Need a Downpayment?

Need a Downpayment?

Are you saving for the down payment to purchase your home? If you are, then you might want to know about the programs we offer to help families with their homeownership goals. The faster you start building equity while rates are low and values are going up, the faster you can build family wealth. Remember, you can refinance down the road once you have either saved more or built equity in the value of your home.

Often, rents are so high it hinders the would-be-buyers from being able to save for the down payment. There are alternatives, that can get you on your way faster to building equity in a home. Here’s just a few:

  1. MyHome provides a deferred-payment junior loan – up to 3.5 percent of the purchase price, or appraised value, whichever is less, to be used for your down payment and/or closing costs. This program must be combined with a CalHFA first mortgage loan.
  2. The GSFA Platinum homebuyer assistance program currently provides low– to moderate– income families and individuals with a grant up to 5 percent of the total loan amount, that does not have to be repaid. The grant can be used towards a down payment and closing costs.
  3. Through the Chenoa Fund program, borrowers can receive an FHA first mortgage with a forgivable or repayable second mortgage of 3.5 percent which can be used towards their down payment. The terms of the second mortgage are based on the borrower’s qualifying income and HUD’s Area Median Income (AMI) requirements.
  4. Freddie Mac’s Home Possible mortgages offer home financing options for low– and moderate-income borrowers looking for low down payments (3-5 percent) and flexible sources of funds. Home Possible Advantage mortgages offer more flexibility for maximum financing. This offering adopts the responsible and affordable flexibilities of Home Possible, but with additional requirements.
  5. The CalPLUS is another 3 percent down payment option that provides the borrower with a zero-interest junior loan for their closing costs and deferred payment.
  6. The Conforming Plus is a loan program that allows down payments as low as 3 percent.
  7. If you are a qualified Veteran, then the VA loan has a zero-down payment loan for purchasers.
  8. The USDA is also a zero-down payment option but is restricted to rural areas.

If you would like to learn more about these and other programs, feel free to give us a call. There is probably a program to fit your needs, you just may be pleasantly surprised. For more information on the mortgage process or to get preapproved, give us a call. Iron Point Mortgage is always happy to sit down with you to discuss your homeownership goals and give you a free consultation and tell you what your options may be. Call us for an appointment, and let’s get you on the path to homeowhership. Have a great day.

Chenoa Loan Program

Chenoa Loan Program

The new loan program for First Time and Repeat Homebuyers is the Chenoa, No Down Payment Option. Through the Chenoa Fund program, borrowers can receive an FHA first mortgage with a forgivable or repayable second mortgage of 3.5 percent, which can be used towards their down payment. The Terms of the second mortgage are based on the borrower’s qualifying income and HUD’S AREA Median Income (AMI) requirements.

Option #1 is the Forgivable loan, as specified:

  • The borrower is eligible for a forgivable loan
  • Loan is forgivable after 3 years with timely payments on the first mortgage
  • Purchase of a primary residence 1-2 units
  • Conforming and high balance loan amounts
  • Credit scores as low as 620

Option #2, the Repayable loan, is different from the forgivable in that the borrower has a choice of 0 percent for 10 years or 5 percent for 30 years. This is a great option as well, because if they don’t qualify for the forgivable loan due to income or other specifications, then they still can get into homeownership with little down and pay on the second over time.

Now this loan program isn’t just for First Time Homebuyers, and it doesn’t have the homebuyer education requirement. This new program can truly mean the difference for your younger buyers or even your boomerang buyers to get into the housing market now. The purpose of this program is to assist otherwise qualified buyers that just don’t have the down payment saved, which you see a lot of in the younger buyers due to high rent and student loan debt. These issues don’t have to prevent them from purchasing.

This program is a very popular choice for the millennials and younger Generation Xers that have families and they need to have stability for their families rather than annually increasing rents. We know that the Millennials and Gen Xers are quickly moving up into management positions, increasing their earning power and yet maybe struggling to save. Programs such as this are tools to give them a head start on building family wealth, while providing stability for their growing families. When they decide to move into their dream home of forever home, they will have an asset to help launch them the second time around.

If you or you know someone who could benefit from this program, please give us a call. We are more than happy to provide additional information on this program, and give a free consultation to see if you may qualify for a mortgage.

Moving Hacks

Moving Hacks

You’ve purchased a new home and just can’t wait to get moved. Settling in to a new home quickly is dependent upon your organization. I found a few moving hacks that can help with your packing and ultimately, your unpacking!

