15 Questions to Ask a Mortgage Lender

Purchasing a home is one of the most significant financial decisions most people make in their lifetimes. With the wide availability of mortgages and various options among lenders, the process can be exciting and overwhelming, even if you’ve purchased a home before. It’s crucial to know what questions to ask a mortgage lender to ensure

How Does a Home Equity Loan Work?

One of the most popular ways to access your home equity is to use a home equity loan (HELOAN). Home equity loans are structured as second mortgages, but they can be especially beneficial for homeowners looking to finance large expenses. Since the loan is secured by the home itself, HELOANs often come with lower interest

Tax Haven: 9 States With No Income Tax

Many corporations and individuals strive to maximize their money by avoiding paying local and federal taxes. A tax haven is a jurisdiction known for offering minimal tax liabilities, like states without income taxes. While often associated with far-off islands, the concept of a tax haven is also relevant in the US. Some large businesses and

Short-Term Mortgages

The right mortgage program can help you save money while paying off your debt. While 30-year mortgages are the most common, they’re not your only option. Some borrowers may prefer a short-term mortgage that allows them to save on interest payments and pay off their home in a shorter amount of time. Unfortunately, short-term mortgages

Average Home Appreciation Per Year

When considering homeownership, many people think beyond the immediate shelter and security of a home and lean into its potential as an investment vehicle. Over the years, real estate has proven to be a cornerstone of many wealth-building strategies and a tangible asset that carries emotional and practical value. The dynamics of the housing market,

When Is Your First Mortgage Payment Due?

Understanding your mortgage can be challenging, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Among the many details to consider, understanding when your first mortgage payment is due is crucial to budgeting and overall financial planning. If you’re wondering, “When is my first mortgage payment due,” you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll

Fair Market Value (FMV) Explained

When buying or selling a house, you’ll often hear the term “fair market value” or FMV. This concept plays a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of real estate transactions. FMV helps sellers understand the right price point to list their property to ensure it’s neither overpriced nor undervalued. On the other hand, buyers use

Understanding Notice of Default: How to Respond to a Default Notice

Homeownership is a significant investment. Like all major financial commitments, you’ll have several responsibilities when you own a home, primarily keeping up with mortgage payments. Due to unforeseen circumstances, such as job loss, medical emergencies, or other financial hardships, homeowners may struggle to make timely mortgage payments. In these situations, they might encounter terms like

What Does a Mortgage Broker Do?

Finding the right lender and loan program can be a daunting experience for home buyers. A mortgage broker who acts as an intermediary between lenders and buyers can help guide you through the mortgage process and secure the most favorable loan terms. A mortgage broker’s role goes beyond facilitating the mortgage transaction. They understand a

Freddie Mac vs. Fannie Mae: Key Differences Explained

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored entities (GSEs) that play pivotal roles in maintaining the mortgage market’s liquidity, stability, and affordability. By purchasing and guaranteeing mortgages from lenders, these entities ensure funds are consistently available for individuals wanting to buy homes, refinance their mortgages, or tap into their home’s equity with home equity loans.

Are Home Warranties Worth It?

Every homeowner knows the peace of mind that comes with insuring their property. However, beyond the typical homeowner’s insurance, you may want to consider another type of coverage—the home warranty. Unlike homeowner’s insurance, a home warranty is a service contract that covers repairs and replacements of major appliances and home systems that break due to

Ultimate Guide to VA Loan Termite Inspections

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presents an attractive financing option for veterans and their families looking to purchase a home. However, there are specific standards and procedures that must be met to ensure the quality and safety of the property being purchased. Unfortunately, the VA’s guidelines and a lender’s criteria can make VA loans

Mortgage Rate Lock Extension Fees Explained

A home is the largest investment many people make in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, the mortgage process can be complicated for first-time homebuyers who don’t know its intricacies and the different steps. One such intricacy is the mortgage rate lock extension and its associated fees. When you’re in the process of getting a mortgage, the interest

