Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/20/2020

If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, there is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Because if you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house. As a result, you'll be able to map out your home search based on your property buying budget.

There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a great mortgage prior to launching a house search. These include:

1. Learn About Your Mortgage Options

Banks and credit unions offers a wide range of mortgage options. If you meet with these financial institutions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.

As you assess your mortgage options, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can make an informed decision about a mortgage and decide which option will serve you well in the years to come.

2. Ask Mortgage Questions

If you are uncertain about what differentiates one mortgage option from another, it is important to remember you are not alone. Fortunately, you can ask mortgage questions to home financing professionals to determine which mortgage option is right for you.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Thus, if you discuss your mortgage concerns with home financing specialists, you can get the guidance you need to choose the best mortgage based on your individual needs.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score may have far-flung effects on your ability to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you analyze your credit score, you can determine if you need to take steps to improve this score before you apply for a mortgage.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can analyze your credit score at your convenience.

If you have outstanding debt on your credit report, you may want to pay this off as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you pay off outstanding debt, the sooner you can bolster your credit score.

In addition, if you identify any errors on your credit report, notify the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes before you submit a mortgage application.

As you get set to apply for a mortgage and conduct a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can provide expert guidance as you pursue your dream residence. He or she will help you find a house that matches your budget, attend home showings and much more.

Ready to launch a comprehensive home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to establish a budget for the homebuying journey.




Tags: mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Buying a Home   Mortgage  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 5/5/2019

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) refers to mortgage refinancing as a crucial aspect of all mortgages. This is partly because comparatively, low mortgage interest rates have encouraged homeowners to restructure their financial situations using their home equity. Homeowners should base their refinancing decision on their circumstances rather than mortgage interest rates. Here are tips to consider when considering refinancing your mortgage: 

Home Equity

You need to have home equity before you can even consider refinancing your home mortgage. Home values are steadily rising which means that with conventional lenders, you can have enough equity to get a loan. Most lenders will allow a homeowner with at least 20% equity to get credit quickly.

Credit Score 

In recent years, lenders have made the requirement for loan approval stricter. Therefore, some consumers with good credit may not qualify for the lowest interest rates. Typically, the acceptable credit score by most lenders is 760 and above. Borrowers whose credit scores are not up to the satisfactory score may still obtain a new loan but with higher fees or interest rates.

Refinancing Cost

Refinancing costs usually take between three to five percent of the loan amount. Borrowers can look for ways to reduce this cost or incorporate it into the loan. The cost can also be rolled into a new loan if you have enough equity. With some lenders, you are likely to pay an interest rate that is slightly higher to balance the closing cost when you take a loan with them. Make sure that you negotiate and ask several lenders so that you get the best fees for your refinancing loan.

Rates vs. Term 

A borrower needs to have a goal when refinancing to know the exact mortgage product that is most favorable. If all you want is to reduce your monthly payment to the minimum, a loan with a long-term interest rate will be beneficial. If your goal is to pay a reduced interest rate over a short period, you should consider the lowest interest rate in the shortest term. 

Break-Even Point

Before deciding to refinance your mortgage, determine the break-even point. The break-even point is the time at which your monthly savings have covered your refinancing cost. Beyond this point, your monthly savings belong to you. This also means you know how long it will take before your refinancing makes sense if you intend to sell or move from the home in some years.

Mortgage refinancing can be quite confusing, so you need to be sure you completely understand the terms and conditions. Do your research and also speak to a financial planner to give you professional advice.




Categories: Mortgage   refinance   homeowners  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 7/1/2018

A fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) offers one of many financing options for homebuyers. It enables homebuyers to lock in an interest rate on a home loan and pay a set amount each month for the life of a mortgage. As such, an FRM remains a popular option for homebuyers across the United States.

Ultimately, there are many benefits to choosing an FRM, including:

1. Easy Budgeting

With an FRM, your mortgage payments will always stay the same. Thus, after you get approved for an FRM, you can budget accordingly.

An FRM often serves as a great option for homeowners who struggle to maintain a budget. It ensures your mortgage payments will never rise or fall for the life of your loan, which may make it easier for you to map out a weekly, monthly or annual budget.

In addition, an FRM will stay intact regardless of market conditions. This means you won't have to worry about your mortgage costs rising even if interest rates increase nationally.

2. No Price Fluctuations

An FRM minimizes headaches for homebuyers, and for good reason. After you agree to FRM terms with your lender, you will know precisely what you'll be paying for your home.

Comparatively, an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) may be difficult for homebuyers to understand. This type of mortgage may fluctuate over time, which means the amount you pay in the first few years of your loan could escalate.

For example, a 5/1 ARM ensures that your interest rate will remain intact for the first five years of your loan. After the initial period, the interest rate may change annually. As a result, your monthly mortgage payments may fluctuate over the life of your loan.

