Tag: michigan home loan

Housing Inventory Reaches 18-Year Low

Housing Inventory Reaches 18-Year Low

The number of active listings dropped again last month to the lowest level since 1999, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Only 1.65 million homes are available for sale, which equates to roughly 3.6 months of inventory nationwide.  This figure is downward from the 3.9 months of inventory reported in December 2015.  A healthy, balanced market should have about six-months of inventory.  See NAR’s infographic below for additional statistics on national home sales.

Housing Inventory in West Michigan

Here in West Michigan, the situation is even more dire. According to statistics from the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors, we closed out 2016 with only 1.7 months of inventory. This means that if no additional homes entered the market for sale, at the current sales pace, all existing listings would be scooped up in less than two months. As shown by the graph below, inventory levels in West Michigan have been on a steep decline for the last decade.

You may be wondering, what is causing the housing shortage? Experts blame a combination of rising demand and stagnant new home construction. Single-family housing starts are growing, but only at a snail’s pace. Builders are still struggling to operate at pre-housing crisis levels, due to the loss of skilled trades and increased labor and materials costs.

What does this mean for the upcoming Spring real estate market? Prospective buyers can expect cutthroat competition—multiple offers, over list price, in less than 24 hours, without contingencies. There won’t be time for second showings or “sleeping on it”. And shopping for a home before being pre-approved? Don’t even think about it!

What about the remaining homes for sale?  Why aren’t they selling?  Many times, it is due to the condition of the home.  Most buyers do not have the time, desire, or cash to remodel a home top to bottom.  Enter renovation mortgage programs!  Renovation mortgage programs such as the Homestyle Renovation or FHA 203k programs allow borrowers to purchase and remodel the home of their dreams in one fell swoop.

How do Renovation Loans work?

Logistically speaking, a homebuyer, after agreeing to purchase a home for a set price, attains quotes from contractors to have renovations done. An appraisal of the home is then done, taking into account the home’s value once renovations have been completed. You can then borrow up to 96.5% of that appraised value. As soon as closing takes place, funds for renovations are placed in an interest-bearing escrow account and construction begins. Once renovations are complete, a final inspection takes place, the contractors are paid out of the escrow, and you move in to your beautifully renovated new home!

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To apply for a Mortgage or Refinance call Riverbank Finance today at 1-800-555-2098.

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How to Ensure a Fast Mortgage Closing

If you’ve ever purchased a home, you know how stressful the process can be. What should be an exciting experience can quickly turn to panic, as the target closing date approaches. So, what can be done to prevent delays along your path to homeownership? Check out our list of tips and tricks below to meet (or beat!) your closing date.

Get Pre-Approved. Never shop for a home without first speaking with a mortgage loan officer. You wouldn’t want to fall in love with a home you may not be able to afford.

Tell the truth. Be 100% honest and transparent with both your mortgage loan officer and your Realtor. If you provide incorrect or incomplete information, it could cause major problems during the underwriting process.

Work with professionals. Find an experienced Buyer’s Agent to represent you and help you negotiate. It will make all the difference.

Be Responsive. Always send required documents within 24 hours of our request for them. Always send complete documentation (all pages). Be sure they are legible and not cut off. The Underwriter will conduct a thorough review of all documents provided by the borrower, realtor, loan officer, and title company. Additional document requests throughout the process are completely normal and necessary to close.

Ask Us Questions. Review all documents that you receive and let us know if there is something you do not understand. It is important to be aware of all costs associated with your mortgage.

The Appraisal. The appraisal is a required out-of-pocket cost to the borrower which generally ranges from $400 to $600. This must be paid when ordered via credit or debit card. If repairs are required by the appraiser, a final re-inspection will be required, which is an additional out-of-pocket cost to the borrower of approximately $150-$175.

Be patient. The total time to complete the mortgage process varies by loan program, property type, and borrower qualifications. You can expect 30-60 days from application to closing, but the process may take more or less time depending on the situation.

Don’t Jeopardize your Approval. DO NOT deposit large amounts of cash into your bank account. DO NOT transfer large amounts of money between accounts. DO NOT apply for new debt. DO NOT have your credit pulled. DO NOT change jobs or pay structure.

Have a specific scenario you’d like to run past us? Give us a call to speak with one of our licensed loan officers. We would love to recommend the best loan program for you and your situation.

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To apply for a Mortgage or Refinance call Riverbank Finance today at 1-800-555-2098.

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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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Second Wave of Foreclosures on the Way

More ForeclosuresForeclosures have plagued the United States for the past few years and it seems that trend is set to continue.  Now even though the amount of foreclosures dropped 19% in January and another 8% in February, it’s expected that a massive increase in foreclosures is on the way.  Experts warn that the massive $26 billion settlement between five of the largest banks in the country will cause a major ripple when it comes to foreclosures and how they are inherently handled.

Initially there were those that viewed this major settlement as a good thing but it seems as time progresses, more and more homeowners are beginning to oppose this deal.  The major debate is that the banks are discussing a finalized way that they will ALL abide by when foreclosing on a home.  It is expected that the new foreclosure process they introduce will be much faster than any current process in pace allowing banks to steam roll through properties faster than ever before.

There are many homeowners out there who have been battling banks over the foreclosure of their homes for months and even years but with a new process, foreclosure is inevitable within the near future.  Now it’s not all-dark and gloomy news for homeowners that face potential foreclosure.  As there are several mortgage refinance programs out there that allow you to take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates.  All you need to do is take the fist step to improving your situation.  If you’re a Michigan homeowner looking to save a pretty penny by refinancing your mortgage, then call Riverbank Finance at 1-800-555-2098.

Refinancing questions?

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Record Low Fixed Rates

Low Fixed RatesHomebuyers have enough to stress over with everything that comes along with home hunting.  Selecting a realtor, inspections, bidding and everything else that comes into play means even more to put onto your plate.  Luckily, there is some good news for those of you looking to buy a home.  Specifically if you select a 30-year fixed rate mortgage loan.

We keep hearing that fixed mortgage rates are at all time lows but exactly how low are these rates?  Well it seems that 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates have held steady at an incredibly low amount, so low that it has set the record for the entire 40-year history of the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey.  According to the survey, 30-year fixed mortgage rates were held steady with an average of 3.87% for the week ending February 9, something not previously seen before.

Even the 15-year fixed rate had set a record of 3.14%, which hasn’t been matched before.  As long as rates continue to stay at their current levels or even drop, that’s some great news for those of you looking to purchase a home.  Not to mention that unemployment has finally been dropping, currently down to 8.3% on a national scale.  Even Michigan is slowly beginning to heal its wounds with unemployment now down to 10.5%, which isn’t the greatest number to have but at least we’re no longer in last place for unemployment.  That title now goes to Nevada with a total 12.4% unemployment.

Establishing yourself as a homeowner has been considered a fairly difficult task over the past few years and rightfully so as everyone and everything seems to have suffered.  Even more difficult is being a homeowner in Michigan as we were hit pretty hard with the collapse of the automotive industry that occurred. Riverbank Finance is here to help in anyway we can though if you’re looking to purchase a home and take advantage of today’s record low rates.  Our certified lone-officers will not only aid you in figuring out a mortgage but we can also connect you with some great resources for homebuyers.  Just give us a call at 1-800-555-2098.