Shopping for a Mortgage Lender. Inside scoop on how to choose one

Shopping Around For A Mortgage Lender?

Here is THE INSIDE SCOOP on how to IDENTIFY A PROFESSIONAL MORTGAGE LENDER, BROKER, and LOAN OFFICER

HERE ARE FOUR SIMPLE QUESTIONS your Loan Officer absolutely MUST be able to answer CORRECTLY. IF THEY DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWERS RUN, DON’T WALK RUN TO A LENDER THAT DOES!

1) What are mortgage interest rates based on? (The only correct answer is Mortgage Backed Securities or Mortgage Bonds, NOT the 10-year Treasury Note. While the 10-year Treasury Note sometimes trends in the same direction as Mortgage Bonds, it is not unusual to see them move in completely opposite directions. DO NOT work with a lender who has their eyes on the wrong indicators.)

2) What is the next Economic Report or event that could cause interest rate movement? (A professional lender will have this at their fingertips. For an up-to-date calendar of weekly economic reports and events that may cause rates to fluctuate.

3) When the Fed “changes rates”, what does this mean and what impact does this have on mortgage interest rates? (The answer may surprise you. When the Fed makes a move, they are changing a rate called the “Fed Funds Rate”. This is a very short-term rate that impacts credit cards, credit lines, auto loans and the like. Mortgage rates most often will actually move in the opposite direction as the Fed change, due to the dynamics within the financial markets. For more information and explanation, just give us a call)

4) What is happening in the market today and what do you see in the near future? (If a lender cannot explain how Mortgage Bonds and interest rates are moving at the present time, as well as what is coming up in the near future, you are talking with someone who is still reading last week’s newspaper, and probably not a professional with whom to entrust your home mortgage financing.)

One additional important aspect, is also understanding that not all Loan Officers are licensed. Be sure to only work with a licensed professional. You can verify a Loan Officer has a license by going to www.NMLSconsumerAccess.org

Be Smart… Ask Questions, and Get Answers!

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(C) 2011 – Joe Metzler – Mortgages Unlimited, St Paul, MN #274132.


The newest NEW Good Faith Estimate for 2011

On January 1, 2010, the government came out with a new Good Faith Estimate document for home buyers. The new document, supposedly designed to help consumers better shop for a mortgage, was and is a complete flop.

A year later, they are testing a new, new Good Faith Estimate from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can give your input to the CFPB… Watch to learn how.

What do YOU think? Is this one a flop too? Post below!


Modified Mortgages Ineligible for Refinancing

Previously Modified Mortgages Under Attack and maybe Ineligible for Refinancing

St Paul, MN: For many reasons, a lot of home owners have attempted and succeeded in getting their current home mortgage loan modified. Modifications come in many forms, including reduced interest rates, both short and long-term, principal forgiveness, etc.

Modifications, and short-sales, terms never heard of just four years ago, are now commonplace. Lenders have struggled on how to deal with this phenomena in terms of underwriting guidelines for future credit. Short-sales for example, are generally treated by lenders as a foreclosure. While there are some exceptions, those doing short-sales generally have no benefit credit-wise over a true foreclosure.

Now lenders are starting to deal with modified mortgages, and the determination isn’t good for the consumer. While it is still the beginning of a new credit requirement, lenders are starting to refuse to refinance any customer who currently has a modified loan. Research with lenders shows significantly more restrictive guidelines for refinancing mortgages that were previously modified for the purposes of assisting the borrower (defined as “restructured loans” by Fannie Mae and other investors).

Simply put, if you have a “modified” mortgage loan, expect that you may not be eligible to get refinanced in the future!

(Definition: A restructured loan is one in which the terms of the original transaction have been changed, resulting in absolute forgiveness of debt or a restructure of debt through either a modification of the original loan or origination of a new loan that results in one or all of the below:

  • Forgiveness of a portion of principal and/or interest on either the first or the second mortgage.
    Application of a principal curtailment by or on behalf of the investor to simulate principal forgiveness.
  • Conversion of any portion of the original mortgage debt to a “soft” subordinate mortgage.
  • Conversion of any portion of the original mortgage debt from secured to unsecured.


Are you a pop tart agent?

Are you a pop tart Real Estate Agent? Do you instantly jump when a new buyer calls? Stop wasting your time, set proper expectations. Is your buyer really pre-approved for a home mortgage loan? Learn more with Joe Metzler and Dave Harvey of Mortgages Unlimited, and the MN Real Estate Daily Show.

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Refinancing? Common mistakes to avoid

Mortgage Interest Rates are near historic lows. You want to refinance?
Common mistakes, and what NOT To Do

There are a lot of things “not to do”. I will point out only the 3 most common mistakes I see people make.

  1. Setting an unrealistic goal. I always get inquiries from people who say something like, “I have a 30 year fixed rate loan at 5.875% and I will refinance ONLY when rates get to 4.0% with no closing costs”. Sometimes I call people back and say, “Why 4%? why not 3% or 2%? They say, “Well rates are not going to go that low”. Right and they are unlikely to go to 4% with no closing costs also (“no closing cost” loans typically cost anywhere from 1/2% to .75% higher than the going interest rate) You should first succumb to the fact that once you can lower your rate with no out of pocket expense, you should probably refinance. Don’t draw unrealistic interest rate lines in the sand. They get blown away too easily.
  2. The “Once rates start dropping, they are going to continue to drop and I’m smart and I am going to lock when rates hit the bottom of the market” syndrome. It is very hard to guess the interest-rate cycle, and pretty hard to catch the bottom. Remember that rates can rise fairly quickly.
  3. “If the rate goes down just another 1/8th percent, then I’ll lock” This one just kills me! I see people lose all the time over this theory. If your current rate is 5.875% and today’s rate is 4.875%. LOCK & CLOSE! Most people have what I call “interest rate block”. They get a rate stuck in their head, and that is the rate they want, no matter what. Most people fail to realize (and most loan officers fail to show them), that the difference on the average loan over 1/8th a percent is usually less than $15 per month. If you can save $150 per month on your loan at today’s rate, why gamble? Why hold out for another $15 when the odds are against you?

Don’t get piggy. Work with us. Set a goal and lock when it gets there. Are we going to hit the bottom? Probably not. Are we going to save you money? Yes. If you can save money with no out of pocket costs, than you have nothing to lose. If you want to gamble go to Las Vegas. It’s a heck of a lot more fun. Apply Now

Extra Tricks to Save Money When Refinancing

The purpose of most refinance loans is simply to save money. The goal is to minimize your expense over the life of the loan or to minimize your monthly payment in the near future.

If you can swing it, don’t roll every cost of refinancing into your new loan. Most people escrow for taxes and insurance. If you do, your current lender must give you escrow refund within 30 days of paying off their loan. Your new lender, be it us or someone else, must take the equivalent amount of money (or more) at closing to start the new escrow account.

Remember that you always get to skip a month of payments. If you close June 5th, your first new payment is August 1st.

Knowing this, paying some of your closing costs out-of-pocket will save you even more money in the long run. Why roll in $4000 in closing costs, when you really only need to roll in $2000 ($1000 escrow refund + $1000 missed payment = $2000). Paying that $2000 over 30 years doesn’t make sense if you don’t have too.

On the other hand, some people love the fact that they didn’t pay anything out of pocket to refinance, got a nice escrow refund check, then got to miss a mortgage payment. They use the ‘extra’ money to pay bills, go on vacation, etc.

Picking a Lender & Closing Costs

Shopping for a home loan is confusing. No matter what we’re looking for — from cars to refrigerators’ — there’s a built-in element of confusion. Why? Lack of knowledge. An unfortunate rule of thumb is that the less we know about something we need to buy, the more we can expect to pay for it.

Shopping for a mortgage in Minneapolis, St Paul, Duluth, Rochester, Madison, Milwaukee, and throughout all of Minnesota and Wisconsin is complex at best — even for the savvy previous home owner. Daily rate changes, time-sensitive lock-in periods, points, lender’s fees… plus the emotional element of probably the largest financial deal any of us will ever make. Throw in to this already murky stew the ingredients of tricky internet mortgage rate advertising, commissions for every officer, agent and broker who ‘helps’ in your transaction, and the obscure differences between ‘rates’ and ‘fees.’ It’s no mystery that many buyers settle for a home loan that exceeds their monetary means out of sheer exasperation!

Please review our information on closing costs and “BAD Good Faith Estimates“. There is currently a large number of fly-by-night lenders doing some incredibly misleading rate & closing cost advertising. Remember, if it sounds too good, it probably is! Also check out my article “Best Rate or Lowest Cost” for more loan comparison information.

The Bottom Line
Remember, the first rule is that there are no rules. You should refinance if it makes sense for you. Every person & situation is different. What makes sense for one family, may not make sense for you. Call me today to discuss your wants, needs, and goals. Together we’ll determine if refinancing makes sense for YOU.

Click here for more information on the actual loan process.
Click here for
10 Tips to a Smooth Closing
Click here for
10 Mistakes to Avoid


NAR fees are up, and I’m on a budget

NAR fees are up, advertising costs are up, real estate sales are down, but as a Real Estate Agent, you need to find more clients, and you need to do it on a budget. Here are a few simple tools to increase your business and make more money from Joe Metzler at Mortgages Unlimited, and the Mn Real Estate Daily Show.

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