Are Credit Scores Used When Applying for a Loan?

A credit score is a number that lenders use to determine what the risk is if they decide to lend you money. It is how credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions assess whether you can or will be able to pay off your debts. Accordingly, the higher the score, the better the likelihood that you are able to pay off any loans you take out. There are three different credit bureaus that independently calculate your score including Equifax, Transunion and Experian. Although they use similar processes to determine your score, each bureau may have different information about your credit history. It’s a good idea to check each one to make sure all the information is correct. In the US, the credit scoring system you will hear about is the FICO score, which can be anywhere between 300 and 850. Generally, lenders refer to the range of scores as:

  • Poor credit:  a FICO score under 630
  • Average or fair credit:  a Fico score between 630 and 690
  • Good credit:  a Fico score between 690 and 720
  • Excellent credit:  a Fico score above 720

The components of your credit score has seven categories, including:

  • Payment History:  Your payment history is the largest single component of your FICO score. It is a track record of all the things you have done incorrectly when it comes to your credit and how you behave as it relates to your debts.
  • Late Payments:  Regardless of whether you forgot or were struggling to make ends meet, being late on a monthly payment for a credit card or loan will cause a negative adjustment on your credit score.
  • Debt Burden or Accounts Owed:  This includes how much you owe in total, the types of loans you have and other quantitative indicators about your overall debt and credit profile. It is considered in relation to your payment history and other factors.
  • Credit Utilization (Debt to Limit ratio):  This is a measure of the total amount of the debt on your credit cards against the total limit allowed on those accounts. A lower credit utilization means that your average balance is lower relative to the total amount you could have on your cards which is better for your score. Requesting a higher credit limit on existing credit cards may help your credit score since it will lower the overall ratio.
  • Length of Credit History:  The older your accounts and overall credit history, the larger the time frame a company can accurately judge your finances and behavior toward credit.
  • Types of Credit:  Your FICO score takes into account the different types of debt or credit used. You may have revolving credit like credit cards, mortgages, consumer finances or installment loans. A history of exposure to different types of credit indicates that a consumer is familiar with different financial products and can manage them effectively.
  • Recent Credit Searches:  Searches or hard inquiries made into your credit profile based on the number of times lenders have requested your data can drag your score down.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 


Getting a Loan to Flip a House

Turn on the TV and you might find several programs devoted to flipping houses. However, flipping houses in real life is not as easy as it looks on TV. Although it has become more popular in recent years and rising home prices make it more attractive to investors, flipping houses is not always profitable and can cost an investor a lot of money by the time the house actually sells. Flipping houses, also referred to as wholesale real estate investment strategy, is a real estate investment strategy where an investor purchases a property not to use, but to sell for a profit. Many house flippers will tell you that sometimes the hardest part is getting the money necessary to make capital improvements in the house and to be able to continue flipping with more houses. If you are intrigued by the idea of making money from flipping houses, there are choices for home buyers.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a good way to get started. If you have sufficient equity in your home, you may want to use it to buy another property to flip. Every lender has different rules regarding how much they will lend and the rates may be a bit higher than normal mortgage rates. It is important to remember that using your home as collateral is risky if something does not go right in the process.

You can also borrow money from a lender or bank for an investment property. You may have to put down 20 percent or even higher, but it will be the least expensive money you can borrow at around 4 percent. You may need a higher credit score and some money on hand to buy an investment property in this way. You can also go to a private lender for the money. The private lender can be a parent, wealthy relative, non-bank company or a person able to lend the money. The money is secured by a note and deed of trust for the purpose of funding a real estate transaction. This would cut out the need for appraisals and other costly add-ons that increase the cost of a normal home loan. You may find better interest rates and terms with a private lender, but keep in mind that involving friends and family in business pursuits does not always work out well. 

Before you commit to any lender, understand the flipping process. To do this successfully, find a mentor. Speak with people who have done it successfully, and unsuccessfully, so you understand all the ins and outs, the pitfalls and everything you must watch out for. Remember that you never really know what you’re going to find in the home you want to flip. The process can be long and difficult. Do your research and find out everything you need to know before embarking on this type of project. Skills, knowledge, patience, time and money will help you get through any real estate strategy you use to increase your income.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. If you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan or reverse mortgage, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 


Private Mortgage Insurance

Most lenders recommend that when buying a home, a 20 percent down payment is recommended. Down payments can be as low as 3 percent in some cases, but a low down payment will result in the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This type of insurance may be required to pay for if you get a conventional home loan.

Lenders require PMI as a part of a conventional loan to protect themselves in case your home is foreclosed upon. The insurance protects the lender for some of the shortfall if a home is foreclosed upon and sold for less than the outstanding part of the mortgage. It is usually required if you refinance a mortgage with less than 20 percent equity. PMI can help you qualify for a mortgage if you do not have enough cash for a 20 percent down payment. Although PMI can protect the lender, it is an added expense to the borrower. Once you reach 20 percent equity in your home through paying your loan balance down over time or through rising home values, you can contact your lender and ask them to remove the PMI from your mortgage. A few ways to avoid paying PMI are:

  • Put 20 percent down if it is at all possible. The higher the down payment, the better the terms of the mortgage repayment plan.
  • Loans that are backed by the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs or the US Dept. of Agriculture do not require PMI. FHA loans come with two types of PMI premiums that are paid in the beginning as well as annually.
  • Even if you must get PMI, you can always cancel it later. If you are already paying the premium, keep track of the loan balance and the home prices in your area. Once the balance reaches 80 percent of the home’s value, you can request that the lender drop the mortgage insurance premiums.

The average annual PMI premium ranges from .55 percent to 2.25 percent of the original loan amount per year. Your credit and loan-to-value ratio impacts the premium you will be charged. As an example, if the home price is $300,000 and PMI is 1 percent, you will pay $3,000 a year or an additional $250 monthly. PMI premiums can be paid monthly as an additional charge added onto your monthly mortgage payment. There may be an up-front payment as some lenders require PMI to be paid in full at closing. Other lenders require both. It is important to consider all your options before agreeing to a loan with PMI. Remember that if you increase your down payment to 20 percent, you can avoid PMI. You may have to spend more time saving for the down payment, but you will lower your monthly payments in the long run.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we understand that buying or refinancing a home is a huge decision for most people. Our knowledge and expertise in residential and commercial loans make it possible for us to provide the best products and services available. If you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that has all the answers to your questions and can give you the information you need to make the best decision. Call us at 845-883-8200.


Buying a Second Home

If you are lucky enough to be considering the purchase of a second home, there are a few ways to fund your new property. When making an important decision that will change your life, you must consider the benefits and costs. It should make financial sense to buy a second home. Although there are costs up front, a second home is a substantial addition to your real estate portfolio and retirement plan. It is vital to work with an experienced and knowledgeable lender, such as Superior MCI, to weigh all your options. You may not need to take out a loan on the second home if you take advantage of the following options to make a down payment or pay cash for a second home.

  • Many homeowners use a cash-out refinance on their primary home. Because home values are rising across the US, many homeowners have built up substantial equity in their primary or rental residence in the last few years. They can tap into this equity using a cash-out refinance. An example of this would be a homeowner who owes $100,000 on her mortgage. His home, however, is currently valued at $200,000 due to appreciation. The homeowner could take out some of the equity by refinancing into a bigger loan and getting the difference in cash. Consequently, the homeowner would be able to have access to a bigger down payment on the second home. Borrowers who have good credit can borrow up to 80 percent of their home’s current value with a conforming loan. FHA loans allow 85 percent cash-out refinancing and if the homeowner is a veteran, he could access 100 percent of their equity in a cash-out VA loan. With today’s low mortgage rates, cash-out refinancing may be a good way to take advantage of your home’s equity to get a second home. It’s important to be sure that you can afford a larger monthly payment on your primary home and to remember that there are additional financial obligations with a second home.
  • A home equity line of credit (HELOC) on your primary residence is a popular funding source for second home buyers. If you have sufficient equity in your home, you can take out a line of credit and buy the second home or use the funds as a down payment. In this case, you would not need to refinance your current mortgage. A HELOC could be the best way to go if you have recently refinanced and have a very low rate. Opening a line of credit does not affect your first mortgage. In some cases, you can tap into 100 percent of your home’s value. Generally, borrowers need good to excellent credit. If you are approved, you can use the cash for any reason. The interest rate is based on the prime rate, which is currently very low, making the rate lower than you would pay on a traditional mortgage. Without a new mortgage, you avoid closing costs.
  • You can also get a loan for a second home via conventional financing. Depending on your credit and other factors, current down payments can be as low as 10%.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200.


The Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage converts the equity in your home into cash. Depending upon your particular situation, you can receive a large sum all at once, establish a line of credit to draw on, or receive payments in monthly installments. Paying the loan back would proceed the same as with any other type of loan. If you choose to receive monthly installments, you are able to collect those for the remainder of your life as long as you continue to live in your home. However, there are pros and cons to getting a reverse mortgage. Some of the benefits of these types of loans are:

  • You can remain in your home.
  • You can pay off the existing mortgages on your home.
  • No monthly mortgage payments are necessary as long as your home is your primary residence, you pay the required property taxes and homeowner’s insurance and keep the home according to Federal Housing Administration requirements. If you fail to meet these requirements, you may trigger a loan default that could result in foreclosure.
  • You receive payments on flexible terms, including monthly payments, a lump sum distribution, a credit line for emergencies or any combination of these terms.
  • A reverse mortgage cannot go ‘upside down’ so your heirs will never be liable for more than the home is sold for.
  • Your heirs will inherit the house and keep the remaining equity after the balance of the reverse mortgage is paid off.
  • Loan proceeds are not taxed as income.
  • Your interest rate may be lower than traditional mortgages or home equity loans.

Some reverse mortgage cons include:

  • Fees on a reverse mortgage are the same as a traditional FHA mortgage but are higher than a conventional mortgage. The largest costs are the FHA mortgage insurance and the loan origination fee.
  • The balance of the loan gets larger over time and the value of the inheritance can decrease over time.
  • Reverse mortgages usually don’t affect your eligibility for Medicare, Social Security benefits and other entitlement programs. However, need-based government benefits such as Medicaid and SSI may be affected by a reverse mortgage loan.
  • The program is not easily understood by many individuals. This is where Superior Mortgage Company comes in. We will explain every aspect of your loan and will tell you everything you need to know.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. We will be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you may have. Whether you want to purchase, refinance or take advantage of a home equity loan, we can help. Contact us at 845-883-8200.


What is the Mortgage Underwriting Process?

Lenders will not approve a mortgage without first conducting their own due diligence. A mortgage underwriter reviews, confirms and analyzes every loan application to minimize risk to the lender. Some mortgage applications get approved almost immediately while others may face denials and suspensions that can prolong the approval process for weeks or even months.

Generally speaking, larger mortgage companies can accept a higher level of risk than smaller companies. The underwriting process begins as soon as a completed application is submitted to the lender. The underwriter will review the application for clerical errors, inconsistencies and risk factors. They will contact an applicant’s employer, confirm credit reports, research assets or liabilities, and make sure that the application falls under the company’s approval guidelines.

After completing the process, which usually takes a week, the underwriter will decide as to whether the application will be approved, suspended or denied. If the application is approved, the borrower is able to meet any additional conditions and move ahead with the closing process. There are eight common issues that may affect the underwriting process. These include:

  • Income Discrepancies: Borrowers may be tempted to pad their income information to secure an approval. Underwriters compare tax returns, W2s, bank statements and other documents to assess a borrower’s true income.
  • Tax Documents: Tax documents must back up other financial information for a loan to be approved.
  • Missing Information: Underwriters need a complete set of information before they can review the information. Missing signatures or documents will prolong the process.
  • Employment Issues: Employment stability is essential for the mortgage approval process. Underwriters want to see a long term commitment to make sure a borrower can repay a loan.
  • Credit Issues: A credit history of late payments, too many lines of credit and high balances will hurt your chances of getting a loan approved.
  • Funding Issues: Underwriters must see evidence that there are available funds for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves. They also need to know the source of the funds, how long the funds were available and where they originated.
  • Appraisals:  A low appraisal value can change the entire agreement so price reconciliation with buyers and sellers is fundamental.
  • Letters of Explanation: If there are outstanding or unusual circumstances, complex asset arrangements or other unexpected concerns, a letter of explanation can go a long way in helping underwriters understand a borrower’s personal situation.

