pay $2,000 in closing costs, you’ll break even in 10 months. How much longer do you plan to stay in the home? If you plan to stay there for more than 10 months, refinancing may be a good idea. If you’d like to move out sooner, the costs associated with refinancing may not be worth it. Also, if you lower your interest rate but extend your loan from a 15-year to a 30-year, you’ll lower your monthly payments but end up paying more interest over the life of the loan.

Talk to a loan officer to review your mortgage refinancing options.

If you decide refinancing is right for you, start by calling loan officer. He or she may be able to save you on closing costs and other fees by recommending a loan program specifically for your situation. Before you start the process it is important to do your research to find the best loan option to meet your goals. Do not just settle for what your current bank offers just because you have a car loan or checking account there; let your lender know that you’re shopping for mortgages so you can make an informed decision and perhaps he or she will find a way to offer a better deal.

Know your refinancing options.

Find out if you are eligible for any special refinance programs that may benefit you over the standard refinance mortgage. For example, if you currently have an FHA loan, you may qualify for an FHA streamline refinance, which would allow you to refinance with no appraisal, no income, and little to no closing costs. If you currently have a conventional mortgage, you may qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which may allow you to refinance, regardless of your home’s value, with no out-of-pocket costs.

Expect to gather documentation and paperwork.

Refinancing your home loan is a process that usually comes with a significant amount of paperwork to document your income assets and passed credit. Do not be overwhelmed by the request for documents with the current laws and underwriting guidelines. Even those with perfect credit have to provide the same documentation to get a home loan or mortgage refinance.

When you work out the details of your refinance mortgage, your loan officer will help you navigate the steps from initial loan consultation to closing. Be prepared to provide documentation, including driver’s license, social security card, one month of paystubs, two months of bank statements, past two years of W-2 statements, and your current mortgage statement.

Once you sign your application and send in the documentation, your loan officer will send in your file for underwriting, which may require additional documentation. You may also be required to complete a home appraisal. When you’re finally approved in underwriting, you’ll be cleared to close. Your loan officer will review the final figures, you’ll have to pay closing fees and documents, and then the process is complete.

Steps to Refinancing your Home Loan

1) Initial Mortgage Consultation
2) Sign application
3) Send required documents – (drivers license, social security card, 1 month paystubs, 2 months bank statements, past 2 years w2 statements, current mortgage statement)
4) Underwriting Process
5) Complete the Appraisal (if required)
6) Clear to Close – (once fully approved in underwriting your loan will be “Cleared to Close” and scheduled for closing)
7) Meet for the Home Loan Closing

For more information about what Riverbank Finance offers for refinancing, schedule an appointment with one of our loan officers by calling 800-555-2098 or fill out our online refinance application or by completing the form below.

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