The last thing you want when you move is to have things broken, lost or put in the wrong place… like my experience, searching box after box for the coffee cups that first morning you wake up in your home can be frustrating. Or the coffee pot! Here’s a few ways to make the packing and unpacking easier:

  1. First, use a color coding system on the boxes as to which room they go in at the new home. Colored duct tape, markers or colored dots are great ways to create a system. Now make sure whoever is moving the boxes KNOWS your system! Using the same color coding on the door or door jam of the room they go into will help lessen any confusion.
  2. Use paper plates to separate your dishes when packing them up. Newspaper used to be the best packing material, but that is harder to find these days.
  3. Make handles on all of your boxes by using a box cutter, then cut a V with the point down on opposite sides, fold into the box before packing and you have handles!
  4. Put plastic wrap around your silverware tray and other containers of utensils so you can unpack them easily and intact. Now you just remove the plastic wrap and stick in their new drawer in their home all ready for use!
  5. If you have young kids that can’t help with the move, give them a color coded tub to put their toys in that will keep them busy while you work. Most kids like to feel helpful and a part of the activity, so getting their help by being responsible for their own container of toys or activities will make them feel like they are doing their share. Plus, they will have their own things to keep them busy while the move is happening.
  6. Pack a box or two of essentials that you will need to unpack first, and code it RED! This is called the unpacking kit. Check out my next blog on The Unpacking Kits as to what all goes into it.
  7. Take pictures of the back of your electronics before you pull all the cords, so you will know how to reconnect everything. With mailing labels, you can mark them easily and pack them all in one box. Don’t rely on your memory, just take the photo!
  8. When taking beds, or other furniture apart, put the hardware in a baggie, and duct tape to a piece of the furniture so it can quickly be found and reassembled. Once it took me a year to find the hardware to one piece of furniture!
  9. Tape from corner to corner, making an X on all pictures and mirrors to prevent breaking glass. This is important even if you are bubble wrapping them. It gives the glass that extra strength.
  10. Save egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel rolls to use in the move. You will find a lot of uses for these items.

There’s a lot of ways to keep your move organized and with less loss in breakage, so use these tips and more online. You’ll be glad you put the extra time in before the move and it will make settling in, quicker. Enjoy your new home. If you know of someone we can assist with a purchase or refi, we promise to take good care of them. Your referral is the biggest compliment you can give. Thanks for watching and have a great week.

Mortgage Myths

Mortgage Myths

Many of you “would-be” first time homebuyers delay getting preapproved because you don’t know how the home loan process works, you think you to have a lot of money saved up, or you fear rejection in the loan approval process. So, let’s talk about a few of the mortgage myths:

  1. You have to have 20% down to get into a home. The FHA Home Loan allows as little as 3.5% down payment. The VA Home Loan is zero down. And even the 30 year fixed rate conventional home loan allows as little as a 3% down payment. Closing costs average $3,500, but in some loan programs, plus potential lender credits, most of that can be covered with a down payment assistance program.
  2. You have to have a credit score over 700. FICO credit scores impact your interest rates, the better your score, the lower your interest rate may be. FHA Loans allow as low as a 620 FICO score, and in some situations, you can get approved with a FICO as low as 580.
  3. Renting is cheaper than buying. Most of the neighborhoods within our tri-county area still have an affordability rate higher than the state average. Even in some of the more desirable areas such as Folsom, the break even point averages 2.4 years, which means in 2 years, 5 months, you are paying less out of pocket than if you had continued to rent over the same period of time. Rents go up every year. A fixed rate mortgage locks in your monthly housing costs at the same cost over the life of the loan.
  4. If you don’t have kids, then the schools don’t matter. This may be true for as long as you are in the home and kid free, but when you go to sell the home, being in an undesirable school district can affect your resale, as well as your home value. Unless you are in a condo, that is mostly singles and couples, taking the schools into consideration is never a bad thing.
  5. New homes don’t need a home inspection. Your lender will require a home inspection regardless of the age of the home. It protects their investment and your money as well. New homes can have just as many problems, that’s why they have a “punch list” to correct anything incorrectly done. You just never know what a home inspector may find.
  6. You have to have money in the bank. Some assets, such as funds in a 401K can be used in most situations for the down payment and closing costs. With some loan programs you can also use “gifted” funds, where a family member gifts you the money for all or part of your out of pocket expenses.
  7. Interest rates are too high. For over half a century, and as long as they have been tracking interest rates, the average interest rate is well over 8%. Currently we are at half of the average, hovering around 4%. We are still at historic low interest rates. Even if the rates slowly increase over time, locking into today’s rates for the next 15-30 years can be a great bargain, and help you build wealth through homeownership. The sooner you purchase, the sooner you will build equity.

