Category: Brighton Cross Country Mortgage

Taking The Plunge Into Homeownership

Are you ready to take the plunge into homeownership?  The cost of renting has continued to increase while the costs of buying along with interest rates have continued plummeting.  The purchase of your first home can be quiet daunting.  The process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, hiring a realtor, finding a home, getting it inspected, getting a mortgage and moving in is quite an undertaking.  It is important to make each of the tasks as simple as possible to help avoid delays and mistakes.  In this article we will offer suggestions for first-time buyers on qualifying for a home loan.

The first question that is most often asked is about the amount that is needed for a down payment.  Most lenders require some sort of a down payment.  It is possible to purchase a home without one however not the best option. Lenders use a combination of things to identify homeowners that qualify for a mortgage verse those that may be too risky to lend to.  These identifiers include the borrower’s credit score and down payment information.  The higher the ratio of property value to the amount the borrower needs the more qualified you become as a buyer.

It is important also for homeowner to understand truly how much they can afford to spend each month on a home before they even begin talking to a realtor.  Many homeowners think that they need to find a home at the highest point at which they qualify.  This however is not the case.  Many borrowers find that a payment at this price point is just too high for them to afford.  Don’t buy based on what you are qualified to receive instead look to purchase a home that you can comfortably afford.

It is important for borrowers to understand the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification.  In order to be pre-qualified does not access your credit.  It allows you to compare loan details and interest rates without requiring your social security number or credit to be accessed.  Pre-approval means that a lender has run your credit and evaluated your finances.  A pre-approval is the most accurate way to shop for a home but does require a hard inquiry of your credit report.

Homeowners must also understand that their debt to income ratio is also a consideration in home loan financing.  Your total debt including car loans, credit card bills, student loans and mortgage should be no more than thirty six percent of your gross income.  This is the maximum amount that most mortgage company’s desire when lending money for a home loan.

Mortgage lenders will also look at your employment history when looking to lend you money for a home loan.  They consider this an important consideration in the ability to repay a home loan.  If you are a person that hops from job to job you are considered a higher risk than someone with a lower income that has been stably employed.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Helpful Mortgage Advice For 2017

Homeowners looking to refinance or hoping to buy a new home in 2017 all have one thing in common, they will all need to get the money to make it happen.  Below you will find helpful advice that applies to mortgages in 2017.

  • Homeowners can make a small down payment or none at all: Mortgage brokers are constantly dispelling the myth that a twenty percent down payment is required.  Some mortgages require no down payment at all or as little as three percent.  Zero down mortgage options are available as part of programs through the VA, Rural Development and Navy Federal Credit Union for purchase of a primary residence.  
  • Homeowners no longer need perfect credit: FHA loans are a popular option in lending when a homeowner has less than perfect credit.  The average homeowner has a credit score of around six hundred eighty six.  In order to qualify for an FHA mortgage homeowners must have a credit score of five hundred and eighty or higher with at least three point fiver percent interest down.  If your score is lower than five hundred eighty, in order to get an FHA mortgage homeowners will need to have at least ten percent down and a mortgage lender that would give you the loan. 
  • Homeowners should keep money in their saving: Most mortgage lenders do not like to see homeowners deplete their savings in order to buy a home. Houses come with unexpected expenses that will need to take care of and lenders expect that this can be done without having to miss making a home loan payment. 
  • Homeowners can save a great deal by refinancing a fifteen year mortgage: Mortgage rates have been at all time lows for a while now so one can only assume that 2017 will bring a rise in interest rates.  Refinancing is still an option many people turn to even after interest rates have risen for many reasons including: divorce, finally recovering from a low credit score, to get rid of their existing PMI, to cash out equity in the home or to save money in financing to a shorter mortgage period.  
  • Homeowners should only borrow what they can afford to repay: It is important that homeowners don’t over stretch their payments.  Do not get into a mortgage for more than you can afford no matter how appealing the home is.  A good rule of thumb to live by is to never spend more than thirty six percent of your income before taxes on your mortgage and other financial obligations.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Considerations In Financing Your New Home

