Archive for September, 2010


Average Closing Costs for a Home Mortgage

What are some average closing costs for your home mortgage?

If you are in the market for a new mortgage there are some average closing costs that you should be aware of.

Keep in mind these are averages, but it will give you a good base so you know you are not being ripped off by the man.

  • Origination and Points: Average about 1% – 3%.
  • 3rd Party Fees: Total can be about $1,800 up to $3,500.  This is a wide range, so be sure to compare 3rd party fees from loan officer to loan officer. 3rd Party fees include: (some fees only apply to purchases and some only to refinancing.  These are the normal fees you may see on your Good Faith Estimate (GFE), but this list is not complete. Be sure to review the fees on your loan carefully.)
    • Appraisal – $400
    • Loan application fees – $300
    • Credit Report – $25
    • Inspections – $150 – $300
    • Recording fees – $45 – $90
    • Escrow Fees – $400 – $3,000
    • Fees Will Be Updated As Needed.

Remember there are certain fees that are negotiable like the origination and points.  Typically Loan Officers will transfer points on the front to points on the back.  Points on the back of the loan are called YSP (yield spread premium).  What is YSP?

Educating yourself before choosing a mortgage can save you big money once you are ready to sign the papers.


Will Mortgage Rates Go Back Up in 2011?

As you well know mortgage rates have been extremely low for quite some time now.

Our nation has not seen mortgage rates hit these lows for decades.  And even when we think they could not get any lower mortgage rates continue to hit record lows.

This has caused as many people that can do so to refinance their home in order to save money.  The problem therein lies in the fact that these rates are a product of the week economy, an economy which was set into a landslide when the housing bubble burst into pieces within the last 2 years.


Unfortunately many people that really need to refinance their homes cannot because they do not have enough equity to meet the LTV (loan to value) requirements for a mortgage. (Learn More About Mortgages Here)

Quite a pickle… right?  Right.

On the other side of the mortgage coin people that are looking to purchase a home are in a screaming good position.  Housing prices are low, mortgage rates are through the floor and there plenty of houses on the market.

In these economically difficult times low mortgage rates have been a life line for many home buyers and home owners.

But are the low mortgage rates going to end?

That is an excellent question.  Is it going to be by the end of 2010?  Will mortgage rates stay low in 2011?

Here are 2 Large Factors to watch for to help determine if and/or when mortgage rates may head back up the mountain.

The Mid Term Elections:

Typically big election years can affect mortgage rates.  Well, maybe not directly but elections definitely effect consumer confidence, which effects the economy which will eventually trickle down to mortgage rates.   Rates do not tend to change much before the election, but we could see some changes or movement in mortgage rates if there is a switch in power.  A big change in Washington tends to either build consumer confidence or shake consumer confidence.  Both of which will have an effect on the economy and ultimately on Mortgage Rates.

How does the Economy Affect Rates?

Short term loans like credit cards and auto loans are directly affected by the Feds lower or raising of the prime interest rate. The Federal Reserve will move short term rates up or down in an effort to maintain the stability of the nation’s financial system. Economic ups and downs often spur the Feds to take action considering the financial system and mortgage rates.  These changes only directly affect short term loans, but indirectly effect long term loans like mortgages.  The Prime rate is an indicator of the strength of the economy.  Although not always the case, mortgage rates do often follow the prime rate either up or down.

Therefore if there is an economic up term in 2011 we may see the prime rate increase, which will be a sign of a bettering economy and mortgage rates may be soon to follow.

Then again we may not see a strengthening economy for some time, so these rates may be a little while longer.


Great Rewards Checking Account at Texas First Bank

Texas First Bank logoTexas First Bank is offering an awesome High Yielding Checking Account to its local customers.

If you live in SE Texas this may be an offer you want to take a look at.

You will earn an unprecedented 3.25% APY on your Checking account.  This would be a very high yield on a savings account let alone a checking account.

Not only will you earn high interest on the balance of the account, but the checking account itself is free.  Plus you will be eligible for ATM fee refunds from ATM’s all over the nation.

Check our the other Rewards Checking Account Offers.

Of course there is some other details and fine print so here you go:

  • 3.25% APY on balances up to $10,000
  • 1.01% APY on portion of balances over $10,000
  • 0.05% APY if monthly qualifications are not met (qualifications below)
  • Nationwide ATM fee refunds (up to $45 per month)
  • No minimum balance
  • No monthly service fee
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Free check card
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free telephone banking
  • Free mobile banking
  • Free eStatements
  • $50 deposit to open

And here is what it takes to remain qualified to receive the 3.25% APY:

  • Make 10 check card purchases each statement cycle
  • Receive monthly eStatements
  • Set up 1 recurring direct deposit or ACH auto debit

These three things are pretty simple to accomplish withing a given monthly cycle.  If you do not qualify for a particular month you will receive the standard .05% APY for that month, but this is not permanent.  Once you meet all the qualifications for any month after you will receive the 3.25%* and ATM refunds for that month.  (*For balances up to $10,000, and 1.01% on the remaining balance.)

