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How to Select a Home Lender in Baton Rouge

by Pat Wattam

One of the first steps in thinking about purchasing a home is to select a lender.  That can be a daunting prospect if you have never purchased a home before.  Every lender will have different criteria, such as credit scores, that they will accept to do a home loan. Each lender may have different programs than others.  Others are mortgage brokers who shop for the best deal for you.  So where do you start?

1.  If you have a REALTOR, ask them for names of lenders they have worked with whom they liked.   If they like the lender, I guarentee you the loan closed and they had happy buyers.

2.  Ask friends for recommendations.  Your friends who have bought more than one house may have more than one recommendation for you.

3.  On line lenders - STAY AWAY FROM THESE!  Especially if you are a first time home buyer or have any issues, you want someone you can talk to face to face, someone who is easy to reach (most local lenders give you their cell phone number).

How do you select the one you want to work with?  Remember, it isn't always about who has the best rate.  The difference of 1/8th percent isn't really a deciding factor.  You want to work with the lender that you feel a connection with, one that explains the process and stays in touch timely. 

At the Pat Wattam Team we have a number of lenders we regularly refer business too.  Give us a call and we'll help you get started!

Pre-qualification vs. Pre-Approval - Baton Rouge Real Estate

by Blake Hanna

Pre-Qualified

Getting pre-qualified is the first step you should take after finding a Realtor you like and trust. It's highly recommended as it's let's you know where you stand financially and if you can in fact obtain financing to buy a home. You supply a bank or lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income and assets. After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage amount for which you qualify. Pre-qualification can be done over the phone, on the internet, or in person, and there is usually no cost involved. Loan pre-qualification does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your ability to purchase a home.

The initial pre-qualification step allows you to discuss any goals or needs you may have regarding your mortgage with your lender. At this point, a lender can explain your various mortgage options and recommend the type that might be best suited to your situation.

Getting pre-qualified for a loan gives you an idea of how much you might qualify to borrow. You have not actually applied for a loan and the mortgage lender has only your word on your income, assets and liabilities. None of your information has been verified, the loan amount is in no way guaranteed. You may be given a pre-qualification letter that merely states you are likely to be approved for a mortgage.

Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved is the next step, and it tends to be much more involved. You'll complete an official mortgage application and supply the lender with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating  From this, the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved. You'll also have a better idea of the interest rate you will be charged on the loan and, in some cases, you might be able to lock in a specific rate.

Getting pre-approved  means that not only have you given the mortgage lender information on your income, assets, and liabilities, but your information has been checked and verified. The mortgage lender may also have pulled your credit report to learn about your credit history and credit-worthiness.

Blake Hanna, Realtor

225-298-6900

[email protected]

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First

12 Reasons To Use a Realtor

by Blake Hanna

12 Reasons You Should Use a REALTOR

1. Determine Buying Power

2. Home Search Assistance

3. Objective Property Information

4. Price Negoatiation

5. Management of Property Evaluation

6. Identification of Qaulified Lenders and Finacing Options

7. Smooth Closing Process

8. Up-to-date Selling Information

9. Marketing Assistance

10. Connections to Selling Networks

11. Objective Evaluation of Buyer's Proposal

12. Closing Assistance


Blake Hanna, Realtor

The Pat Wattam Team

RE/MAX First

225-298-6903

[email protected]

 

*Source-fsbonightmares.com

Buy Instead of Renting - The Pat Wattam Team

by Blake Hanna

Buy Instead of Rent

 

1. Savings and Equity

When you are renting a home, you pay your monthly rent check and that money is gone forever. When buying a home, every mortgage payment you make builds equity in your home and gets you closer to full ownership.

 

2. Interest Rates

With interest rates still low, now is a great time to buy and take advantage of the rates before they rise.

3. Tax Breaks

Everyone dreads tax season. The homeowner can deduct the real estate property tax, some or all of the interest on the mortgage, and the cost of insurance for the property.

 

4. Stability

A homeowner pays the same every month/year when they have a fixed rate mortgage, giving the owner a sense of stability. A renter may be faced with rent increases with the cost of living. Owning a home gives you stability in that your payment will not change regardless of the increase of cost of living.

 

5. Freedom

Unlike renters, homeowners have the right to make structural and aesthetic changes to their home and yard as they want.

Quick Tips for the 1st Time Home Buyers

by Blake Hanna

3 Quick Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

 

1. Know What You Want

You are about to make one of the most important decisions and one of the biggest commitments in your life, so you had better be clear on what you want. The home buying process can be difficult, so don't add stress by not being prepared. Make sure you've thought through what you are looking for and what you are willing to compromise on so that the transaction will go as smooth as possible.