Understanding APR vs. Interest Rate

For borrowers, understanding the distinctions between APR vs. interest rate can mean the difference between securing an affordable loan or spending too much in the long run. Both APR and interest rates determine how much a loan will cost. However, they encompass diverse aspects of that total cost. When comparing APR and interest rate, it’s

House Titles: The Ultimate Guide

Being a property owner comes with many responsibilities and documents. One concept people misunderstand is the house title. A house title is the legal notion of property ownership and signifies the bundle of rights associated with a piece of property. Unlike the deed, the house title isn’t a document. Instead, it’s a concept that encapsulates

When to Notify a Mortgage Company of Death

When someone passes away, their family is typically responsible for tying up their loose ends, which may mean contacting the mortgage company. If a deceased individual had an outstanding mortgage balance, notifying the mortgage company as soon as possible can clarify the next steps concerning the property and repayment of debts. Failure to communicate this

House Hunting Tips and Shopping Guide

Finding a new home to purchase is a monumental step in anyone’s life. Anticipation, excitement, and a little bit of stress come together to help you find your perfect home. Each home has its own story, charm, and potential pitfalls. House hunting is more than just finding a place to rest after a long day

Appraisal Gaps: What You Need to Know as a Home Buyer

Understanding various terminologies and processes that can affect your mortgage loan can significantly influence your experience when buying and owning a home. An appraisal is an integral part of the mortgage process because it establishes the market value of a property, which lenders use to determine the loan amount. The appraisal also protects buyers, ensuring

Foreclosure Definition & How to Avoid It: A Complete Guide

While homeownership has many benefits, homeowners must realize that investing in property always carries risks, especially if they fail to fulfill their financial obligations. Foreclosure is something no homeowner wants to go through. However, understanding how foreclosure works can help safeguard one of the most important assets you’ll ever own — your home. Foreclosure is

Underwater Mortgage: What It Is and How to Deal With It

Understanding the housing market can be challenging for anyone, including homeowners. An underwater mortgage is a term homeowners should know to help them avoid some of the negative consequences that can come with owning a home. While there are plenty of benefits to homeownership, there are also some risks involved. Although no one wants to

Blended Rate Calculator

Our blended interest rate calculator is designed to take the guesswork out of the equation. With this calculator, you can effortlessly input multiple interest rates, and it will instantly provide you with a unified, single rate. The blended rate calculator makes understanding interest rates easier, ensuring accuracy. Keep reading to learn how to calculate a

401(k) Withdrawal for Home Purchase

Saving for a down payment and being able to prove your ability to repay a home loan can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a traditional job. However, alternative options exist, depending on your unique financial situation. If you have a 401(k) retirement account, you may be able to tap into it as income

How to Buy a House With Low Income

Are you wondering how to buy a house with low income? Buying a house with a low income can be a significant challenge, particularly with existing mortgage requirements and the competitive nature of the housing market. On the other hand, low income houses are available, and income-based loans can make it easier for people with

What Is the Adjusted Basis of a Rental Property?

Investing in rental property is all about making money. Unfortunately, earning on a rental property means paying taxes on your income. Knowing key financial metrics about your rental property can help you estimate how much you’ll owe during tax season. The adjusted basis is one of the most important metrics for calculating your tax burden.

Conventional Loan Requirements

Conventional loans are the most common type of mortgage product. Unfortunately, they can be more difficult to qualify for due to stringent requirements that can prevent some types of borrowers from achieving their dreams of homeownership. Conventional loans are provided by private lenders, they’re not backed by government agencies. Instead, the requirements for these loans

How to Make a Cash Offer on a House

If you are looking to forgo a traditional mortgage, it is possible to become a cash home buyer if you have the finances or credit score to do so. Whether you have proof of the funds in your bank account or you want to work with a financing company to make a cash offer on

How Long is a Pre-Approval Good For?

