Tag: mortgage

How to get pre-approved for a mortgage

Things to avoid when buying a home in Michigan.

If you are new to the home-buying process, you are probably aware that one of the best first courses of action is to get pre-approved before you start house hunting. So, you head to your bank or financial institution, but you have no idea what goes into the process of pre-approval. What do you need to get pre-approved? What should you expect? Here’s the low-down.

What is mortgage pre-approval?

First comes first. What is pre-approval, and why is it so important? Pre-approval is the first step to getting a mortgage. Your lender will take a look at your finances, your credit history, and your employment and determine whether you can afford to buy a home and, if you can, how much of a home you can afford to buy. That will help you narrow down your choices as you search for the right home within your budget. Getting pre-approved will also show home sellers and their realtors that you are ready to buy.

What do you need to get pre-approved?

To help the pre-approval process go smoothly, before you sit down with a mortgage professional, make sure you check your credit reports. Resolve anything negative, such as bills in collections, and dispute any errors. For most loan programs the disputes will need to be resolved and closed out prior to your loan application. This will give you the highest and most accurate credit score for mortgage qualifying. Higher credit scores will allow for a quicker loan process with lower interest rates.

Throughout the mortgage process, don’t apply for any new credit cards, don’t take on any new debt or make any large purchases, don’t close any of your current credit accounts, and don’t ask any of your creditors to lower your credit limit. These could significantly alter your chances of getting a mortgage.

Pre-Approval Document Checklist

  • Drivers License
  • Social Security Card
  • Most Recent 2 Years W2 statements
  • Most Recent 2 Years Tax Returns (If Self Employed or Commission Based)
  • 1 Month of Paystubs
  • 2 Months of Bank Statements
  • Quarterly Retirement Account Statement
  • Proof of 12 Month Rent History (may not be required)

For pre-approval, you’ll also need to provide documentation of the last two years of tax returns; proof of income including W-2s and pay stubs; a written referral letter from your landlord with some proof that you’ve been paying your rent in time (such as carbon copies of checks or money orders); two forms of government identification such as drivers license and social security card; and proof of income from other sources, such as government assistance and child support. Lastly you will need to document any assets. This will include any money you have in stocks, IRAs and retirement accounts. Also make sure the money for your down payment and closing costs are in the bank, ready to go.

Request a mortgage pre-approval by phone or online

Once you have gather the required documentation you can call a loan officer at 1-800-555-2098 to get start over the phone or apply online at https://riverbankfinance.com/app which is our online secure loan application.  A licensed loan officer walk you through the pre-approval process and help to review all available loan options.  Many times we are able to issue a pre-approval over the phone or online within minutes.

What happens when you get pre-approved?

Once you are officially pre-approved your loan officer will provide you with a Pre-Approval Certification. This document will state that we have reviewed your loan eligibility and have determined that you are likely to qualify for the loan program given. Your Realtor will ask for this document before you start shopping for a home. You may also want this updated prior to writing an offer on a home to make sure it matches your bid.

Related: Visit our Mortgage Calculators to estimate mortgage payments

So, when you’re feeling ready, come and visit us here at Riverbank Finance, and we can help you start the pre-approval process. Call us at 800-555-2098 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional loan officers. We want to help you get into your new home!

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You’re recently divorced. Can you buy a home?

So, the marriage is over. Does that mean your dream of owning a home is, too? The short answer: No! You can still get a loan, as long as you keep in mind the following:

Keep Good Records

This is usually a good practice to have for any person, but especially true if you are recently divorced and are buying a home. Make sure you also keep your records updated. Keep a copy of any checks you’ve paid to show that you’ve paid your debts and bills in time. Any new addresses or changes in income also need to be recorded for when you meet with a loan officer.

Behave Yourself

The urge to “get back” at the ex is not uncommon, but very bad if you’re trying to get a loan. A new criminal conviction (for verbal threats, violence, or slashing tires) will definitely hurt your chances. A more common and petty way that spouses get revenge are things like not paying a bill at the home you no longer occupy or using the credit card in excess to hurt your ex’s credit. Typically, that hurts both of you and could also count as FRAUD. Don’t do it!