3. Simple to Understand

Your lender will be able to outline the terms of an FRM with ease, as this type of mortgage ensures an interest rate is set in stone until your loan is paid in full. Plus, after you receive an FRM, you can focus on what's important – acquiring your dream home and enjoying this residence for years to come.

With an ARM, the interest rate for your loan may move up and down over the years. The factors that cause the interest rate to fluctuate are based on numerous market factors as well. Therefore, it can be tough to plan ahead for your monthly mortgage payments due to the fact that various factors may impact your loan's interest rate.

Determining whether an FRM is right for you can be challenging. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can define all of your home financing options and respond to any concerns and questions.

Furthermore, your real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with lenders in your area. This real estate professional also is happy to offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can get the financing you need to secure your dream house.

Examine all of your home financing options closely, and you should have no trouble obtaining a home loan that matches your budget.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/6/2017

One of the best ways to lower your monthly mortgage payment is to make a sizable down payment when you buy your new house. In fact, a significant down payment could make the difference between whether or not a bank or other mortgage lender approves you for a loan. A lot of it has to do with the past.

Time is of essence when it comes to building a mortgage down payment

Since the Great Recession, lenders have become more conservative during the loan approval process. Even if you work for a bank, you might not get approved by your employer for a mortgage. It's not just your credit rating and your salary. The amount of disposable income and down payment you have are also key.

The time that it could take you to save a mortgage down payment depend on several factors. Among these important factors are:

  • How much student loan debt you have to pay off
  • Money management habits that you have developed
  • Your income and how much job security you have (For example, did you just start your job or have you worked for your employer for five or more years?)
  • The number and amount of financial obligations you currently have
  • Location, size and amount of house you want to buy

What is a good mortgage down payment?

Even if you have been working for your employer for five or more years, don't have a lot of debt and practice healthy money management habits, it still could take you several years to save for a sizable mortgage down  payment. This is because a good mortgage down payment can start at ten thousand dollars and quickly rise. Factors that help to create a good mortgage down payment include:

  • A good down payment on a mortgage generally equals about 20% of the overall cost of the house (For example, if the house that you're buying cost $225,000, you'd put at least $22,500 toward your down payment.)
  • Rising rates could lift the amount of money that you need to put toward a down payment.
  • Your down payment is separate from other housing costs like mortgage application and homeowners association fees, title search and title application fees and closing costs.

All is right with saving for a strong mortgage down payment

You could start saving for a mortgage down payment as soon as you start working. You could also save for a mortgage down payment even if you're on the fence about buying a house. The self-discipline that you use to build the savings can help you to develop the money management skills to get out of debt, invest in your education and start building a strong retirement account.

Several years of saving for a healthy mortgage down payment helps you to develop an appreciation for your finances. It helps you to see the correlation between your hard work and how you treat the money that you work so hard for. When you get ready to buy a house, it also helps you to get a great mortgage deal, the type of deal that finds you with more money left in your wallet after you pay your monthly mortgage.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 5/14/2017

If you’re finding that your finances are a bit tighter these days, you might need to adjust your budget a bit. Have you ever thought about alternatives in helping you to pay your mortgage? There’s a few things that you might be able to do in your home to save a few bucks and be more comfortable with your budget and finances. 


Share The Space


This might sound crazy, but it works for many people. If you’re willing to share your living space with others, it could help you to make a dent in your mortgage. This works especially well if you have a home with a separate entrance like an in-law apartment or something similar. 


Make Adjustments To Your Expenses


There are many different costs that come along with owning a home. If you reduce some of these expenses, you’ll be able to cut your overall spending. You don’t need to completely adjust your entire way of living to do this. Some ideas:


  • Cut the cord on cable and install streaming devices
  • Go on a family cell phone plan
  • Skip the gym membership
  • Use public transportation
  • Cook at home instead of eating out
  • Use coupons


Put Tax Refunds To Good Use


If you normally get a tax refund, you can apply that money to your mortgage instead of using it to buy something else. You could also adjust your withholdings. This would allow you to get a bit more money in your paycheck each week. You’ll get less of a refund during tax time, but the extra money may help you to pay down bills throughout the year. 


Pay More Towards The Principal 


To make the most of your hard-earned savings, use your money wisely and pay down the mortgage faster. Just be sure that there’s no penalty for a prepayment of the loan. You can either make an extra loan payment each month or you can pay a bit over what you owe on the mortgage each month. If you pay the mortgage faster, you’ll save potentially thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll need to check with your mortgage company to see what their process is for paying more towards the principal of the loan. Keep in mind that the first few years‘ worth of your mortgage payments will be going towards interest unless you specify extra payments to go elsewhere.


Whether you’d like a little more of a financial cushion or are just looking to get rid of all those pesky monthly bills, it’s never a bad idea to focus on paying your mortgage down as quickly as possible.




Tags: mortgage   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized