Why smart mortgage shoppers don’t get burned, and other do.

Minneapolis, MN: I get it. You are buying a new home, or refinancing your existing home mortgage, and are looking for the best mortgage interest rate. But buyer beware, the internet is full of places to avoid.  So here I’ll give a little primer on the process, along with some common lender games, and show you why smart mortgage shoppers don’t get burned, and other do.

BASICS OF MORTGAGE LOANS

The most important shopping tool is to understand how the mortgages work, from mortgage interest rates to closing costs.

UNDERWRITING GUIDELINES

First, we all underwrite to the same guidelines. FHA loans are FHA loans, VA loans are VA loans, and conforming conventional fixed rate loans are conforming fixed rate loans regardless of where you get the loan. So one lender over the next is meaningless in terms of the vast majority of loan approvals.  Conforming conventional loan means the loan is underwritten to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines. Conventional loan just means it is not a government backed loan.

So technically all lenders are equal – but they are not. There is something known as individual lender overlays. This is where some lenders add they own additional rules to the standard guidelines. The most common overlay is a credit score overlay. For example, FHA rules say lenders can offer the small 3.50% down payment of an FHA loan all the way down to a 580 credit score, but because of risk, many lenders will not go below a 620 credit score. So if you are a weak 585 credit score FHA loan client, one lender over another may make a difference.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

Lenders don’t just make up interest rates. Calling around to a lot is just a waste of time, when shopping just a few is all that is needed to give you an idea of where the real rate market is currently at.

low mortgage interest rates

Mortgage interest rates are determined by one item, the mortgage backed security market. All lenders base daily rates off the exact same MBS bond market on the same day at the same time. If my rates go up, so does everyone else. If my rates go down, so does everyone else.  There are many factors that go into determining how the mortgage backed securities move everyday. I’ll save that for a different article.

Just understand that essentially this means we all pay the same wholesale rate for the money, and the only real difference is the margins needed by different lenders.

LENDER MARGINS

So if all lenders start at the same point, its all about the margins.  As one can expect, this means the most lean and mean company needs smaller margins, and therefore passes along the best real interest rates to consumers and still maintain a sustainable profit margin.

Fat companies, with too many layers of management, too much brick and mortar buildings to pay for, expensive all day everyday advertising, and even stadium naming rights all have to be paid for. The only way they can do that is to have higher margins, and those higher margins translate into higher mortgage interest rates for consumers.

LOAN CLOSING COSTS

This is another area of huge consumer confusion. ALL LENDERS essentially have the exact same closing costs!  How mortgage lenders, banks, and mortgage brokers present that to you can vary greatly, leading to consumer confusion.Real estate

First part of understanding closing costs is understanding the biggest percentage of closing costs are not even the lender, but rather all the other parties involved.  Appraiser, credit bureau, title companies, state taxes, county recording fees, pro-rated property taxes, home owners insurance, and more.

The actual lenders have costs too, which generally are loan origination, processing, and underwriting costs.

HIDING COSTS

If you’ve done any mortgage shopping whatsoever, you’ve gotten plenty of different interest rate and closing costs quotes. When one lender has significantly high or lower rates, or higher or lower closing costs – it generally is just about presentation.

The lower the interest rate, the higher the closing cost. The lower the closing cost, the higher the interest rate.

A common difference is many lenders will quote a rate based on you paying all normal closing costs, plus the industry standard 1% loan origination fee. Many other lenders quote without charging a loan origination fee, giving the appearance of lower closing costs. Some going as far as making silly claims, like they don’t charge that, or they will waive it “just for you.”

But deep think about that. Loan origination goes to the lender to cover the cost of originating the loan, from Loan Officers, and a significant amount of back office staff, to rent, phones, and more.  So you think they are working for free?  Of course not.

Here is how it actually works.

On most days, paying or not paying loan origination up-front equates into a 1/4% rate difference on a conforming fixed rate loan. This can vary depending on the market, but holds true most days.

Assume this two different quote example:

Lender A) A quote of a 5% interest rate on a $200,000 loan, with 1% loan origination ($2,000).

Lender B) A quote of a 5.25% interest rate on a $200,000 loan, with no origination (appears to be a $2,000 savings, but rate is higher).

Neither one of those quotes are automatically good or bad. They are just options.

If you have the up-front money today, and you are going to be in the home a long time, paying loan origination and obtaining a lower interest rate is smart. On the other hand, if you are tight on cash today, opting for lower out-of-pocket costs today by taking the slightly higher interest rate may be a good option.

I always explain these rate and cost options to my clients, but I know many mortgage companies, mortgage brokers, and banks don’t. It’s your loan, your money, your payments… You pick what is best for you – but you have to know there are options.

MORTGAGE SHOPPING TIPS TO AVOID BEING FOOLED

The first tip is education.  Reading this article has already made you smarter than most when shopping for a mortgage loan.

The rest of the tips include only using someone local. There is nothing on the internet you can’t get from the person down the street.

Avoid big banks and big internet companies with lots of overhead.

Statistically, using your local mortgage broker will always get you the best deals.

SCAM QUOTE EXAMPLES

While it is better today that it was years 15-years ago, the market is still ripe with slight of hand quoting.  I’ll give two recent example I’ve run across.

Example 1) Client was shopping standard 30-year fixed rates. Client was quoted an interest rate a full 1/2% lower than my fixed rate quote, along with no loan origination costs. Knowing that was completely impossible, but digging deeper, we discovered the other lender was actually offering a 5-year adjustable loan, but he kept saying “it’s a 30-year loan.”  Clients mind kept hearing 30-yr fixed, when it clearly wasn’t!

Example 2) A well know big internet lenders who is pretty Quick, and has Rockets. Client was looking on their web site at posted interest rates, which looked competitive to mine. Being down this road many times before, I had the client go back to their web site, but this time scroll down to the rate disclaimers. Here I showed him that while they showed the same physical interest rate, it clearly showed that to get that rate from them assumed a 75% loan-to-value loan (25% down), and would cost an additional 2.125% in points.  Each point is 1% of the loan amount.  So with the “same” mortgage interest rate, their closing costs were 2.125% HIGHER than mine.

DON’T GET BURNED BY THE SMALL PRINT!

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We lend in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota – and we’d love to be your lender.  Call (651) 552-3681, or just apply online at https://joemetzler.com/application.  NMLS274132. Not an offer to enter into an interest rate lock agreement.  Not everyone will qualify. Equal Housing Lender.


Is a Bank Better than other Mortgage Companies?

Is a Bank Better than other Mortgage Companies?

Need a Mortgage Loan?  Where do you get the best deals? Banks?  Brokers?  Direct lenders?

Minneapolis, MN:  Getting a mortgage loan feels complicated and overwhelming for many people, as they worry about getting the best mortgage deal.

ScreenShot12345Generally speaking, there are three ways to get a mortgage loan:  From a Bank or Credit Union, a Mortgage Broker, or a non-bank direct lender (also known as a correspondent lender). All three will get you a mortgage loan, but which one gives you the best deal?

Almost without fail, your best bet is with mortgage brokers and non-bank direct lenders, and your most expensive is with banks.

Why are banks usually more expensive?

It is actually really simple. All lenders get their money from the same bond market on the same day at the same time.  All lenders closing costs are virtually the same.  All lenders have the exact same base fees, and third party expenses to pass along (appraisal, credit report, state deed taxes, title company expenses, origination, processing, etc).

So if all lenders get their money from the same source, have the same basic costs, and underwrite to the same guidelines, why are they more expensive? Profit margin. Profit margin is where it is really at when comparing lenders. The bigger they are, the more they advertise, the faster you should run away. This also included big internet lenders – like the so called “Quick” one.

You see, if my wholesale cost of the loan is the same as everyone else, but I don’t have all the overhead of bank branches on every corner, and I don’t have the overhead of all the advertising they do – I can offer better deals.  It is no more complicated than that.

The other big items is that there are shopping advantages as well to not use a bank. When a customer uses a bank, they only get the bank’s loan products, that one banks rates, and generally a Loan Officer who is more than likely an unlicensed application clerk versus a fully licensed professional Loan Officer.  Non bank lenders generally have multiple wholesale lender contacts so they can shop between them for a better rates, and more product choices.

Why Brokers and direct lenders are better 

The whole concept of mortgage brokers is they are usually smaller, they can do it faster, and with less overhead.  They get a wholesale price for the money from the big banks for delivering a loan to them dramatically cheaper than the bank can do it for themselves, and that better deal is pass on to YOU!