Pay Your Bills

If you are legally obligated to pay a bill, alimony, or a rental agreement, do it. If you feel the child support is too high or unfair, pay it anyway. Failing to pay those hurts your credit and makes you look like a bad investment. So, it’s always good to make sure that all bills are paid on time.

Know Your Worth

Properties or vehicles that need to be sold, spousal support, and child support can all help you get a mortgage if you benefit from them. You can count spousal and/or child support as income toward paying a mortgage. So, while you might be going from a two-income household to one, it may not be as bad as you fear. (Side note: it’s always good to inform the lender how long you expect the child support income will last.)

Be Vigilant

Even though you might behave yourself, your former spouse might not. Check your credit score to make sure they don’t make charges in your name. As much as it is in your power, be sure any payments the ex makes, per the divorce settlement, are in time.

Explore Your Options

Moving out of a shared home that you love doesn’t have to be the solution. If you and your ex agree that you can keep your current home, refinancing options are available that can separate a joint loan. Speak with one of our experienced loan officers today about this and more options for divorcees.

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Can I get a co-signer for a home loan?

Things to avoid when buying a home in Michigan.

If you want to buy a house, you have to meet certain requirements in order to secure a mortgage. What if you do not meet the requirements for income and credit history? The good news is you can ask someone to cosign on your loan, even if they won’t live at your house. Here’s what you need to know about having a cosigner on your loan.

Who can be a cosigner on my loan?

Depending on what kind of loan you are applying for, you’ll have to abide by certain regulations on who can serve as a cosigner.

With a conventional or FHA loan, you may ask your spouse, a relative, or anyone who’s going to co-own the home with you to cosign the loan. The cosigner will need to sign an application and provide full financial information to your mortgage company.

Conventional Mortgage Cosigners

A cosigner on a conventional loan may be beneficial to help get your loan approved. The cosigner will have to be related or have a close familial relationship with you that can be clearly documented for underwriting.

FHA Mortgage Cosigners

A cosigner for an FHA loan may help to get your loan approved. Similar to Conventional mortgages, the cosigner must be related or have a documented close relationship. The cosigner may be a non-occupying co-borrower meaning that they do not have to occupy the property as their primary residence to qualify. FHA cosigning example: Mother or Father cosigning for this child’s first home.

VA Loan Cosigners

If you’re applying for a VA loan with a cosigner, the requirements are a little different. If you are married, the cosigner must be your spouse. If you are not married, the cosigner can be another unmarried veteran who’s eligible for the VA Loan. You can ask a civilian (such as your parent or significant other) to cosign the loan, but the guaranty will only apply to your portion. That means you will likely need a down payment on the loan.

What are the requirements for a mortgage cosigner?

Before you ask someone to cosign on your loan, make sure the person has a good credit history and adequate income. Otherwise, they’re only going to hinder the loan process for you. For example, if you did not make enough income to qualify on your own, your co-signer will need to make enough income to cover their own liabilities and also add enough income to make up the difference for you.

Cosigner Requirements:

  • Good Credit History
  • No recent bankruptcies or foreclosures
  • Good Jobs History
  • Low expenses
  • Documentation of Income
  • Relationship to you

Remember, the cosigner is just as responsible for paying the loan as you are. So if you default for any reason, they will have to make the mortgage payments.

Why won’t a cosigner help get my loan get approved?

Getting a cosigning on a mortgage allows you to qualify based off your joint income and credit history however all applicants must meet the minimum criteria for approval. Generally speaking, when an underwriter reviews your file, they will go of worst case scenario. This means that if your credit score is too low to qualify, getting a cosigner will not help you because the qualifying credit score would still be yours.

A cosigner will not be helpful if you did not qualify for financing independently due to major derogatory events such as a recent foreclosure or bankruptcy. The wait times for these major credit events is based off the most recent event date. All parties applying for financing must meet the minimum credit scores and wait periods to be eligible for financing.

How can I get a loan without a cosigner?

If you can not find someone who can (or will) be a cosigner for you, or you do not want to ask anyone else to share responsibility for your loan, the lender will require you to fix your credit history and/or increase your income before you can acquire the loan. You may still be eligible for loans with flexible credit such as low credit FHA mortgages.

To improve your credit, you may want to take out a small line of credit that you can repay to build positive credit history. You should also check your credit report to find out if there are any errors. You can correct those by contacting the creditor or going straight to the credit reporting agency.

You could also work on saving more money toward a down payment so you can borrow less on your home loan or have a larger down payment available which may help with loan approval. Another way to improve your chances of getting the loan is to pay down your debt, including your student loans to lower your current monthly expenses.

If you are not sure whether you need a cosigner, contact Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098 to make an appointment with one of our professional loan officers. We can help review cosigner options for all of our mortgage options.

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How High Will Interest Rates Go This Year?

Mortgage interest rates have been slowly increasing since they plummeted following the 2008 financial crisis. Twice this year already, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates, which, in turn, raises the rate at which banks loan out money for mortgages. But are they done raising rates this year, or could more hikes be on the way?

Will the FED raise interest rates?

Here’s a few ways you can tell a rate increase is on the way:

  • Language of the FED. This past week on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve met and decided not to raise rates this month but indicated that a raise is “coming soon.” Most analysts take the language in that statement to mean before the end of 2017, another increase will be on the way, possibly as soon as September.
  • How markets reacted to the last increase. Instability in the marketplace often translates to more caution on the part of the FED. According to their own account, the last increase went with little to no instability.
  • PCE. Personal Consumption Expenditure, or PCE, is the FEDs favorite measure of economic health for the economy. Two-thirds of all economic spending (or growth in the FED’s mind) is measured in this index.
    • While this acronym is pretty simple, the index itself is multi-faceted. It Includes “Durable Goods,” like cars and houses; “non-durables,” like food and clothing; and services.
  • Inflation. Inflation is the rising cost of goods and services. Usually this happens for three reasons:
    • Wages are increasing, thus making things more expensive to make and sell. (The average wage for an employee in Grand Rapids, Michigan, falls around $45-50,000 annually.
    • Increased demand, due to credit being more accessible.
    • Government monetary policy (printing money).

How Much Will Interest Rates Rise This Year?

Interest rates before the economic crisis in 2007 were around 6.5%. Currently interest rates are at 1.25%. At the beginning of the year, the FED had hoped to get the rate back to 2%, but, at the last meeting, FED officials revised that to 1.5% due to the size of economic growth this year. We are growing, but slower than they forecasted.

What are current mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates have been hovering around the 4% range for 2017 for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. The rates for home loans shot up to the mid to low 4’s at the beginning of this year but have slowly dropped back down to the range it has been at for the past few years.   The exact mortgage rate will depend on your specific situation including loan amount, loan-to-value ratio, credit score and loan program.

Related: Current Mortgage Rates

Should I buy a house before interest rates go up?

Interest rates will likely not rise to 2% this year. That doesn’t mean the FED won’t try to reach that goal next year, or perhaps go even higher than that. So, while rates are slowly rising, they are still lower than they were ten years ago for those searching for a mortgage.

For West Michigan, the rates being this low means an increase in demand for new homes. While rates have ticked up, the housing boom hasn’t slowed. If you want to take advantage of interest rates before they rise again, speak with a loan officer about your mortgage options. Call Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098.

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Can you have more than one VA Loan?

If you have a Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan on your first home and are thinking about buying a second property, you can get more than one VA Loan without having to sell or refinance your current home. This is called VA Loan second-tier entitlement. The higher tier entitlement kicks in for purchases over $144,000 per VA guidelines.

The federal government has provided veterans and military personnel with the VA Loan so they can come back to the United States and purchase a home with no down payment. That’s much better than having to come up with a 20% down payment for a conventional loan on a second home, so you should take advantage. If you are considering getting two VA Loans, here’s how it works:

VA Loans Second Tier Entitlement

Michigan has a county loan limit of $453,100 for VA Loans. The VA provides borrowers with a 25% guaranty on their loan, which, in Michigan’s case, would be a maximum of $113,275. If you already have a VA Loan on your first house, the guaranty provided to you would be subtracted from the maximum amount.