A mortgage pre-approval is one of the first steps you should take after making the decision to buy a home. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval letter gives you negotiating power when shopping for homes and shows sellers you’re a serious buyer. Unfortunately, your mortgage pre-approval letter won’t last forever. So how long is a pre-approval good

What Is Tappable Equity?

For many, a home is the most significant investment they’ll make. But what’s the point of investing in a home if you don’t use that investment to better your life? According to Black Knight, total mortgage holder equity topped $16 trillion again in June of 2023, with tappable equity – the amount that can be

What Are the 3 Types of Reverse Mortgages?

With a reverse mortgage, you can grow your income with a loan you don’t have to repay until you sell the property or pass away. These types of loans are great options for retirees who meet the eligibility requirements. Learning about the different types of reverse mortgages that are available can help you find the

A Guide to MCA Loans

A merchant cash advance (MCA) loan is a type of lending that is based on the average value of credit and debit card receipts taken in by a business. Merchant cash advances typically have a short application process, no credit check requirements, and are typically approved in 1-3 days. While there may be times where

Bank Statement Loan Calculator

Becoming a homeowner is a big step, and you must be financially prepared. Asking yourself, “How much house can I afford?” can help you determine whether you’ll qualify for a loan based on income, debt obligations, down payment, housing expenses, available funds, loan terms, and more. Use our bank statement loan calculator to help you

Can You Sell a House With a Mortgage?

If you already have equity in your home but you need to relocate or are interested in purchasing a new home, you may want to sell a house with a mortgage that hasn’t yet been paid off. Fortunately, this is entirely possible and many people go through the process of selling a house with an

How Much Are Closing Costs?

Buying a home is still a huge part of the American dream. Nevertheless, to achieve this goal, your actions must be anchored in reality. Closing costs are one of the most commonly overlooked parts of purchasing a home. Unfortunately, many prospective homeowners fail to fully calculate closing costs and incorporate them into their home buying

How Long Does It Take to Refinance a House?

You can refinance your mortgage to fund home improvements, pay college tuition, or accomplish other financial goals. However, if you’re on a timeline you might be asking yourself, “How long does it take to refinance a house?” It can take up to 45 days or longer depending on the type of loan you opt for

What Credit Score Is Needed to Buy a House?

Are you thinking about purchasing a house in the near future? If so, you have probably heard that there are a lot of factors that will influence your potential mortgage interest rate, and one of them is your credit score. If your credit score is too low, you may not even qualify for a mortgage.

Mortgage Pre-Approval: What You Need to Know

When shopping for a house, it helps to know how much you can afford to spend. A mortgage pre-approval helps you understand how much of a home loan you may qualify for and gives you more power when making an offer on your dream home. The mortgage pre-approval process works similarly to getting a mortgage,

Is Property Tax Deductible?

When you purchase a home, you’ll be required to pay various fees, such as homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Property taxes are paid to local governments to fund essential services like schools, police, and fire departments. Unfortunately, depending on where you live and the value of your home, property taxes can be costly. Paying property

Debt Consolidation Calculator

If you’re looking for ways to get out of debt, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with paying off debt and keeping their finances in good shape. Debt can even have a negative impact during the mortgage underwriting process and make it harder to purchase a home. However, it can be difficult to manage multiple


A home is often one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes the various costs of taking out a mortgage. Apart from your monthly mortgage premium, you’ll be responsible for everything from closing costs and administrative fees to mortgage insurance. The type of mortgage insurance you may be responsible for

A Guide to VA Loan Points

VA loan points are the same as loan points on a conventional mortgage, but they may not be as advantageous as they may seem. The act of buying down points is one of reducing the amount of interest you pay. The general rule of thumb is that you can lower the interest rate by an

Tax Benefits of Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate can help you build wealth over time while expanding your portfolio with new opportunities. In addition, the tax benefits of real estate investing make it even more appealing for new and veteran investors alike. Tax deductions for rental properties are one of the most significant benefits of investing in real estate,

Do VA Loans Have Mortgage Insurance?