Correspondent direct lenders are even better, as they are sort of really like a broker on steroids. These companies, unlike brokers, actually shop various lenders nationwide for final placement of your loan, but underwrite and close the loans themselves before sending it to the big banks after closing.  Because correspondent lenders do even more of the process than brokers, , many of their relationships often produce significantly better deals for the consumer.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there is no one source that is always the best or cheapest for every situation. If one lender was always the cheapest, eventually, everyone would know about it, right?  The only other way most lenders can compete with one another is to somehow convince the public that they have some “secret way” of providing lower than market rates.  The market is the market and you pay for it one way or another.

Only work with a professional mortgage company where the loan officers are skilled at the mathematics and can explain it in plain English.  Don’t feel pressured, and stop looking at just rate, or just cost!  Don’t gamble with something as important as your mortgage.  LET US “DO THE MATH” by giving you our Total Cost Analysis report. 

Let us show you how you can free up a LOT of money for investments… We provide visual calculations that show how “paying off” the home, versus “financing” the home isn’t always a great idea.


Brokers accused again of being bad players

keysThe SEC has accused mortgage brokers of originating the majority of the bad loans that went into an $855m mortgage-backed security deal that has landed a lawsuit at Bank of America’s door.

Hmmm…  Interesting view from the SEC,  because mortgage brokers DON’T:

  • Come up with loan programs or guidelines
  • Underwrite loans, or Quality Control loans
  • Fund or Close loans

Mortgage brokers take applications, collect documentation, go over loan options, select the appropriate lender, then send everything to the actual lender for underwriting and approval.  Mortgage brokers do not make any underwriting decisions.

While brokers have become the scapegoat for many of the problems, the reality is that loose loan guidelines, very poor underwriting, and a desire to push everything through the system was the real culprit.

Click here to READ THE FULL STORY

 


First time home buyer tip

Minneapolis, MN:  As we start to enter the spring home buying season here in Minnesota, I have one big tip for first time home buyers.

welcome2_FTHB_1Buying now makes sense. If you have OK credit, a little bit of money for down payment, and you’ve been successfully renting for a year or two, you are ready to buy now. With the combination of affordable housing prices and low mortgage rates, there has never been a better time to become a home owner.

First Time Home Buyer Tip: Talk to a Loan Officer FIRST.

Most people do it wrong. They start looking at homes on the internet. Then they contact a Real Estate Agent and start looking at homes. Seems logical, but wouldn’t it make more sense to know if you can even get a loan, how much you can afford, what down payment is required, and what purchase prices you can qualify for first?

With that knowledge in hand, now you can start looking for homes you know you can afford, and what the payments, and loan programs would look like for you.

I feel bad when people have already found a dream home, only to be told for various reasons they cannot buy it. Don’t let this happen to you.  Get pre-approved with a local mortgage broker BEFORE talking to a Realtor.

Not only does it make sense, but your Real Estate Agent will appreciate that fact you are pre-approved so they can immediately focus on providing the best service to you without slowing things down while you get approved. Or, worse yet, having to completely refocus the search because of newly discovered information from a mortgage lender.


All mortgage brokers are gone, so the housing industry is fixed? WRONG

The real estate industry is a mess… But who is to blame, and who is fixing it?

IN the panic and adolescent reaction to the sub prime mortgage meltdown, Congress led by two totally unknowledgeable politicians, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, ran amok in Washington with a 2800 page bill to reform the world; we only hope more intelligent heads will begin to prevail and correct the mess those two have made. Part of that mess was a pathetic, thinly hidden attempt to get rid of mortgage brokers. Seems to have worked… Last I saw, mortgage brokers now only account for about 6% of the mortgage loan business, where in 2006 – it was something like 60%.

Has it works? Watch another great video by Frank and Brian of TBWS


Federal Reserve Bank Conspiracy Explained

The Federal Reserve has been busted in a major scandal.

St Paul, MN: On April 1, 2011 – sweeping new mortgage broker and mortgage lender changes go into effect which will stifle competition, reduce loan options, extend the housing market recover time, and increase interest rates and closing costs to home owners everywhere.

The rules made no sense to anyone, yet the Federal Reserve marches on with a cocky attitude, completely unwilling to listen to trade groups and those in the mortgage business explaining how damaging these new rules will be.

NOW WE KNOW WHY! People who previously did studies which produced positive outlooks towards brokers and small lenders NOW WORK FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD and magically have a different attitude AND have have their voices silenced – WOW!

Another great video from Frank and Brian over at www.tbwsdailyshow.com

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