VA Entitlement Calculation Example

Let’s say you bought a $200,000 primary home with a VA Loan and you want to buy a second home in Michigan with a VA Loan. Let’s figure out the math on this.

$424,100 X 25% = $113,275 maximum guaranty

$200,000 X 25% = $50,000 guaranty and down payment required

$113,275 – $50,000 = $63,275 maximum guaranty allowed on second home

$63,275 x 4 = $253,100 maximum price of second house

Maximum VA Loan Amount Calculation

Basically, if you bought a $200,000 home in the state of Michigan using a VA Loan, the VA would have guaranteed $50,000 toward your down payment. If you want to buy a second home in Michigan with a VA Loan, you can buy one that is a maximum of $253,100 with no down payment. If your second home costs more than that, you will have to add some money for the down payment.

Let’s say the second home you’re considering is $300,000. The 25% entitlement on that house would be $75,000, putting you $11,725 above the $63,275 maximum guaranty. That means you would have to add a down payment of $11,725 to be able to purchase the second home for $300,000 with a VA Loan.

Related: Try our VA Mortgage Calculator to estimate mortgage payments for your VA Mortgage.

Benefits to getting two VA Loans

If you are relocating or just want to buy a new home, a second VA loan may be the best solution. Here are the benefits of getting your second VA Loan versus Conventional financing:

  • Do not need to sell your current home that has a VA Loan
  • Do not need to refinance your VA Loan into a Conventional Mortgage to qualify
  • You may be able to rent your current home and offset the mortgage with rental income
  • You will save on home sales fees
  • You will save on mortgage refinance costs
  • You may still qualify for Zero Down Financing

Buying a Second Home with a VA Loan

VA Loans are typically more lenient than other types of loans. If your first home was foreclosed, you can still get a VA Loan on your second home. Riverbank Finance can help you find out how much of the VA’s 25% entitlement you still have left to use.

If you are planning on buying a second home using VA financing to use as your primary residence we would be glad to assist you. You may be eligible for a second VA loan for your purchase and not be required to sell your current home. For more information, call Riverbank Finance at 800-555-2098 to set up an appointment with one of our loan officers.

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Buy A House with a Small Down Payment

If you are a first-time homebuyer, getting a mortgage may seem overwhelming — especially with all the different options available. Maybe you don’t have a lot of money for a down payment or your credit isn’t great. The good news is, you can still qualify for a home loan. Here are 4 low or no down payment options that can help you, as a first-time homebuyer, get into the house of your dreams.

FHA Loan

With an FHA loan, all you need is a 3.5% minimum down payment to buy your first home. Because the Federal Housing Administration backs the FHA loan, the qualifications are a bit more lenient. People who have no established credit or small savings for a down payment, and even a credit score as low as 580 can qualify. The FHA loan is also available to immigrants who have a Visa or Green Card, as well as those who have gaps in their employment.

It’s also easier to qualify for an FHA loan if you’ve filed for bankruptcy. With a conventional loan, you have to wait four years after filing Chapter 7 to apply for a mortgage. With the FHA loan, you only have to wait two years. If you filed for Chapter 13, you only have to wait one year. You can also get an FHA loan three years after being foreclosed on your previous property.

VA Loan

The government created the VA loan to provide home ownership to veterans and military personnel. Like the FHA loan, the government backs the VA loan for extra security, so qualifying is easier. To qualify, you must get a certificate of eligibility from the Veterans Administration. Having bad credit may not hinder you from getting approved. VA loans require no down payment or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Veterans can choose either a 30-year fixed VA loan or a 15-year fixed VA loan for up to $424,100. They may also get a cash-out refinance of up to 100% of their home.

USDA Rural Development Loan

For those wishing to buy a home in a rural area, the USDA Rural Development Loan requires zero down payment, making it great for first-time home buyers. The government also backs this loan for added security, so there’s low or no PMI attached to it. You only have to pay a 1% guarantee fee upfront and 0.5% each year after that. That’s less than the 1.75% up front and 0.85% each year with the FHA loan. If you’ve recently filed for bankruptcy or were foreclosed, you won’t have to wait too long to qualify for a USDA loan.

Conventional 1% Down Mortgage

Important Update! Last date for loan submissions is 5/31/2018. Program is being discontinued.

