Category: Mortgage + Real Estate Tips

How to Change the Mortgage Industry From the Inside

We constantly talk about regulations, compliance, and technology, among other things. But a mortgage is intended for a person whose sole function isn’t to spend days faxing documents.

Improving the user experience benefits everyone, from the borrower to the originator. One idea is to change the way that things are done behind the scenes, starting with the underwriting process. And that’s exactly what cloudvirga, Skyline’s sister company, has been doing.

Recently, National Mortgage News published an article about how cloudvirga and others are changing the process. Click here to view the article to see what’s being done and what the future will look like.

Equifax Hack and How to Protect Yourself

Internet connectivity has brought many benefits to modern society, but one of the drawbacks is that internet users and companies are vulnerable to information breaches.

Recently, credit bureau Equifax was hacked with 143 million people potentially affected by the data breach. Many details about the hack aren’t available, and though this news is unfortunate, there are things that can be done to safeguard your credit.

First thing’s first, check to see if you were affected by the hack. Click on the link below to get a step-by-step guide.

Whether you were affected or not, it’s a good idea to protect yourself. Many things can happen that may put you at risk.

Here are a few steps that you could take to keep your credit safe: 

  • Set up alerts with the three big credit reporting agencies to see if someone is using your credit. Same goes for credit and debit cards. You can even have push notifications set up.
  • Look into freezing your credit so that new companies that you don’t currently work with will not be able to access your credit.
  • Keep an eye on your credit history.
  • Consider a credit monitoring service. Right now, Equifax is offering a year of credit monitoring for free, but make sure you look into the fine print.


Source: New York Times, Sept 10, 2017

Saving for a Down Payment


If you’ve decided that it’s time to start thinking seriously about buying a home, congratulations! Owning property is a great achievement that can enrich your life.

But if you’re just beginning to save up for a down payment, it might seem daunting if you don’t have a plan.

So here are a few tips and tricks to save smarter:

  • Have a goal in mind. It’s a whole lot easier to save when you aren’t trying to save infinity dollars. Start by determining how much home you can afford.
  • Figure out how much you can save a month and make it automatic. The less you have to think about it, the less you’ll miss that money. 
  • Put that money into an account that you can’t easily withdraw from.
  • Look into investing your money in some kind of vehicle that has a larger return on investment than a regular savings account. But keep in mind that any investment has some element of risk. 
  • Remember that not all loans require 20% down. There are plenty of loans out there that need a smaller down payment.

If you’d like to learn more about the types of loans out there or about the home purchase process in general, give me a call or shoot me an email.


Source: CNN Money

Homes Values Up From 2016

Have you ever heard that a home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it? In today’s market, that’s good news for sellers.

CNBC recently reported that according to Zillow, a real estate listing company, the median value of all homes in the United States in June surpassed $200,000. That’s a seven-percent increase over just one year ago.

Determining the value of a home isn’t easy to do. There are many factors involved including location, condition, the lot size, design, etc.

The National Association of Realtors reported the median sale price of a U.S. home at well over $200,000 for more than a year, but that measure reflected only homes sold, not every house in every neighborhood that exists in America.

Why are sales prices up? The value of homes is increasing but that’s not the only reason why. Another reason is because of the shortage of low-priced homes. More people are now buying pricier homes because that’s what is available. That pushes the median price up.

The inventory of homes for sale was down more than 11 percent in June, year over year, according to Zillow, with steeper drops in big markets like San Francisco (minus 26 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (down 30 percent), Washington, D.C. (down 20 percent) and Seattle (minus 24 percent).

According to CNBC, the city of Dallas, which has good supply of homes for sale, is seeing home values more than 10 percent higher compared with a year ago because of an increasingly strong local economy and job market. In contrast, Baltimore, which saw a big drop in inventory (minus 21 percent) is only seeing values about 4 percent higher because of a weaker local economy.

I’ll continue to keep my eye on these trends. When you’re ready to get approved and get into this competitive market, I’d love to be the one to help you out!


4 Mortgage Myths That Could Cost You

Homeownership is a smart move when it comes to adding value to your hard-earned dollar. So don’t get caught believing these 4 myths when you purchase your first home. It will cost you.

Myth #1. Your credit score doesn’t really matter as long as you can get approved for a loan.

It’s true your credit score doesn’t have to be perfect. But did you know that the higher your score is, the better the rate you’ll get on your home loan? Don’t apply for a mortgage if you know your credit isn’t great. It will cost you in the long run. Instead, work on getting your credit back up. Get a free report and fix things that aren’t right. Pay your credit cards on time every month. Building your credit will help your financial future.

Myth #2. You’re golden if your mortgage payment equals 30% of your take-home pay.

While your actual mortgage payment might constitute the bulk of your monthly housing expense, that 30% figure is actually meant to all costs of homeownership, like your property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and even home improvements. Max out that 30% financial guide on your mortgage payment alone and you’ll leave yourself with dangerously little wiggle room in your monthly budget.

Myth #3. You need to put down 20%.

Most people can’t afford to put 20% down on a home purchase. And, that’s okay. There are many loan options now available to help you get into a home without having to save for the big chunk of down payment.

But don’t be fooled into thinking there won’t be additional charges if you put less than 20% down. Private mortgage insurance is a premium that’s added to your monthly mortgage payment when you don’t manage to put 20% down. PMI will typically equal 0.5% to 1% of your loan’s value, which means that if you’re looking at a $300,000 mortgage with 1% PMI, you’ll be charged an extra $250 a month.