Before you purchase your first home and finance your very first mortgage there are a few things to consider.  Consider the following as you embark on your new life journey into homeownership.
Before you hire a realtor or start looking at homes it is important to meet with a mortgage broker.  Once you have met with a mortgage officer you can determine if you have credit problems that need to be solved prior to looking for a home.  This meeting will also allow you to know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a house and an estimate of your monthly payment.
It is also important to pay off as much debt as you can before embarking into the great wide open of homeownership.  It is important to get a grip on your income to debt ratio.  Take into account all of the money that is coming in and the debts that you have going out.  Make sure to consider all forms of income and debt.  If the monthly house payment is more than forty three percent it is unlikely to get a mortgage.  It is best to keep the monthly payment to thirty percent of your monthly income.  The lower your debt to income ratio the more likely you will be approved for a mortgage and a lower interest rate then borrowers with a higher debt to income ratio.
It is important to get into good credit habits before you purchase a home.  If you find that you are constantly missing payments on student loans or constantly paying bills late it will lower your credit score and hurt your chances at obtaining a home loan.  When bills end up going into collections it can take months to clear up the mess.
Before you look into finding your first home take time to look into consolidating student loans.  Refinancing student loans can decrease the monthly payment.  It may make sense to increase the length of time you pay on your student loans in order to buy a home sooner.
It is important to present work history that shows consistency.  If you have just graduated from college it may be best to take some time and establish yourself in your career before you look into purchasing a home.   After you establish a pattern of working for two or more years you will look more appealing to home loan lenders.
When you apply for your first mortgage be prepared to document your finances.  You will need to have copies of the past two years tax returns, bank statements, brokerage account documentation and documents that verify all sources of money that you have coming in.  Mortgage brokers will verify employment, income and debt.   This will occur at the beginning of the home loan process as well as a few days before the closing.
While you are applying for a home loan avoid putting anything on credit or applying for any new credit.  Don’t start buying things for a new home until you have the home.  Once the process begins don’t spend a dime on anything you don’t have to.  Avoid adding to your debt as any added expenses can jeopardize the process.
Meet with a mortgage broker that is willing to shop around for lenders that are offering the best rates, loan options and more.  Work with brokers that present you with all of your options including loans where you pay fees upfront in the form of points, interest rates, no closing costs and more.
Before you buy a home or consider meeting with a mortgage broker be sure you have enough cash on hand to cover all of your costs.  You will want to have enough money to cover the fees charged by the lender and closing agent as well as the expense of having the home inspected, appraised and surveyed.  It is also important to note that most lenders require the first years home insurance and property taxes to be paid up front.
As a first time home buyer you may also consider looking into an FHA mortgage.  When looking into this type of loan option it is important to understand that not only will you have to qualify so will the home.  The house will need to meet certain criteria to get approved for a FHA mortgage as well.
It is important to be open throughout the process of getting a mortgage and buying a home.  The process is not simple and will have bumps along the road but the journey will be well worth it when you walk through that open door into your brand new home.
Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Popular Mortgage Options In 2016 Continued

In our last installment on mortgage options we discussed three popular options including the thirty and fifteen year fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages.  Throughout this installment we will look into other popular options homeowners have when looking into financing a home.

Interest only mortgages can be either fixed or adjustable rate and offer homeowners the option to pay only the interest on their mortgage for a specific term between five to ten years.  The loan is set up in a manner in which you can pay the interest only or interest and principle until the end of the interest only period.  The risk of this type of loan option is that if the value of your home does not appreciate as you may expect when you decide to refinance your options could be limited.

If you are unable to refinance at the end of the interest only period you could be stuck with an incredibly high mortgage payment.  Interest only loans offer a flexible payment option that allows you to buy more home than what you may be able to afford when you are initially buying.   This makes a lot of sense for homeowners who know that they will be making more income in the future and therefore will be able to handle the higher payment.

Another option homeowners have when it comes to obtaining a mortgage is the flex pay payment option.  With this type of mortgage the homeowner has the ability to pay a different amount each month.  The monthly payment can include a low payment option, an interest only payment option and an interest plus principle option.  This option is great for those homeowners without a steady income.  It is incredibly flexible month to month.  The major risk with this type of loan is that if you only pay the interest payment option and the home does not appreciate homeowners may find themselves owing more on their home than it is worth.

A balloon mortgage is a fixed short term mortgage that follows an amortization schedule similar to traditional fixed term mortgages.  The terms of a balloon mortgage are three, five or seven years in which you pay interest and mortgage.   At the end of the balloon term you need to come up with a manner in which to pay off the home, most often this comes from refinancing.  The one drawback is if the interest rates at the end of the balloon period are high you will not have an option to wait until rates are better to refinance.  This means that homeowners could be stuck with a higher than average mortgage payment.