 

2. Finances- Talk to a Lender

Browsing homes on the internet and making lists of all things you would love in your first house is a great first step, but unless you are paying cash or qualify for a loan you are just window shopping. Having a lender assess your finances will let you know if you can afford to buy a house and for how much. You may have to work on your finances, but you also may qualify for more than you think. It's great to do this first so that you don't end up wasting your time. The lender will also be able to let you know what you need to do to get qualified.

 

3. Find a Great REALTOR®

Finding a good Realtor can save you time, money and help to make the transaction as smooth and stress-free as possible. A good Realtor® is an effective negotiator and will probably get you more house for your money than if you went at it alone. They will also listen to your wants and needs, help you narrow down the areas and houses to look at, and help you to find what your are really looking for.

Blake Hanna, Realtor

225-298-6903

[email protected]

What are closing costs?

by Blake Hanna

In addition to the down payment and amount you are financing for the purchase of your home, there are also closing costs.

 

Closing costs are miscellaneous fees that are charged to you by the people involved with the sale of the house. These people typically include the lender and title company.

 

Closing costs will not be a surprise to you at the closing. Your lender will give you a Good Faith Estimate or GFE, which gives a rough estimate of what your closing costs will comprise of and the total.

 

Closing costs on average run about 2-5% the costs of the house.

 

Closing costs can include lender origination fees, discount points, private mortgage insurance, initial interest, lender's title insurance, property taxes, appraisal, attorney fees, title search fees, title insurance and recording fees.  

Blake Hanna, Realtor

225-298-6903

[email protected]

Mortgage Loan Options

by Blake Hanna

This will briefly go over what is required for the loan types as well as why a buyer chooses each one.

 

Coventional Loan

  • Requires a 20% down payment
  • Fixed Rate - Your interest rate stays the same for the life of the loan
  • Avoids PMI(private mortgage insurance-annual premium paid monthly)
  • Requires 3.5% down payment
  • Requires PMI
  • Lower down payment and lower credit score required
  • No down payment required
  • Eligible applicants are veterans, active duty personnel, reservists/National Guard Members.
  • No PMI
  • Right to prepay without penatly
  • No down payment required
  • Some limits on income
  • Eligible for designated rural areas. 
225-298-6903

Items Needed for Loan Approval

by Pat Wattam

Got these tips today from Andy Aucoin at Essential Mortgage.  Read all the way through.  When you are thinking about buying a house, the first step is to get pre-qualified.   We will find you the house that you want to buy.  Follow Andy steps below to understand what is next!  

From Andy: 

Here is a shorter list of items needed once you are ready to proceed with a pre-approval, NOT a pre-qualification, but an actual approval. Also, please make sure you read the Do’s and Don’t list below the checklist.

 Documentation REQUIRED for loan application:

 

It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

 

***Green highlights are needed to get me started on a preliminary approval for your loan. 

**Red highlights are needed once you have an executed purchase agreement. 


o    ***Most recent paycheck stubs from the last 30 days.

o    ***W-2 statements and 1099’s for last two years on all borrowers.

o    ***Last 2 years SIGNED tax returns – ALL pages, ALL schedules, K-1’s etc. (personal & corporate if applicable)

***If self-employed YTD P&L may be required. The tax returns requested NEED to be the ones submitted to the IRS.

o    ***2 most recent bank statements on ALL accounts- ALL pages even if blank. ALL Large deposits must be sourced

ANY DEPOSITS OTHER THAN PAYROLL WILL NEED TO BE DOCUMENTED?

o    ***Most recent quarterly statements on savings, 401k’s, stock, CD’s etc. (ALL pages)

o    ***Legible copy of driver’s license (s) For FHA, VA, Bond and RD, I also need social security cards.

 

Other information needed once you have a contract and or a refinance:

 o    **Name & phone # of your Homeowner’s Insurance Agent?  ______________________            

If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]               

These documents are needed back ASAP to be able to start the process for approval.

***Important Note: Please be prepared if we happen to ask for additional documentation or clarification once your file has been processed and submitted. Your patience will be deeply appreciated by all of us.***

 

Pay Particular Attention to These Tips:

THINGS to DO and THINGS NOT to DO

Please carefully read the items below. If ANY of it pertains to you, please let me know upfront so that we can plan accordingly and not be surprised down the road when it may be too late. Many of the items such as credit, income, assets and employment WILL be verified again after loan approval. Better safe than sorry. Pay very close attention to how you sign the initial disclosures and final doc’s at closing. It needs to match your signature on your Driver’s License.