If you understand the most common issues mortgage underwriters face, you can take steps to avoid any pitfalls. Superior Mortgage Co. is dedicated to consistently expanding our knowledge of the mortgage industry by keeping abreast of every change, revision or new regulatory provision because we know that an informed client is the best client. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 


Mortgage Mistakes to Avoid

For most of us, a home is the most expensive purchase we will ever make and consequently, the biggest debt we will ever carry. Therefore, it is imperative that you make the best decisions for you and your family before and during the loan process. Mistakes can cause you to pay more than is necessary, stop your loan from closing and potentially put you into foreclosure or bankruptcy. However, with a mortgage company like Superior MCI helping you make the right decisions, you can get a home loan with great interest rates, low fees and fixed monthly payments you can afford. Some of the most important questions to consider are:

  • Should I Get a Fixed Rate Loan?  The common wisdom is that unless you’re planning to move within five to seven years, a fixed rate loan is a better idea. An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) may give you a lower payment now, but will reset at some point to a higher rate. It may be difficult to refinance or afford new payments once the rates increase. The housing market may also make it difficult to sell. A mortgage amortization schedule will help you see the total amount of principal and interest you will pay over the life of the loan.
  • Should I Let the Bank Tell Me What I Can Afford?  Banks earn profits for their shareholders by maximizing their earnings. They are not concerned about whether you overextend yourself. Banks usually qualify you for a loan based on your pretax income (gross) income without accounting for all your monthly expenses.
  • Should I Check and Fix My Credit?   Checking your credit with the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, is free when using Mistakes are common and can lead to higher rates.
  • Is a Loan Final Before Closing?  The answer is an emphatic no. Accordingly, during this time, avoid quitting your job, don’t open new credit cards, don’t make other large purchases and don’t miss any deadlines for returning loan paperwork.
  • Should I Ignore the APR?  Some lenders may advertise lower interest rates but make up for them with higher fees. You should compare annual percentage rates between mortgage offers to determine which one really costs the least. APR includes the lender’s fees and shows the loan’s true cost.
  • Should I Carry Two Mortgages?  If you are moving from one house to another, you may be tempted to buy the new one before selling your current home. However, an unsold home with a mortgage may mean carrying two loans because it is generally easier to buy a new home than sell your current home.
  • How Much Money Should I Put Down?  If you put little to nothing down, such as 3.5% with an FHA loan or 5% with a conventional loan, you may require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which is usually $20 to $50 per month per $100,000 borrowed.
  • Should I Get Pre-Approved for the Loan?  Talk to at least three lenders to get pre-approved. It does not cost anything and allows you to make a competitive bid.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., our expertise in residential and commercial loans allows us to provide the best products and services available. If you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, regardless of any credit problems, we can help. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200.


Using a Cash-Out Refinance to Buy a Home

Millions of American homeowners are thinking about refinancing their home in today’s market because real estate equity has greatly increased in recent years. Homeowner equity went from $6 trillion in 2009 to $15 trillion in 2018. This equity can be converted into financing for school, business or the purchase of a second home or investment property. The ability to do so depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount of your home equity
  • Your credit rating

If you want to buy and then sell or refinance another home, a bridge loan may be best. You can also choose a HELOC or home equity line of credit. Determining how much equity you have seems simple if you subtract what you originally paid for the home and what it is worth now. However, many lenders allow cash-out refinancing equal to 80% of your equity. If the property value is $275,000, they will subtract 20%, leaving approximately $220,000. The money will go toward repaying the existing loan of $85,000, for example, and the balance of $135,000 is available for the borrower. A VA cash-out mortgage allows borrowers to refinance up to 100% of their equity. All programs come with various charges and insurance costs so speaking with a mortgage professional, like the ones at Superior MCI, can help you to avoid some of these extra charges.

With cash-out refinancing or a HELOC, you generally cannot use the funds to buy another home you want to move into quickly because cash-out refinancing and HELOCs usually have a clause that says you expect to remain in your home at least one year. If this rule is violated, the lender may call in the loan and demand immediate repayment. HELOCs have other drawbacks such as an interest rate that is likely to be adjustable and not fixed. The interest rate is usually higher than a first mortgage, depending upon your credit, the amount borrowed, location and equity. You must also review the HELOC balances to avoid heavy monthly costs. HELOC’S have two phases:

  • Drawing Phase:  You can draw money out, put money back in and make interest payments on the balance.
  • Repayment Period:  You cannot draw money out. You must repay the balance over the remaining term of the loan, possibly incurring large monthly repayment costs.

A “bridge” loan is designed to help you move from one residence to another. It is intended to be short-term financing that may be for just a few months and there are no monthly payments. In a bridge loan, the interest rate may be high and there may be a lot of up-front fees. However, if you want to purchase a replacement home, after selling your current residence, the bridge loan is paid off at closing.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200. 