Riverbank Finance offers homebuyers a way to put only 1% down on a home and still get a conventional mortgage. In this case, the home buyer puts 1% down and the lender (Riverbank Finance) contributes 2%, giving home buyer 3% equity when closing on the home. Freddie Mac created this option to make homes more affordable for new buyers. It allows people to buy a new home for, essentially, the cost of one month’s rent and avoid PMI altogether or drop PMI in the future. Your 1% down payment may be a gift from someone, you must have at least a 700 FICO score, and your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is limited to 43%.

For more information or to speak with a loan officer about any of these mortgage options, call Riverbank Finance at (800) 555-2098.

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Fannie Mae Relaxes Guidelines for Student Loan Debt

For homebuyers who have been denied for a mortgage due to student loan payments, relief may be in sight. As of April 25th 2017, Fannie Mae is relaxing rules on the amount of student loan debt a mortgage seeker can hold for Conventional mortgages.

Previously, Fannie Mae guidelines required lenders to count at least 1% of their student loan debt as a payment in order to qualify for a home loan. According to Fannie Mae, seven in every 10 graduates of public and non-profit colleges have student loan debt. The result is that 44 million Americans have student loans they are paying off. According to Fannie Mae’s press release, the average amount of student loan debt for one graduate is $34,000. Based on the previous calculations this would prevent many college graduates from becoming homeowners.

Fannie Mae changed the rules so that lenders can look at repayment plans that are INCOME-BASED instead of the 1% rule.

RELATED ARTICLE: Buying a Home with Student Loan Debt

Income Based Repayment Plans for Student Loans

Going back to that average of $34,000, a graduate paying off their student loans the old way would have to pay $340 per month, or 1% of the loan, to be approved for a mortgage. Depending on the kind of job they have and their other expense needs, that may not be reasonable. So now, lenders can see that they are paying what they can AFFORD based on their income, which can be LOWER than the 1% without hurting their odds of approval.

This is good news for college graduates who still have student loans and are looking to get approved for a mortgage. If you’d like to start that process right now complete our online mortgage application.

Good News for College Loan Debt Consolidation:

In addition to this news, home owners who are seeking to reduce their overall debt can refinance their home loan at a lower rate, cash it out, and pay off their student loans with the cash that’s available. According to Fannie Mae, the changes mean:

  • Lenders can offer homeowners, who have at least 20 percent equity in their homes, a cash-out refinance to pay off one or more student loans.
  • Borrowers will have an opportunity to convert higher interest rate student debt to a lower interest rate and potentially reduce monthly debt payments.
  • When at least one student loan is paid off directly to the student loan servicer and delivered to Fannie Mae, they will waive the loan-level price adjustment making mortgage rates lower than standard cash-out refinancing.

Buying a Home with Student Loans and a Low Down payment

These new changes compliment other Home Loan programs for first time home buyers with down payment options such as the Conventional 1% Down Mortgage.  Because this low down payment home loan is a Fannie Mae product, buyers can now used income based repayment plans for their student loans to qualify for financing.

This popular mortgage program is a great fit for recent college graduates that have not had an opportunity to save for a large down payment to become a home owner. Many millennials are choosing to take advantage of these programs to own rather than rent which builds equity and offers tax advantages over renting.

Contact us at (800) 555-2098 to schedule a consultation with one of our loan officers, or apply below to request information for a home loan

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Buying a Vacation Home

What you need to know about buying a vacation home

You’ve been comfortably settled into your home for quite some time now, and you are financially stable. You may be nearing retirement or are craving a place of relaxation and leisure where you and your loved ones can get together without the hassle of booking hotels. A vacation home in Michigan may be just what you need. Before you jump in, you should understand how buying a vacation home is different from buying a primary home. Here’s what you need to know:

Location.

Your idea of the perfect vacation home may be on the beach, in the mountains, or in a small lakeside town along the white sands of Lake Michigan. Before you decide on the exact location, find out about the growth opportunities in the area you’re considering. Having a vacation home in a popular tourist spot can appreciate the value of your home over time, making it a great long-term investment.

Associated costs.

