Tag: 30 year mortgage

How can I lower my monthly mortgage payments?

So, you’ve had a home for awhile, but you feel like your budget is just too tight. You scrimp and save, but it’s never enough. If the biggest expense you have is your mortgage, maybe it’s time to refinance your mortgage.

Refinance to a lower rate

Rates are very low. Right now, for a 30-year mortgage, the fixed rate can be as low as the high 3’s to low 4’s. Fifteen-year loans may even be in the high 2’s. Refinancing may be a great way to lower your overall mortgage payments by dropping your interest rate. This could help to save you thousands over the life of your loan. If your interest rate is over 4.5% now is a great time to review refinance options.

Drop your PMI

The only type of mortgage where Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) drops off when you have 20% equity is the Conventional loan. Other types of loans, like the FHA, require PMI for the life of the loan. PMI usually costs 0.5 or 1% of the entire loan. It protects the bank from defaults. For you, it’s an extra cost — one that, once you’ve paid off 20% of the original loan value, you can refinance to remove. While it may not seem like a lot of money, 1% of a loan over the life of a 30-year mortgage can really add up over time. 

Extend your mortgage term

One reason folks often have trouble paying their monthly mortgage is that they think that a 15-year term is better than the 30-year. While it’s true that a 30-year mortgage takes longer to pay off, the monthly payments are lower. If your goal is a lower monthly budget, switching from a 15 to a 30-year will certainly do the trick. The only downside is the term of the loan is longer if you pay the minimum payments.

Also, if you already have a 30-year mortgage and refinance to a new one, you could still reduce your monthly payments.

Refinance from an FHA loan to a Conventional loan

You may have started with bad or low credit when you initially bought your house and had an FHA loan as the result. Or maybe you didn’t have enough money for a larger down payment. As your credit improves, you could have an opportunity to refinance your loan to a conventional mortgage. There are two advantages when refinancing an FHA to a Conventional loan: First, you could get rid of the Private Mortgage Insurance payments if you’ve paid 20% of the mortgage. Secondly, the interest rates for a Conventional loan may be lower than they are for FHA loans.

If you are thinking about refinancing your mortgage, contact one of our professional loan officers at 800-555-2098 to schedule an appointment. We can sit down and look at your financial situation and help you figure out the best way to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

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15 vs. 30-Year Loan: Which is right for me?

What’s the deal with 15 and 30-year mortgage loan rates? If you’ve ever shopped around for a new mortgage, you’ve seen lenders advertising rates for both. There are pros and cons to both, depending on what you want to do with the mortgage. But there’s also the unknown fact that “15 to 30” aren’t the only term options. Which is right for you? Well, it depends.

What stage are you in life? Are you just starting a family? Are your kids going off to college and suddenly you’re an empty-nester with too much space? The key to determining which loan will work best for you is finding out how much is in your budget and what fits your life phase. When sitting down with one of our loan consultants, it’s important to let them know what your life goals are so they can help match up a loan term that fits your lifestyle.

15-Year Loan

A 15-year loan has one advantage over a 30-year loan no matter what: less interest paid over time. Because of the nature of the loan, you’ll pay it off faster, so you wind up paying a lot less interest over time. The caveat is that the payments are going to be higher each month. A 15-year loan will tighten your wallet until it’s paid off, but it’ll be paid off in half the time.

How much is the difference between the two terms? If you use our mortgage calculator and put in a mortgage worth $150,000, the interest at the end of the term for 15 years is about $61,000 (at 4.875% interest.) That same loan, when the term is changed to 30 years, more than doubles to about $135,000 dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

30-Year Loan

So, why would anyone want a longer term loan? For starters, the payments for 15 years, using the same scenario, is about $1,200 month. That same loan, at 30 years, only requires about $700 dollars a month.

A 30-year term is great for the home of your dreams. If you have no desire to leave that home, or downsizing and retirement are decades away, a 30-year loan is probably the best option. Although you pay more money overall, it gives you more flexibility during the time of the loan.

One common misconception about these loan terms is that 15 or 30 are the only options. Through Riverbank Finance, you can secure a loan for 15 to 30 years or somewhere in between. That’s right! So, for example, if you’re retiring in 25 years, you could set a 25-year term so your home is paid off right in time for retirement. For Riverbank Finance, it’s all about customizing your mortgage to fit the lifestyle you desire.

For more information, or to speak with a loan officer, call Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098 to schedule an appointment.

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Waiting to Buy a Home in West Michigan?

5 reasons why not to wait to buy a home

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Buy

Timing can mean the difference between getting a home at a good value or missing out completely. Right now, the West Michigan housing market is red hot. If you are thinking about buying a house in West Michigan, here are five reasons you shouldn’t wait much longer:

1) The growing economy.

Grand Rapids has entered a new life outside of its history as a rust-belt city. Currently it is listed at 31st in Forbes Best Places for Businesses and Careers. Unemployment is at 3% with jobs growing at a rate of 2%. That growth, in turn, means homes purchased in the region will increase their worth as investments.

2) Increased demand for homes.

In 2016, Grand Rapids ranked third for housing shortages, according to the National Association of Realtors. Forbes Magazine forecasts that 2017 will be similar to last year in terms of housing demand. Last year, homes averaged 52 days on the market. Experts believe the window of opportunity will be even shorter in 2017. Securing your mortgage is key, so you can get the home you want before it’s too late.

3) Interest-rate increases.

The Fed increased interest rates in March 2017 for only the third time since the 2008 financial crisis — and there’s no sign the rates will decrease again anytime soon. In fact, the rates may increase again before the year is over. Currently, the National Association of Realtors averages nationals rates at 3.39 percent for 15-year mortgages and 4.14 percent for 30-year mortgages. To see what kind of rate you could get for a mortgage, try our mortgage rate calculator.

4) Deregulation.

The Trump Administration has moved toward rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act, the Obama-era federal reform legislation that put the government in charge of regulating the financial industry. Trump’s financial deregulation may benefit mortgage seekers by loosening restrictions on lenders. Home buyers would be able to secure loans easier, but it would mean the pool of available home buyers would likely increase.

5) Options for imperfect credit.

If your credit is imperfect, options are available that could help you buy a house anyway. FHA loans require a 580 credit score with a 3.5% down payment. However, you can still get an FHA loan with a credit score between 500 and 579 with a 10% down payment. Another option is asking a friend or relative with a better credit history to co-sign on your loan. Just be careful about co-signing, because you could strain your relationship with the person if you run into any financial trouble. Other than FHA and co-signing, you can always pay down your debt, decreasing your debt-to-income ratio, or find a way to increase your housing-to-income ratio.

Given the rise of interest rates, a high demand for homes, and a potential ease in mortgage regulations, 2017 is shaping up to be another year when demand will outpace the available supply of homes. So, the longer you wait, the less likely you are to get the kind of home you want within your budget.

To start the process now, check out our pre-approval page or contact one of our mortgage loan officers for more information at 1-800-555-2098.

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