If you have ANY 2106 un-reimbursed business expenses on your tax returns, it is important for me to know early!

DO keep ALL accounts current (mortgages, credit cards, auto loans etc.)

DO contact me anytime a questions or concern arises.

DO keep copies of ALL paperwork with ALL pages of everything pertaining to your loan.

DO make sure to make ALL payments on ALL accounts on or before the due date.

DO have patience with me. It may seem that I am asking for your life history? I am only because I have to.

 

DO NOT make ANY large deposits into your bank accounts WITHOUT proper documentation.

DO NOT quit your job for any reason. Please call me to discuss any changes that may occur to your employment.

DO NOT allow anyone to make an inquiry on your credit report during the process of your loan.

DO NOT change Banks or transfer money within your accounts. If you do, a paper trail will be needed.

DO NOT co-sign for anyone, period.

DO NOT purchase a vehicle of any kind or take on additional debt.

DO NOT purchase any other real estate.

DO NOT apply for credit anywhere or complete any other credit application.

DO NOT charge any additional debt on any credit cards. That includes appliances, furniture etc.

DO NOT start any home improvements that are not a condition of your loan.

DO NOT max out your credit card limit. See below.

 

Factors that influence your credit scores are as follows:

  • Payment History (35%)

Delinquent payments can have a major impact on your scores.

First time delinquency can drop a score 100 points or more.

  • Amounts Owed (30%)

Higher credit utilization will negatively impact a credit score

  • Length of Credit History (15%)

The longer the history, the higher the score.

  • New Credit (10%)

High number of inquiries in 12 months is negative.

  • Types of Credit Used (10%)

Higher percentage of secured (versus unsecured) credit is better.

 

 

Andy Aucoin

Mortgage Loan Originator

NMLS# 83261 * NMLS# 80850

Essential Mortgage Company

3029 S. Sherwood, Suite 200

Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Phone: 225-297-7741

Direct Fax: 225-236-9133

Cell: 225-485-8433

Email: [email protected]

Apply on-line: www.essentialmtg.com

 

So, hope this helps clear up some of the confusion on getting your loan approved.  Call The Pat Wattam Team at RE/MAX First today and we'll help you get on the road to home ownership! 

A Few Reasons Why You Should Buy Instead of Rent

by Pat Wattam

1. Savings and Equity

When you are renting a home, you pay your monthly rent check and that money is gone forever. When buying a home, every mortgage payment you make builds equity in your home and gets you closer to full ownership.

 2. Interest Rates

With interest rates still low, now is a great time to buy and take advantage of the rates before they rise.

 3. Tax Breaks

Everyone dreads tax season. The homeowner can deduct the real estate property tax, some or all of the interest on the mortgage, and the cost of insurance for the property.

 4. Stability

A homeowner pays the same every month/year when they have a fixed rate mortgage, giving the owner a sense of stability. A renter may be faced with rent increases with the cost of living. Owning a home gives you stability in that your payment will not change regardless of the increase of cost of living.

 5. Freedom

Unlike renters, homeowners have the right to make structural and aesthetic changes to their home and yard as they want.

 6. Pride!

There is nothing like the feeling of owning your own home. You worked hard to get there so take pride in the accomplishment.

Nation Wide Open House Weekend April 20 - 21, 2013

by Pat Wattam

Join the Pat Wattam Team this Saturday and Sunday at Nation Wide Open House Weekend! All across the country hundreds of homes will be open.  What a great time for potential home buyers to get out and see what their dollar will buy!

We have been saying for the past couple of years that NOW is the time to buy.  Take a look at this chart showing interest rates since the 1800's.

Next, take a look at the past 20 years of interest rates

Seriously, rates are still under 4%.  This is why it's a great time not only to purchase your first home, but if you have thought about making a move to a bigger, dream home in the next couple of years, do it now while rates are low and prices haven't skyrocketed!

And, yes, it can definitely be cheaper to own than rent, depending on your location.

So come on our this weekend and join us.  

Check out homes available for Open House both Saturday and Sunday at www.GBRAR.com.

 

Charts compliments of Leslie Lovett of SWBC Mortgage.

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Photo of Pat Wattam Real Estate
Pat Wattam
RE/MAX First, Independently Owned and Operated
4750 Sherwood Common
Baton Rouge LA 70816
Office Direct: 225-298-6900
Office Main: 225-291-1234
Fax: 225-295-1234

RE/MAX First
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
Main: 225-291-1234

Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission