All FAQs

Mortgages

No, there’s no cost or obligation at all for completing the online application. Once your application has been pre-qualified, you have the option of paying the application deposit which will cover the cost of the final credit report and appraisal so you can lock in an interest rate. After that, we can start processing your request.

No, in fact, applying for a loan before you find a property to purchase may be one of the best things you can do! When you do this, we can issue you a pre-qualification letter online instantly subject to you finding the perfect home. Having a pre-qualification letter may be helpful in any offer to purchase that you make because it insures sellers and real estate brokers that you are a qualified buyer. Please call your loan advisor to submit your property information if you have submitted your application for a pre-qualification without a specific home.

Once you find the right home for you, simply call your loan advisor to complete your application. At that point, you will be able to lock in great rates and finalize any fees, and we will be able to finish processing your request.

We try to request as little information as possible. To verify the data you provided during your loan application, we use an automated underwriting system that compares your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners. The system then uses that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. In some cases, you can used a single pay stub or W-2 to verify your income. Similarly, in some cases, you can use a single bank statement to verify the assets needed to close your loan.

It’s just as difficult to predict mortgage interest rate movements as is it is the stock market, and no one can know for certain whether they will increase or decrease.

You will want to consider locking an interest rate (as soon as you’re able) if you have a hunch that rates are on an upward trend. Before deciding to lock anything in, make sure your loan can be closed within the lock-in period—the rate will not be guaranteed if you don’t close within the lock period. However, after the rate has been locked, the loan must close at that rate. If you are purchasing a home, be sure to review your contract for the estimated closing date. This will help you in choosing the right rate lock period.

With a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, you will pay less than half the total interest cost of the traditional 30-year mortgage. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage allows you to completely own your home in 15 years. While the monthly payments are somewhat higher than a 30-year loan, a 15-year mortgage’s interest rate is usually a little lower.

That being said, if you can’t afford the higher monthly payment of a 15-year mortgage, you’re not alone—many borrowers choose a 30-year mortgage because they find the higher payment out of reach. That’s why, for most people, it still makes sense to go with a 30-year mortgage.

As soon as your loan is pre-qualified and you pay the application deposit to cover the cost of your appraisal and final credit report, you will be able to lock in your interest rate and discount points. If you’re purchasing a home, you must inform us of the property address before locking in your interest rate. If you complete the application today and you are pre-qualified online, you will be able to pay the application deposit with a credit card and immediately lock in a great rate.

A loan advisor will contact you if we need to review your information before providing your loan pre-qualification. In this case, you will be able to lock in your rate and fees then.

No, none of our loan programs have prepayment penalties. You will be able to pay off your mortgage at any time with no additional costs.

An appraisal is a written description and estimate of the value of a property. An appraisal will be required to determine the value of the property you are purchasing or refinancing. A licensed appraiser will be assigned to your property to complete the appraisal. They will create a written report for us and also give you a copy at your loan closing.

National standards govern the format for the appraisal and specify the appraiser's credentials and qualifications. Additionally, most states have licensing requirements for appraisers who evaluate properties located within their states.

Your home’s loan closing will take place at your home or at the office of a title company or attorney in your area who will act as our agent. For new home purchases, the seller might also be there so they can transfer ownership to you. These two events will actually happen separately in some states.

A few days before closing, your loan advisor will contact you and walk through the final information, including your final loan amount, first payment date, any fees, etc.

During the loan closing, you will review and sign several papers for the loan. The most important documents you will sign include the note, the mortgage or deed of trust, and The Closing Disclosure. The closing agent or attorney conducting the closing should be able to answer any questions you have. If you prefer, you can also contact your loan advisor.

A mortgage will often involve many fees, such as title charges, the appraisal fee, closing fees, and local or state taxes. These fees will vary from state to state and from lender to lender.

