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What Are My Loan Options?

Fixed-rate mortgages

With a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate – and your monthly payment of principal and interest – will stay the same for the entire term of the loan. This type of mortgage tends to be the most popular because it protects homeowners from the possibility of future monthly payment increases (a situation faced by borrowers who select an adjustable-rate mortgage) and is very straightforward.

Fixed-period Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) or hybrid ARM

Most lenders today offer a fixed-period or "hybrid” ARM, which is an adjustable-rate mortgage featuring an initial fixed interest rate period, typically of 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. After the fixed-rate period expires, the interest rate becomes adjustable for the remainder of the loan term. Fixed-period ARMs are often named by the length of time the interest rate remains fixed.

Example: In a 5/1 ARM, the “5” stands for the five-year introductory period during which the interest rate remains fixed. The “1” indicates that the interest rate is subject to adjustment once per year after the introductory period, and for the remainder of the loan term.

Government loans (FHA and VA)

If you're qualified, you may consider an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) or a VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) loan. These programs allow a lower down payment and credit score when compared to conventional loans.

FHA loans

FHA loans are helpful for applicants who don't have a 20% down payment saved or who need more flexible income or credit requirements.

There are some differences between FHA loans and conventional loans. For example, there's a maximum loan amount, which varies depending on where the home is located.

Also, FHA loan programs typically require you to pay mortgage insurance, similar to private mortgage insurance, or PMI. Under FHA, this is called a “mortgage insurance premium,” or MIP. Typically, you will pay an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UFMIP). Keep in mind that the UFMIP must be entirely financed into the mortgage or paid in cash; it cannot be partially financed. You will also pay an annual insurance premium, which you will pay monthly with your mortgage payment. You’ll need to factor that amount in when you set your budget.

VA loans

VA loans are offered by VA-approved lenders and are insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces or the current or surviving spouse of one. These loans can help reduce your down payment requirement, sometimes to zero. They may also help you get a lower interest rate on your loan. However, there are limits on the available loan amount. If you believe you may qualify for a VA loan, be sure to tell your lender, so you can explore your options together.

Jumbo loans

When you start to explore your mortgage options, you may hear the term "jumbo loan" come up. If you do, this may be because you live in a high-priced real estate market or are looking at properties that are more expensive than average. If you are considering homes requiring a mortgage that exceeds $417,000, it's a good idea to find out more about jumbo loans and discuss them with your lender.

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Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent in The

Beware the (I'll get your home sold in a week) agent

The "Real" Estate Blog

I hear this one all the time from prospects looking to list their house. "Well, agent xyz told us that if we listed with her, she'd have it sold in a week." This would fall into the category of "If it sounds too good to be true, the probably is." The majority of agents are not going to make this claim, but rather will give you an honest market analysis, inform you as to how weak or strong the market is, especially the market in which your home resides, and present the objective facts. A good agent will then lay out an effective marketing plan, where the majority of the focus should be on "online marketing". Be careful to not get caught up in empty promises, reduced commissions, and being talked in to lowering your price below market value (unless you must have a quick sale). The key to choosing a good listing agent is to objectively determine who is going to provide you the best opportunity to sell your home. Will your listing agent also aggressively work to find buyers, or will they just list your home and wait for another agent to do the work.

The Family Diner in Spirit Lake

The Family Diner

Spirit Lake

The Family Diner is Spirit Lake, IA is a local favorite! They offer up a large portion for small money, but whether you come early or late you may be in for a wait. With homemade bread and the largest sausage patty you have seen, The Family Diner is consistently delicious. They are open only for breakfast and lunch and closed two days a week. In my former career at Stylecraft, the family diner was definately a favorite when our friends would visit from North Carolina. They were always inpressed with the bread and rolls and corn beef hash.

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