It is important to sit down with a mortgage broker to discuss available options.  Homeowners all have different financial situations and different monthly needs.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Popular Mortgage Options In 2016

When it comes to mortgage options there are more than a few options to choose from.  In this installment we will look at popular mortgage options from fixed to adjustable, thirty to fifteen years and more.

The first option we will discuss is the most traditional type of mortgage available is the thirty year, fixed rate mortgage.  This option offers a mortgage payment where the interest and mortgage payment stays the same for the entire life of the home loan.  At the end of thirty years you will have completely paid off your home.

Thirty year mortgages are good for individuals who prefer the stability of a fixed monthly payment.  It is important to note that these type of mortgage is often more expensive than their adjustable-rate counterpart.  Homeowners are willing to pay the premium because this home loan is pretty straightforward, easy to understand and provides payment stability.  This option is a solid bet for homeowners that are looking to stay in their homes for more than ten years.

Fifteen year mortgages are the exact same as thirty year mortgages but require less time to pay them back.  The benefit of a fifteen year, fixed mortgage is the rate at which you are able to build equity in your home.   If homeowners can afford the higher monthly payment that comes along with a fifteen year mortgage and they like the stability a fixed mortgage offers than this is a solid mortgage option.

Another popular option in mortgages is known as ARM’s, adjustable-rate mortgage.  This mortgage option adjusts the interest rate that homeowners pay at a given time and frequency.  There are a few ways that an ARM can work.  Most often however the mortgage starts out offering a lower interest rate then what is found with a thirty year fixed rate mortgage and steadily adjusts with the market.   When the initial rate period of the mortgage ends and the ARM adjusts you may end up with a higher payment than you originally started out with.

The major risk involved in an ARM is that there is not a guarantee on what your future payments will be.  ARM’s do have many benefits that homeowners should consider when looking into a mortgage.  For instance, ARM has a lower initial rate over a fixed mortgage.  A lower initial payment allows buyers to afford more house than they would have with a fixed rate mortgage.  It is also advantageous to have an ARM if it is believed that the interest rates will lower in the future.

In our next installment we will look into more popular options in mortgages from interest only to balloon mortgages.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Buying A Home With A Less Than Stellar Credit Rating

Are you starting to consider buying a home?  If so you have probably heard how important your credit score is in obtaining a mortgage.  It is possible that you may have been previously turned down for a home loan because of your poor credit.  Or that you have pulled your credit report to realize that your credit rating is far worse then you thought it was.  Whatever the case may don’t give up on buying a home just yet.  Even with a credit score that is too low for a conventional thirty year mortgage there are numerous options you can look into for financing a home.  You might be surprised by what a mortgage broker can do to help your situation.

First off be aware what lenders are looking for when lending money to individuals for a conventional mortgage.  A general rule of thumb is that a borrower should consider saving at least twenty percent of homes price for a down payment and a FICO score of about six hundred fifty to receive a conventional mortgage with a low interest rate.

There are a host of things that lenders look at when deciding whether or not a borrower is a worthy risk.  One of the major factors, as previously discussed is a person’s credit score.  Another element that borrowers use is the amount that borrowers have for a down payment.  It is possible to offset a lower credit score with a higher down payment.  Lenders are apt to believe that you are less of a risk the more equity that is invested into the home.  Your personal interest in the home is greater and therefore lenders believe you are a better risk.

If you have a less than perfect credit score and a small down payment don’t count yourself out of the mortgage game yet.  Talk with a mortgage broker about various non-conventional loan options.  Some options include: FHA loans, VA loans or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans are all options with less stringent guidelines then conventional mortgages.

If none of these options pan out consider working on getting your credit score up, saving money and working towards financing a mortgage in two to three years when your financial situation has recovered.  There are many ways to work towards a better credit score including:

  • Take care of correcting errors in your existing credit report especially with collection agencies and late payments.
  • Make payments on time all the time.
  • Pay down the balances on revolving credit cards to decrease your debt to income ratio.
  • Give yourself some time to build your savings.