To help you understand and evaluate our fees, we have grouped them as follows:

  • Lender Fees: Fees such as loan processing fees, document preparation fees, and discount points are retained by us, the lender. We use these fees to provide you the lowest rates possible.
  • Required Advances: Sometimes referred to as prepaid items, required advances are items you may be asked to prepay at your home’s closing, even though they are actually due in the future. A "per diem interest" or "interest due at closing” is one of the more common required advances. In our case, the first of the month is the payment date for all of our mortgages. If your loan closing is not on the first of the month, you will pay interest at the closing for the date of closing through the end of the month. For example, if the loan closes on May 15th, we will collect interest at the closing for May 15th through May 30th. This would also mean your first mortgage payment would not be due until July 1st. An impound or escrow account will be established for your loan’s closing. At closing, you will make an initial deposit into the escrow account so that sufficient funds are available to pay the insurance bills and taxes when they are due. Whether or not mortgage insurance is required depends on the size of the down payment you make. If mortgage insurance is required, up to two months of it will be collected at the loan’s closing. You will also need to pay for your first year's homeowner's insurance premium prior to closing if your loan is a purchase.
  • Third Party Fees: These include the credit report fee, appraisal fee, survey fee, tax service fees, settlement or closing fee, title insurance fees, flood certification fees, and mailing/courier fees. We collect these fees and pass them on to the person who actually performs the service. For example, the credit report fee is paid to the credit bureau, appraisal fee is paid to the appraiser, and the title insurance fees are paid to the title company. There may be minor variances in third party fees from lender to lender. A lender may choose a provider that offers nationwide coverage at a flat rate, or they may have negotiated a special charge with a provider they use often.
  • Taxes and Other Unavoidables: State taxes, local taxes, and recording fees are the kinds of fees we consider to be unavoidables.

For details, contact your loan advisor.

If you’re making less than a 20% down payment, mortgage insurance may be required. Mortgage insurance helps protect the lender against the additional risk associated with low down payment mortgages, which are becoming more popular. Lenders can be more comfortable with down payments as low as 3-5% of the home's value if mortgage insurance is purchased. This also gives you the ability to buy a more expensive home than you might have been able to get if a 20% down payment had been required.

Mortgage life insurance, which is designed to pay off a mortgage in the event of a borrower's death, should not be confused with mortgage insurance.

Yes, borrowing funds to use as your down payment is totally acceptable, but any loan that you take out must be secured by a valuable asset that you own, such as a car or another home. If you’re planning on getting a loan for this purpose, make sure to include its information and details in the home loan application’s expenses section.

Guaranteed and administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are exclusively offered as a benefit to qualified individuals who are serving or have served in the military.  One of the VA loan’s best advantages is that it doesn’t require a down payment. If you’re a qualified veteran who wants to purchase a home with little to no down payment, a VA loan may be the best fit for you. If you have funds you wish to use for a down payment, we recommend comparing the VA loan with conventional loans to determine which is best for you.

You must request a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA to officially determine if you are a qualified veteran. The COE shows the VA has determined you are eligible for a VA home loan and indicates the amount of available guaranty or entitlement. To obtain a COE, fill out the “Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits (VA Form 26-1880)” form, then submit it to the VA. Additional information about this form and other VA loan eligibility requirements are available in our VA Loan Guide, as well as on the VA website at https://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/.

 

  • Eligibility: Only qualified veterans are eligible for VA loans.
  • Loan Amounts: The maximum guaranty amount for a VA loan in all areas is $484,350 (as of January 2019). There may be exceptions for homes in “high cost” areas as determined by the government.
  • Insurance and Requirements: VA loans are administered and insured by the federal government. They generally have lower qualification requirements and require lower down payments than conventional loans because the government insures a portion of the total dollar amount of these mortgage loans. However, some conventional loans also allow for low down payments. Before determining which is best for your situation, it’s always a good idea to compare all the loan programs you’re eligible for. If you have any questions or need help determining which program is right for you, contact your loan advisor.

With purchase and rate-term refinances,  the veteran can borrow 100% of the value of the home or purchase price plus the VA funding fee. With cash-out refinances, the loan amounts will be limited to 90% of the value of the home plus the VA funding fee.