Interest rates for second homes are typically higher than they are for primary homes. Our mortgage calculator can show you what those rates would look like. When you apply for a mortgage on a second home, mortgage underwriters typically look at the costs associated with the principal amount, interest, property taxes, insurance, and any Homeowners Association dues that come with the property.

Likewise, owning a second home means you’ll have to be prepared for added expenses, such as travel, maintenance, repairs, utility costs, and household necessities. One way you can recoup those costs is by renting out the home when you don’t plan on using it yourself.

Down payment requirements.

When buying a primary home, you can put down as little as three percent, and in some cases, no down payment at all. However, FHA and VA loans don’t apply to second homes. In most cases, your lender may want you to put 10 percent down on your vacation home. If you plan on renting out the property on a part-time basis it could be considered a rental property which requires a 20 percent down payment.

Vacation Home Mortgage qualifications.

When you buy a vacation home, the lender will expect you to have saved at least two months of mortgage payments on your primary home and vacation home if you have reliable income, and six months of mortgage payments if you are self-employed. This is to protect you and the lender in case your income is interrupted for any reason. You may also be required to have a higher FICO score and a lower debt-to-income ratio than you would with a primary home loan.

Owning a vacation home can be a great long-term investment and a wonderful getaway for you and your loved ones. However, the process is often difficult, as the lending requirements are more strict. Contact a mortgage loan officer at Riverbank Finance to discuss your best options for purchasing your dream vacation home.

Apply for a Vacation Home Mortgage

To apply for a Vacation home loan, call Riverbank Finance today at 1-800-555-2098.

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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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Calculating MI Property Taxes

Calculating Michigan Property TaxesWhen shopping around for a home it is beneficial to check the cost of property taxes.

Property Tax Overview:

Property tax is a levy on property.  It is required to be paid by the owner annually based on the fiscal year. They are collected on a county level and each county has its own system in determining them.

Because each county has its own system, property taxes vary from county to county.  Property tax on homes are based on a tax assessments and millage rates for the local municipality. Counties take many variables into consideration as well: funding needs, property value based in appraisal, school district, transportation, etc.

Because there are a variety of variables considered during the process property taxes are not set, they fluctuate.  Local governments can raise property taxes for a number of reason (this is often seen when the economy starts to take a turn for the worst). Property taxes are set by millage rates that are typically voted on in local elections to cover such things as fire departments, libraries and police departments.

Related: Michigan Property Transfer Tax Estimator

How to calculate Michigan Property Taxes

Calculating Michigan property taxes is an important step when you are buying a new home. If your estimates are off, you could find your budget thousands of dollars off each year.  The easiest way to do the math is to use the Michigan Property Tax Estimator.

You will then complete the following steps:

  1. Enter the SEV (State Equalized Value) found on the property tax records (you will use the SEV to calculate the property taxes for a property that you are purchasing. To calculate the property taxes for the current owner you will use the “Taxable Value” which may be less than the SEV.
  2. Select your Michigan County
  3. Select Your City/Village/Township
  4. Select Your School District

After entering this information you will see two numbers below. One number will be the estimated property tax bill based on a Primary Residence and the other number will be the number based on a non homestead exempt property such as an investment property.

How you affect your property taxes:

Homeowner’s actions often increase their property taxes.  As a home’s value increases so do its property taxes.  For example, if homeowners remodel, re-roof, add a pool or do anything else that would add value to their home, their property taxes may be effected. The local municipal assessor will revisit the property and make value adjustments accordingly.

Michigan Property Tax:

In Michigan, the median home value is $132,200 according to Tax-Rates.org.  Counties collect an average of 1.62 percent of their property’s market value as property taxes; that’s an average of $2,145 each year spent on property taxes – equivalent to 3.8% of most Michigander’s annual income ($55,244)!

Now, as stated above, these statistics are averages of Michigan as a whole.  They do vary, a significant amount! The highest property tax in Michigan is that of Washtenaw County which is at 2.9 percent.  The lowest is in Luce County at .56 percent.

As you can see, location matters for many reasons when choosing a home.

So, when you are shopping around take all expenses into consideration so you are able to make the best and most affordable decision for you and your family.