Myth #4. A 30-year mortgage is the only option.

The 30-year fixed mortgage is the most common option for financing a home purchase. There are other options too. If you can afford a larger monthly payment, getting a 15-year loan instead of a 30-year loan could shave thousands of dollars off your total cost in the end. As an example, if you’re getting a $300,000 mortgage. A 15-year loan might come with a 4% APR based on your credit, while a 30-year loan might come with a 5% APR.[1] Your monthly payments under a 30-year loan will be smaller, but if you can handle the larger payments, you’ll save a whopping $180,000 over the life of your loan.

Buying your first home is a big decision with lots to consider. I hope you’ll give me a call when the time is right for you so we can get you on the road to homeownership!

Source: CNN

[1] Not based on actual rates or programs offered by Skyline Home Loans.

Building a Strong Financial Future Starts At Home

Did you know that most financial advisors consider real estate and other assets as one of the “four pillars” of proper planning for a strong financial future that you can leave as a legacy to others?

According to U.S. News & World Report, the four pillars of financial strength are:

  • Values and Life Lessons
  • Instructions and Wishes to Be Fulfilled
  • Personal Possessions of Emotional Value
  • Financial Assets and Real Estate

Want to learn more about reaching future goals? Read the full article here.

I hope that you’ll select me to be a part of your financial journey. Call me to discuss how home ownership fits into the big picture for you, too.

Don’t Make These House-Hunting Mistakes

Yes, there are loans and budgets and very black-and-white decisions to make when it comes to buying a house. But there’s also a lot of emotion involved. After all, it’s your future H-O-M-E we’re talking about.

Investopedia recently listed 8 common mistakes that people unfortunately make when purchasing a home. Check out the list below and avoid them all on your way to your new home, sweet home.

#1: Don’t Fall in Love With Something You Can’t Afford

Investopedia recommends setting a firm price range and then starting your search at the low end. You may be surprised to find a house that has everything you’re looking for at or near the low-end of your range.

#2: Don’t Fall Prey to the Idea That There’s Nothing Better Out There

Unless you are a super high-end buyer looking only at custom homes, chances are that for any home you find that you like, there are quite a few others that are nearly identical to it. Investopedia recommends that if you get along in the process and find there are snags with the home you’ve decided you like – such as major repair issues, an inflexible asking price or a difficult possession date – consider moving on. Be open and keep looking. You’ll find it.

#3: Don’t Get Desperate

If you have time on your side, it’s best to wait until something that suits you comes along – as long as your demands are realistic for your budget, you are bound to find something you can live with and love. Making rash decisions only adds frustration, and likely dollar signs, to the final outcome.

#4: Don’t Turn a Blind Eye

Carefully consider your options before you make a commitment and consider waiting until something better comes along. If there are major issues with a home, the issues may haunt you for a long time.

#5: Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

This may be my favorite one. Please don’t buy a fixer-upper that’s more than you can handle in terms of time, money or ability. Honestly evaluate your abilities, your budget and how soon you need to move before purchasing a property that isn’t move-in ready.

#6: Don’t Rush Through the Process and Skip Steps

In a hot market, don’t neglect important steps like making sure the neighborhood feels safe at night as well as during the day and investigating possible noise issues like a nearby train. Taking the time to consider the decision also gives you a chance to research how much the property is really worth and offer an appropriate price.

#7: But Don’t Wait Too Long, Either

It can be tough to make sure you make a careful decision, but not take too long to make it. Losing out on a property that you were almost ready to make an offer on because someone beat you to it can be heartbreaking.

#8: Don’t Offer More Than You Should

If there’s a lot of competition in your market, it’s easy to get sucked into a bidding war offer too high of a price in the first place. If the house doesn’t appraise at or above the amount of your offer, you might not get the loan unless the seller reduces the price or you pay cash for the difference. Second, when you go to sell the house, if market conditions are similar to or worse than they were when you purchased, you may find yourself upside down on the mortgage and unable to sell. Make sure the purchase price for the home you buy is reasonable for both the house and the location by examining comparable sales and getting your agent’s opinion before making an offer.

There’s a team of professionals out here waiting to help you with these important steps and help you keep emotions at bay when the time comes. Call me when you’re ready to get the process started!

Source: Investopedia

Big Boomers vs. Minimal Millennials

Even in a seller’s market, some baby boomers are having a hard time selling their big homes. The primary reason: millennials prefer more minimalistic living. recently reported that boomers who are trying to sell the big home they’ve had for years are out there house hunting for the same type of home new homebuyers in the millennial generation are looking at. Both prefer a smaller, more modern home with an open floor plan in more urban suburbs and cities.

Millennials in particular are searching for more walkable towns in the suburbs and those that have many urban amenities, such as bike lanes, nearby shops and restaurants, and social events. They are shying away from the traditional giant homes with big back yards. They desire less to maintain with more to do in the area.

As a result, some real estate experts think that baby boomers may end up getting stuck with their giant homes or at least have a harder time selling them now.

What type of home are you looking for? Call me when you’re ready to get pre-approved for your purchase – big or small!




* Pre-approval is only offered on home purchase loans where a sales contract is not yet signed.  It is not a rate lock, loan approval, or commitment to lend.  You must submit additional information for review and approval.