Well, that’s the top 7 myths I hear from our clients. I hope this helps you as well. Remember, there are a lot of down payment assistant programs designed to help the first-time homebuyer with down payments and closing costs. So, even if you think you don’t have enough money saved, you just may be pleasantly surprised. For more information on the mortgage process or to get preapproved, give us a call. Thanks for joining me for this week’s tip. Have a great day.

6 Things To Do When You First Move In

6 Things To Do When You First Move In

Finally closing on your home loan and buying your dream house is the greatest feeling and fun! But the packing, unpacking and cleaning isn’t… Moving can be hectic, hard work, and unsettling for everyone. Once you are in your new home, it’s always tough to figure out what you should do first as you settle into your dream home. Here’s 6 things to do when you first move in…

  1. Make it secure— You’re in a new home, new area, and don’t really know anyone yet, so make your new home as secure as you can. Change all exterior door locks. Be sure to also change the code on your garage door openers. That is the most common way thieves get in to a home. If you want to be extra secure, you can have an alarm system installed!
  2. Wipe out the cabinets — A no-brainer before you unpack your dishes and bathroom supplies. Clean the cabinets and put down shelf liner. It doesn’t take much time, but you can unpack knowing it’s clean.
  3. Sprinklers – Test the sprinkler system and make sure it is all working correctly. Understand the zones, and the settings to make sure they are set to go off at the right time of day and for the length of time you need. If there are watering restrictions in your new neighborhood, you will want to find out what those are as well.
  4. Replace air filters— This will only take 3 minutes and it’ll not only improve the air quality, but also help cut down your AC bill since the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard! Be sure to note the date so you know when it is time to change them again. You might also want to change the filters on your refrigerator.
  5. Get familiar with your Circuit Breaker Box and Main Water Valve – This is a must. Before you have an emergency you should know where everything is! You should have a final walk through of the home before moving. This is a great time to ask those questions. Also make sure the fuse box is labeled and you know what those labels mean!
  6. Check out Hot Water Supply – Run water in all of the faucets to check for leaks. Look at the hot water heater to see how high or low it is set for and adjust if necessary. If the house has been empty, it’s likely that the hot water heater was turned on low.
  7. Run phantom loads — The dishwasher may not have been cleaned thoroughly, so run an empty load. One dishwasher soap that gets rid of any mold is Finish. Run a phantom load in your washing machine to make sure all the lines are clear.

Well, that’s it for this week’s tip of the week! If you haven’t bought your dream home yet, give me a call so I can get the preapproval process started before you look. Thanks for joining me again and have a great day!

The Cost of Not Owning Your Home

The Cost of Not Owning Your Home

Not buying a home right now will cost you, because home prices and interest rates are going to rise. Many renters would like to own but think they can’t afford down payments or won’t qualify for mortgages. Those are the two main reasons cited from many experts out there. For a good percentage this may be true. But for many, this may just be a state of mind, or the lack of knowledge about the homebuying process. Buyers get more for their money than renters, so renters that think they have to save to put a 20% down payment, or that they won’t qualify may be missing out.

There is proof exists that owning is financially better than renting… such as:

  1. Homeownership is a form of forced savings, because as values increase your equity grows.
  2. Homeownership provides tax savings, even with the recent changes in the tax reform.
  3. Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost, unlike rent that goes up every year, a 30 year fixed rate mortgage locks you monthly housing cost in for the length of the loan.
  4. The money you put into home improvements, including furnishings is adding value to your landlord, not you. As times change, trends also change, so we often do improvements to our home environment that are updated and trendy.
  5. No other investment lets you live inside of it. This seems like a funny statement but its true. Think about it. You can put a lot into the stock market, but you still have to have housing!
  6. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter. Every time you write out a check for your mortgage, you are putting money back into your pocket as long as we have a healthy economy. As a renter, you are taking money out of your assets and putting into your landlord’s.
  7. A family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years. Every year that you put off purchasing a home, this number increases.
  8. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin! Homeowners are smart to have a household maintenance fund, that can lessen the impact if something does go wrong. Homeowner warranties are a great way to prevent costly repairs when purchasing a home as well.

Owning a home has always been, better financially than renting. So, even if you think you don’t have enough money saved, or you may not qualify, you should at least try. You just may be surprised. For more information on the mortgage process or to get preapproved, give us a call. Thanks for joining me for this week’s tip. Have a great day.

Survival Hand Tool Kit

EHH Blog 1: Survival Hand Tool Kit

Have you ever started a project and realized you can’t find the tool you need? Whether you live in a home or are an apartment dweller, there is a basic set of tools you should always have in your tool box. I’ve created a guide to help you assemble the ultimate survival hand tool kit so everything you’ll need is always in one place.

Rule of Thumb

We all have little things that need doing around the house. Fixing odds and ends, tightening loose door knobs, hanging pictures.

Assembling a set of tools to keep around the house can save you time and money. My first rule of thumb is to buy the best grade tools you can afford, in the long run it will cost less than replacing inferior ones. My second rule is to have a place to store the tools properly and where they can be easily found….tool box, or a bucket organizer. And the third rule is to take care of them and keep them clean.

The Ultimate Tool Kit

Now, what to assemble first:

  • A nice cordless drill/ screwdriver, with a small drill bit kit
  • A general purpose carpenters’ hammer
  • A selection of nails and screws…these are available in ready made assortments
  • A set of picture hanging hardware…these are inexpensive and contain all the odds and ends for most picture hanging. If you’re planning on hanging any pictures soon, check out our video on How to Hang Wall Art the Right Way the First Time!
  • A small level, called a torpedo level
  • A cross cut handsaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • A couple of screw drivers, both Phillips and slotted
  • WD40 for things that stick that shouldn’t
  • Duct tape for things that should stick but don’t
  • And a tool box, or handy bucket organizer…I keep a set of tools in a bucket organizer and just carry it to the project…its got everything I need and saves running back and forth for tools. They are all right there.

And when you are ready to add more, here’s another short list:

  • Utility knife
  • Sanding block and a selection of grits
  • Light oil
  • Wood glue
  • An awl
  • A few simple spring loaded clamps
  • And lastly, a hack saw and blades

I hope this gets you started and inspired to tackle some of the light repairs around the home. Feel free to email or call if you have a question or a topic you need more information on. I’d be glad to assist you in getting pre-approved for a home loan or refinance. Be sure to check out my Easy Home Hacks channel on YouTube for more DIY and life hack tutorials. Thanks for reading and have a great day.

How to Keep Your Pet Cool During Summer

How to Keep Your Pet Cool During Summer

Summer is officially here! And so are higher temperatures. It’s important to remember that extreme heat can have a major effect on your pet’s health, so it’s important to do what you can to help them through the season. We’ve got a list that can help keep your dog stay cool, hydrated, healthy and as happy as you are during summer!

Protect Your Pet

Overheating pets will be panting like crazy, may have dry or pale gums, and increased drooling. It’s important to prevent your pet from getting that advanced so the overheating doesn’t cause major health issues. If you’re a pet owner then you know having a pet inside your home isn’t easy. Be sure to check out our video on hacks every pet owner needs to know to finally keep your home clean and smelling nice!

No More Hot Dogs!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended in a vehicle—This is probably the most important tip! Even if you have the windows cracked open, the inside of the car is still going to heat up. On a 75 degree day, the inside of a car can actually heat up to 115 degrees within an hour! If you need to run errands, keep your pup at home or drop them off at a doggy daycare.
  • Avoid walking on hot surfaces—Think of your dog’s paws as being your bare feet. Walking on hot asphalt doesn’t seem as good of an idea, now does it? Try alternating between asphalt, sidewalk and grass to give your pup’s paws a break and keep them from getting blistered. We’ve also seen “doggy shoes” that will cover the pads of your dog’s foot. They may walk a little funny at first, but it’ll same them from burning up!
  • Always have water—On a hot day, all you want is a ton of ice cold water, well… so does your dog! Make sure the water bowl is always full and bring water without on walks to keep your pet more hydrated.
  • If it’s over 85 degrees, leave your pet at home—If you’re going to the beach and you’re feeling a bit warm in shorts, imagine how hot your dog will be with a fur coat! I know we always want our furry friends by our side, but sometimes it’s best to let them hang out at home.