Texas First Bank is FDIC insured and services customers in SE Texas. For more info and to read all the fine print visit here.

You can also find our great list of checking account specials.


Nova Bank CD Rates, Savings and Bank Info

Nova Bank Nova Bank is a financial institution based our of Pennsylvania. NOVA Bank has operated as a community banking institution for more than 120 years and provides a wide-range of financial products and services to the greater Philadelphia region.

Nova CD Rates:

  • 6 Months – 0.50% APY
  • 12 Months - 1.10% APY
  • 2 Years – 1.65% APY
  • 3 Years – 2.15% APY
  • 5 Years – 2.65% APY

Where does Nova Bank CD Rates compare to other banks?

Nova Bank comes in pretty close to the highs of certificate of deposits.  Right now we have seen the 12 month CDs pushing 1.4%, but there are not to many banks offering the 3 year cd rates around 2.15%.  Nova bank is very competitive with their CD Rates.

Checkout all the CD Rates here.

Nova Savings Account Rates and terms:

  • .25% APY
  • $250 min. daily collected balance
  • Free ATM card
  • Min. Balance of $250 or $5 monthly fee if below balance
  • Interest compounded daily on daily collected balances and paid monthly
  • Limited pre-authorized transactions per statement cycle

If you want to check out more details on Nova Bank or see the fine print click here.

Please take note of the date of this article to help determine its accuracy.


Get the Most Out of Your Home Improvement

Home TheaterThinking about putting in that pool? Or how about a pond with a waterfall?  Or how about adding a brand new home theater equipped with leveled seating and sofas? Think these things will help you resale your house or earn their money back?

Unfortunately they don’t.

Most homeowners believe that any addition or modification or major feature is going to help improve their ability to sell their house, or at least make the money back that they put in to it.

This is not the case with all remodels and additions.  If you are planning on selling your home in the future do not go over and beyond what is necessary to help resell your home.  Otherwise you are just wasting money on someone else’s place.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your remodels, additions and upgrades.

  • Bedrooms – If you notice you will see the number of bedrooms listed on every single real estate flier, usually as one of the first bullet points.  This is because homes with more bedrooms have a higher perceived value.  Remember a bedroom needs a window and closet to “officially” be considered a bedroom, but that is for legal and official reasons.  Homeowners make not care if there is a closet.
  • Bathrooms – Bathrooms are important especially if you have the ability to ad a full or even a half bath.  Do not overdo it though.  You do not need to spend a boat load of money making your bathrooms nice for future buyers.
  • Inexpensive Exterior Jobs - Jobs like painting, fixing siding, gutters, exterior doors, re staining the deck and minor landscaping jobs are all hugely important.  All of these minor upgrades can be inexpensive but are hugely important because the exterior is the “first impression” of the house.  When a prospective buyer pulls in the drive way they are already starting to make judgments and form opinions.  You want those first opinions to be good.

Here is a quick personal tip for you. – Even if you do not plan on selling the home for a few years do some of the improvements now so you can enjoy them before you have to sell.

A few remodels that do not return their money like you think they might.

  • Cabinets – Unless they are in real bad shape new cabinets usually do not get a full return on their money.
  • Counter tops – Upgrading those counter tops to granite is going to cost you a pretty penny, but not affect the ability to sell your home enough to make it worth the investment.
  • Entertainment Centers and Home Theaters – Although these are fun additions they are far to high a price tag to pay to recoup the value.  And besides most families would rather have anther bedroom than an extra room dedicated to a TV.  We have the living room for that, right?


Do Not Listen to Mortgage Company Referrals.

Mortgage ConfusionIf you are in the market for a mortgage, whether it is for a refinance or a purchase, chances are you start looking for a mortgage company by asking your friends.

Many of your friends will tell you to avoid certain companies and others will tell you their experience with a certain company was great.

I’m telling you right now… Ignore all Referrals to “Companies”.

I worked in 3 different mortgage offices and let me tell you… there were people I worked with that I wouldn’t even trust to buy me milk and eggs at the store let alone handle my personal finances.

Loan officers see pretty much every aspect of your financial situation.  They know…

  • How bad your credit is (or good).
  • How much debt you have.
  • If you have collections.
  • Any Foreclosures or Bankruptcies.
  • How much money you make.
  • Where you work.
  • Where you live.
  • How many kids you have.
  • You middle name.
  • Your moms middle name.
  • You cats middle name.
  • ETC ETC.

The point is that you need to be able to trust this person that handles so much of your personal information.

Secondly you should not have a friend or family member do your loan if you do not want them to see all this information.

So there is a fine balance.

The reason why you should ignore referrals to companies is because you want to find out which INDIVIDUAL loan officer within that company is trustworthy and competent.

If you just call up the company they will assign you to which ever loan officer is on the list… this is too risky.

If your friend tells you “I used ABC Mortgage and they did a great job.”  That reflects mostly on the individual who completed the loan for them.  Ask them for a name and a direct phone number.  If they do not have a name ask them to check their paperwork and the loan officers name will be on the paperwork.  It has to be… they sign it.