Work with a mortgage broker to discuss options that are available today.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

The Difference Between Mortgage Brokers and Banks

Are you looking into financing the purchase of a new home?  You may be overwhelmed at the possibilities that exist within the mortgage industry.  There are numerous options and channels that can be used to obtain a mortgage.  In this article we will focus on two specific areas, mortgage brokers versus banks.

Mortgage brokers work as a middle man between lenders and borrowers.  The broker works to secure several best case scenario’s for borrowers to choose from a variety of lenders.    A borrower is allowed to compare and contrast the options that are available, using the knowledge and assistance of a mortgage broker.  Mortgage brokers account for more than ten percent of the mortgage financing on all home loan originations.     When the real estate market was in full bloom mortgage brokers peaked, accounting for thirty percent of loan beginnings.

Borrowers working with a bank are in more of a retail situation.  A bank or financial lending institution states what their best available offer is, given the borrowers situation and they can either choose to accept the offer or continuing searching competitors for a better offer.

As with all financial transactions there are positives and negatives of both channels of obtaining financing for your mortgage.  Some situations leave you with no alternative but to choose one over the other.  If you are a borrower working with a poor credit or a loan situation that is a bit trickier than what is normal a mortgage broker may be your only option to finding a loan that works for you.

Most homeowners find themselves turning to their bank or financial institution when they find they are in need of a mortgage or begin looking into refinancing options.  However, when they have trouble qualifying for a loan through their own bank many turn to mortgage brokers.  Don’t assume that rates and loan options won’t be as competitive when using a mortgage broker over a bank.  Many times options that brokers find for borrowers are as competitive as those from a bank.  Be sure to work with a broker that is not taking abundance off the top before selling borrowers the loan.  In actuality, wholesale mortgage rates can often be cheaper than what borrowers can find at local banks.

Bank Positives

  • Relationship building and the connection between community and your finances
  • Adding to an existing financial profile
  • Personal relationship with the lender

Broker Positives:

  • Brokers do all the leg work
  • Brokers compare rates from numerous banks and lenders all at one time
  • More loan options available
  • Can help with poor or tricky credit situations

Bank Negatives:

  • More conservative loan options
  • Lengthy and bureaucratic process
  • Incompetence because of high turn over

Mortgage Negatives:

  • May overcharge for services
  • Access to select bank programs
  • Lack of control for the borrower

Mortgage brokers are a great option for borrowers who are looking to compare multiple options all at one time without spending day in and day out searching around for available options.  Borrowers with excellent credit and a solid relationship with their banks may find that working with their bank to locate a mortgage is better for them.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Seeking Out Non-Traditional Financing For Mortgages

There are times when an individual’s credit rating doesn’t match their intentions.  When a borrower has met with the unexpected in life such as a divorce, medical bills, job losses or poor money management it can wreak havoc on their opportunities to get financing.  This can deter many individuals, especially when wanting to obtain a mortgage, discouraged.  The thought is that people with poor credit will never achieve homeownership however this is not necessarily the case.  People seeking home ownership with less than perfect credit should work with a mortgage broker to search out non-traditional methods and more creative financing to obtain a home loan.

The first step that people with poor credit should do when considering the possibilities of a future home purchase is to start to take steps to improve their credit.  A lengthy history of delinquent payments isn’t a good thing but the change in those habits can be.  A change in the habits you have with your bill paying can help creditors see that you are working towards change.  Start by resolving to pay down debt to less than thirty percent of your available credit line.  Don’t apply for more credit, pay creditors on time and eventually you will start to improve your credit score.

Mortgage lenders will want to see that you have history making a payment for housing.  It may make sense to rent for two years to establish a housing payment history.  During that time make sure that the payment for your rent is paid for on time, every month.  An occasional late car payment or credit card payment could be overlooked but it is crucial that mortgage lenders see your ability to pay housing consecutively for at least two years prior to receiving a mortgage.

During the time you are renting, work to save money for a down payment.  The larger the down payment on the home the more vested lenders will view you.  A solid down payment for a first time home buyer is twenty percent even though there are mortgage options that don’t require this large of a down payment it helps those with poor credit.

Another feasible option for homeowners with imperfect credit is to find a lease option that can lead into the possibility of ownership.  Motivated sellers can often be talked into a purchase agreement with an unconventional twist.  If you find the right seller you can even work in a deal where they use the money paid on leasing as payment towards the home.

A mortgage broker is the first individual that most individuals with poor credit should speak with before even thinking about looking for a home to buy.  Loan brokers have seen it all, more than your credit situation is not unique.