More Than Just a Pet

Pets have become family members, so it’s important to take care of them the way we would take care of our friends or family. Look out for warnings signs of your pet possibly overheating and get them out of the sun with a cold bowl of water as soon as possible. With summer also comes insects! Make sure your family and furry friends are protected from mosquitos, fleas, and ants to stay healthy this summer.

Thanks for joining me. If you’re looking for a home with a bigger backyard for your pup or a house with more room for your family, give us a call so we can get the preapproval process started before you start house hunting. For more tips, check out our blog and YouTube channel! Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Groupon Summer Fun

Groupon Summer Fun

Do you ever hear your kids say, “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do”? Well, the summer is almost here, so what activities do you have planned for the family? Most kids are out of school for the summer, and it can be a challenge to keep them from getting bored and, also getting to have some quality family time. We are so lucky here in the Sacramento Valley and the Folsom and El Dorado Hills foothills, as our skies are sunny most days! So, planning activities for the summer season in advance can be a great advantage.

The Ultimate Activity Resource

One resource that can really help out is Groupon! Groupon is a website and app that offers subscribers daily discount coupons. The coupons are typically focused on anything local for you; restaurants, stores, services, events and products. Look for Groupon deals for kids activities in your community. Here, in Folsom, California, I found several like…

  • 90 minutes of bowling for 6 for only $45
  • Giants game for two for $39
  • 10 Martial Arts classes for $20
  • Music lessons on the instrument of choice
  • Horseback riding lessons
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • And so much more…

Not a Deal Breaker

These deals give your kids a taste of what activities that they may have an interest in doing without spending a lot of money to find out! Or they can just be awesome fun. If you aren’t a Groupon user already, check it out and have fun this summer! If the summer activity you have planned for your family is moving, don’t forget to get preapproved before you make an offer. Getting preapproved first might help you land the home of your dreams this summer. If you’re selling your house, make sure you know the 5 things you should never say! The market is hot in Folsom, Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties so be sure to check out the areas on your house hunt. If you have any questions or are looking to get the process started, give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help. Rates are still awesome! Thank you for reading the blog and have a great day.

5 Smartest Uses of Tax Refunds for Homeowners and First Time Buyers

Tax season can be stressful but also bring opportunity if planned out smartly. If you are expecting to pay, make sure you have enough saved each month to pay your taxes on time and get it out of the way!  If you are getting a refund, how are you going to spend or save that money? Having a plan can prevent us from wasting the opportunity to apply those funds to the right area to improve our credit score, invest in our future by buying a home, or saving for it for that ultimate emergency. So this week I thought I would share my top 5 Smartest Uses of Tax Refunds for folks who want to either sell their current house and move up into that forever home or are first-time home buyers jumping into the housing market.

  1. Your refund won’t be enough to redo your kitchen or bathroom, but it can certainly pay for any costs or fees for a refinance. Allowing your home to pay for its upkeep or updating through refinancing is smart. Investing the equity back into your house usually increases its value, makes it easier to sell in the future, and you can improve your quality of life in the home.
  2. You can use the extra cash for smaller updates like adding a backsplash, painting a room, replacing your bathroom sink, updating your faucets, installing a programmable thermostat or sprucing up your yard. Look at your curb appeal and see what improvements can be made.
  3. Increase your credit score! Use your refund to pay off a balance with an 18% interest rate is like earning 18% on your investments — an incredibly valuable use of the money. The higher the credit score, the lower the rate you qualify for on the largest purchase you make, your home mortgage.
  4. Beef up your home insurance. Use some of your refund money to protect your home. For about $50, you can add $10,000 to $20,000 in sewage backup coverage — which usually isn’t part of a standard home owner’s policy. You can pay to trim your trees to help protect against some of the most common types of storm damage and put together a disaster kit. If you got the bare minimum initially when you got your mortgage, look at your policy to make sure you have the coverage you are comfortable with.
  5. With the low mortgage rates and low or no down payment options available, that tax refund could be invested in a new home. The FHA Home Loan has options as low as 3.5% down. The USDA Loan for rural areas may have a no down payment option, and, of course, the VA Home Loan can be a 100% financing option as well.

Planning ahead so that you don’t spend the money impulsively or unwisely could to help get that first home, or perhaps that dream home.