When to Consider Refinancing Your Home

A home refinance could be a very smart move or a very big mistake. Refinancing may keep more money in your account and less in the bank’s. Refinancing could bail you out of an emergency or let you retire earlier. But it only works when you take out the right loan for the right reasons. The right reasons for refinancing include:

  • Better interest rates are currently available.
  • You can pay off your mortgage faster.
  • Your ARM rate could go higher unless you lock in a fixed rate.
  • Getting a government loan could make your property easier to sell in a few years.
  • You can increase the home’s value by making home improvements.
  • You can keep the interest rate low.

Wanting to refinance to save money is an easy decision. However, refinancing because you want a new car, you’re going to Las Vegas and need cash, your son wants another postgraduate degree, etc. are not good reasons for refinancing. Most financial experts will agree that long-term loans, such as mortgages, should not be used for short-term pleasures.

First determine how long you plan to keep your house and if you’re able to save money during this time. Ask the lender about no-cost refinancing. This type of refinancing offers a higher interest rate in return for the lender covering the financing costs. If you are planning to sell your house in a few years, you might consider a 3/1 ARM. You could trade your 30-year fixed rate at 4.0 %, for example, for a 3/1 ARM at 2.5 %. A mortgage calculator can help you when thinking about a mortgage refinance. You can also contact Superior MCI to get the best offer to save you the most money. If you have been paying your home mortgage for many years, you can shorten the payoff period and possibly get a lower interest rate. For example, if you had a $300,000 mortgage at 4.5 % for the last eight years, your balance may be about $254,451, making your principal and interest payment about $1,520.  If you refinance your loan to a 15-year mortgage and your rate lowers to 3.25 %, your payment may increase to $1,788 but your mortgage will be repaid eight years sooner. That is about $145,000 in payments you won’t have to make.

As long as you understand the true cost of refinancing, make an informed decision, and create a budget and plan for repayment, you can refinance your home to pay off a higher interest debt, finish college or take care of a family emergency. Sometimes in life, you need financial breathing room. Superior Mortgage can help you with the math and make sure that you are making the best decision for you and your family.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions and give you the information you need to make the best decision. Call us at 845-883-8200. 


Residential vs. Commercial Real Estate Loans

If you are a property owner that is thinking about purchasing an apartment building, you are not alone. The US has generally shifted from homeownership to ‘rentership’ so the interest in multifamily investment has increased.

Commercial real estate generates income. Residential real estate is an owned residence. However, some rental properties that produce income are financed by a residential loan. To explain, rental properties with five units and up are financed by commercial loans. Real estate brokers refer to these properties as multifamilies. Rentals with five units and under can be financed through a residential loan. However, some brokers refer to a two-family property as a multifamily which can sometimes lead to confusion. The difference is how a loan is sized during the underwriting process.

Commercial loans are sized and underwritten based on an asset’s projected net operating income (NOI). Residential loans are underwritten based on the credit worthiness and income history of the person purchasing the property. Therefore, in commercial loans, eligibility has much to do with property performance, and lenders are looking for borrowers who can answer yes to:

  • Has the asset been at least 90% occupied for the past 90 days?
  • Does the borrower have a net worth equal to or greater than the loan request?
  • Does the borrower have a minimum of nine months of principal and interest in cash on hand?
  • Does the borrower have a history of bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed in lieu or are they currently involved in a lawsuit?

None of these questions ask about a borrower’s employment history or for pay stubs. Commercial borrowers are expected to have good credit and significant net worth.

There are prepayment differences between commercial and residential loans. Commercial or multifamily borrowers should consider prepayment penalties, which are fees incurred from paying off your mortgage before it reaches maturation. Prepayment fees are not common for a home mortgage. If you take out a loan for your primary residence and suddenly come into a large inheritance, you will be able to pay off the balance of the loan without incurring any fees. If the lender issues a loan collateralized by a multifamily or commercial asset, they expect a set amount of interest revenue. If you pay off the mortgage early, the lender will need to get the interest revenue through a fee to satisfy their investors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac commercial loans are secured to retail and institutional investors relying on the interest income set forth in the loan. To recoup lost revenue due to an early pay-off, the loan terms frequently include a declining prepayment penalty or yield maintenance fee structure.

At Superior Mortgage Co., Inc., we specialize in residential and commercial loans and provide the best products and services available. Whether you are purchasing, refinancing or in need of a home equity loan, and regardless of any credit problems, we can help you. Contact the company that can answer all your questions. Call us at 845-883-8200.