Refinancing With A Low Credit Score

Interest rates are at historic lows.  More homeowners than ever before are considering refinancing.  Think about it interest rates in 1998 for a 30 year fixed mortgage were on average about seven percent; today interest rates sit at an average of between three and three and a half percent.  That is a huge savings for homeowners not just each month but over the entire course of owning the home.  Refinancing allows homeowners to lower their monthly payment which can allow many to use the extra money for upgrades to the home that increase the value of the home overall.  One problem that plagues some homeowners is less than stellar credit.

Homeowners with poor credit ratings can have a difficult time refinancing their current mortgage.  Often this goes unrecognized until you begin the process of refinancing.  Homeowners often think they are basically refinancing the same mortgage amount just for a lesser interest rate so why does it matter if their current credit isn’t up to par.  For them it is the same mortgage just at a lower interest rate.  This however is not how mortgage lenders see it.

Credit scores are used to determine an individual’s ability to pay debt back in full.  A low credit score gives lenders the impression that you are taking on too much debt for the income that you have coming in.  The snap shot of your current financial situation puts you at a higher risk then when you financed your original mortgage.  The scores of an individual’s credit can range between three hundred, at its lowest, to eight hundred and fifty, at its highest.

Homeowners will pay lower interest rates with higher credit scores.  With less than stellar credit it’s important to make sure that the savings you are looking for with the lower interest rate will really exist for you.  You need to consider the actual rate you will be given.  A homeowner with an eight hundred and fifty credit rating will receive a lower interest rate than those with poor credit.

Refinancing doesn’t always make sense for homeowners that have poor credit after they take into consideration an extended loan term, closing costs, loan fees, and more.  When combining these concerns it maybe that refinancing actually increase the overall cost of your mortgage even with the lower interest rate.

When your credit is less than perfect it is especially important to work with a mortgage broker to find the mortgage refinancing option that works best for your situation.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at

Mortgage Brokers Bridging The Gabe Between Lenders and Borrowers

Let’s face it most of us are not the ideal borrower.  We don’t all have good credit ratings, substantial down payments, low debt to income ratios and more.  In fact most borrowers have credit problems and obstacles to overcome when trying to meet lender requirements especially when seeking to refinance or to obtain a new home mortgage.

There are however, solutions to these common problems faced by both mortgage lenders and borrows.  A mortgage broker can often help assistance to bridge the gap between lenders and borrowers.

Blemished credit is a common issue that can occur when borrowers have had issues making payments to past creditors.  If you have a history of non payments, late payments or accounts that are delinquent you will have to face these problems head on.  When your credit is evaluated lenders will see these blemishes negatively and may be reluctant to approve your loan.

There is not a sure fire way to improve your credit score immediately.  It will take some time but if you take action sooner than later it will show lenders that you are serious about getting your credit history together. Be upfront with your mortgage broker so that they can address your credit issues head on when looking for a home loan that works for you both.  Offer an explanation as to why there were issues in credit such as the loss of a job, a serious illness or other event that resulted in the inability to pay your bills on time.  Mortgage brokers may suggest that you seek out a cosigner for your mortgage.  This person should have an exceptional credit history along with a high credit rating.

If you are seeking to buy a fixer upper or cooperative apartment it will be difficult to find a lender.  The reason is that there are already complexities when it comes to buying into cooperative living situations.  The mortgage on a cooperative apartment is different than that of a standard mortgage.

Homes that require a great deal of repairs before they are considered safe are also hard to get mortgages on.  These repairs can be quiet expensive and often exceed three percent of the homes overall value.  This makes getting a mortgage loan problematic.  A lender may be more apt to present a borrower with the option of two separate loans.  A mortgage may be given to purchase the home and a construction loan to make necessary repairs and improvements.

More issues that can cause borrowers headaches in lending are:

A low appraisal on the home
A high debt to income ratio
A low income

Don’t let these issues worry you.  Strap on your creative boots while working directly with mortgage broker that has connections within the lending industry to seek the best mortgage option for your situation.

Cross Country Mortgage in Brighton, Michigan provide mortgage services for clients including new home loans, refinancing, reversed mortgages, new purchase home mortgages and home equity loans to the entire Livingston County area including Brighton, Howell and Livingston County. Cross Country Mortgage Brighton, MI at