Referrals should be based on people, not companies.

Remember to checkout our Mortgage Help Tips.

*If you live in Washington State and need a quality loan officer you can check out Clark Davis.  I just sent my own parents to Clark, that is how much I trust him.


Top CD Rates For September 27 2010

As the summer winds down for most of the United States, banks have stopped adjusting their CD rates. Nothing has really happened over the past few days in terms of who holds the top CD rates in the nation.

Here is our list of the top certificates of deposit for September 27, 2010

*TermBankSeptember 27thLast Week
3 Month CDGoldwater Bank0.85%0.85% APY
6 Month CDAurora Bank1.17% APY1.17% APY
12 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.51% APY1.51% APY
24 Month CDDiscover Bank1.80% APY1.80% APY
36 Month CDDanversbank2.50% APY2.50% APY
60 Month CDMelrose Credit Union3.03% APY3.03% APY

These rates are available to all residents in the 50 United States and can take applications online. Be sure to check out the latest CD rates from our CD rate board.


The Coffee Addicts Way Of Saving Money

For some people waking up in the morning entails a cup of coffee, sometimes two cups of coffee. Starbucks drinks are not cheap but they are easy to get and with so many choices and flavors they can be addicting. Starbucks coffee is the fast food of waking up. Its fast, easy and convenient, but still not all coffee addicts realize how much money they could be saving just by following a few steps.

Starbucks makes it easier than ever to register their cards. Having a registered Starbucks card allows you to start earning rewards. Did you know that? It seems to me that many people I’ve talked to don’t even realize that by having a registered card they save money from syrups to free drinks. How much is your Quad Venti Vanilla White Chocolate Mocha? In the great state where Starbucks was founded (Washington, more specifically Seattle), a drink like that can run you past $6! By using a registered card you will save on the syrup, such as Vanilla which is an extra $0.40. Every time you buy 15 drinks you get one free.

Let’s do the math to see how much a true coffee addict could save if they bought one Starbucks drink each day for a month. (30 days).

  • We save $0.40 per drink for the syrup.
  • After 15 drinks we get a free drink

$0.40 x 30 drinks = $12 + 2 free drinks of $6/each, equals a total savings of $24/month.

Other perks to having a registered Starbucks card:

  • Free drink on your birthday.
  • Free refill on brewed coffee or tea.
  • Free drink with whole bean purchase.

If you drink coffee regularly and do not have a registered Starbucks card, then it would be beneficial to register one as soon as possible.

How Do You Register A Card?

Go buy a Starbucks card, create an account on Starbucks.com and add the card number to your account. It’s that easy and the rewards and savings start right away. Plus as soon as you buy 5 drinks, you will receive the Starbucks Gold Card that you can use to pay for your purchases


Long Term Rate Locks? & Sept 24th Mortgage Update

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey is showing average mortgage rates are unchanged from last week.

This weeks rates are…

  • 30-Yr Fixed – 4.37 %
  • 15-Yr Fixed – 3.82 %
  • 5/1-Yr ARM – 3.54 %

There was one slight decrease for the 5/1 ARM.  Last week it sat at 3.55%

Old Article? See todays Mortgage Rates.

If you are still on the fence about locking today or waiting just a little longer consider this.

Mortgage Rates have not been this low for over 50 years.  Plus mortgage rates are subject to change any minute.  They could shoot drastically up at any point leaving you in the dust.

If I was in a place to refinance or if I was purchasing a home I’d definitely be calling my broker and locking today.

Is it worth Locking Long Term for Purchases?

Rates are so low right now many people are locking in rates for 90, 120 and even 150 days in the event they find their home in the next few months.  Depending on how seriously you are currently looking for a house this may be an option suitable for you.

Be careful to not lock too far out because the length of your lock will affect your rate.  The longer the lock period the higher the rate will be.

The benefit of doing this is because of the volatility of the market right now.  Yes, we could see rates drop more, but it is just as likely, if not more likely, to see them increase over the next few months.

Locking in your rate now would insure you get that rate for the term you indicate in your loan.

Call your Loan Officer today to get some of the options for long term locking.  And checkout our mortgage help article if you are thinking about purchasing or refinancing.


Federation Bank Offers 24 Month CD Rate at 1.71% APY

If you are into saving for the long haul then a certificate of deposit for no less than a 2 year term, might be for you. Longer term CD rates will pay the highest interest, which is still vastly lower than just a few years ago. A two year CD from Federation Bank is paying a rate of 1.71% APY.

The great aspect of this CD is the low minimum deposit of $500. Some certificates of deposit require a much higher minimum, forcing many people to look elsewhere.

Federation Bank is located in the great state of Iowa and branches can be found in Brighton, Wellman, Richman and two in Washington. In 2003 Washington Federal and Rubio Savings Bank merged to form Federation Bank, while Rubio Savings has been around since 1906. This is a bank that is well developed and offers other great services other than their excellent CD rates. Be sure to visit a branch location nearest you for other CD rate offers.

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