It can be tough to save up for a down payment, but VA loans offer an alternative since you may not have to put any money down at all if you meet the eligibility requirements. However, down payment is only one of the costs associated with buying a home. Another cost home buyers have to

USDA Loan Pros and Cons

Homeownership can be expensive, but with the right mortgage, you can save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. With so many options available for borrowers, home buyers may forget about government-backed programs like the USDA loan. USDA loans are guaranteed by the Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan program from the US Department

VA Forbearance Guidelines: What You Need to Know

Many homeowners have been facing hardship over the last few years related to the pandemic, which has caused severe impacts on their finances, particularly in making mortgage payments. To aid them, the CARES Act was introduced, extending relief to a broad spectrum of homeowners, even those possessing VA loans. Below, we’ll delve into the guidelines

What is an Asset Depletion Mortgage & Is It Right for You?

When most people think about home loans, they’re thinking of conventional loans. These loans have strict income verification guidelines, allowing underwriters to verify a borrower’s income in only a few ways — with W-2s, tax returns, and pay stubs. However, not everyone has these documents, or they may not accurately reflect their full income. Some

What Is APR on a Loan?

Taking out a loan costs money. When you take out a loan, you’ll see various terms on your paperwork that can help you estimate your total costs, such as interest, APY, and APR. Knowing what these terms mean can help you determine if a loan or credit card is right for you based on your

Does Forbearance Affect Getting a New Mortgage?

If you struggle to make on-time mortgage payments, you may qualify for forbearance. While you’re in forbearance, you won’t be expected to pay your mortgage, but it may impact your financial health in the future. Many people entered a forbearance program during COVID-19 that allowed them to remain in their homes without worrying about mortgage

Home Equity Line of Credit

Leveraging the equity you’ve built up in your home can help you pay for large expenses at a lower interest rate than other types of debt like personal loans or credit cards. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a second mortgage that allows you to start using your home’s equity to increase cash

The VA Loan Pre-Approval Process

Both veterans and active military service members can qualify for a VA loan if they meet the minimum qualifications. If you’re hoping to buy a home with a VA loan, then consider getting pre-approved for a VA loan as one of the first steps in the lending process. With VA home loan pre-approval, you can

How to Calculate ROI on a Rental Property

Investing in rental property can help you grow your wealth, but it also comes with a different set of responsibilities than any other type of real estate investment. When you invest in rental properties, you’re responsible for everything from handling tenant issues and maintenance requests to calculating your return on investment (ROI) to ensure you

100 Percent Disabled Veteran Home Loan

The VA loan allows for 100% financing for eligible borrowers. Active duty service members, veterans, and surviving spouses can apply for a VA loan with zero percent down. Of course, there are additional fees involved with home loans, such as closing costs. But, there are several benefits for disabled veterans that make the VA loan

Can You Buy a House With No Money Down?

You can buy a house with no money down when you use certain types of government-backed mortgages. The federal government offers no-money down loans through different agencies in order to encourage homeownership among certain populations and areas of the country. You may be eligible to take advantage of these government-backed loans, provided you can qualify

Real Estate Investing for Beginners

Investing in real estate has major benefits, like growing your wealth and passively generating income without getting a second job. There are many ways to invest in real estate, including house flipping, rental properties, REITs, syndication, and online investment platforms. Real estate investing for beginners can initially seem daunting, but once you get the hang

VA Loan Calculator

VA loans are government-backed home loans created for military members, veterans, and military spouses with a validated Certificate of Eligibility. VA loans offer numerous benefits, such as low VA loan rates, zero money required for a down payment, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirements. In addition, the Va loan process is relatively simple if

How to Get a Mortgage

Most home buyers need a mortgage to afford their dream homes. Unfortunately, getting a mortgage for the first time can be intimidating. However, once you’ve gone through the process once, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to get a mortgage in the future. Knowing how to get a mortgage will ensure you have all

Second Mortgage vs Refinance

With a second mortgage or refinance, you can tap into your home’s equity to increase your cash flow, pay off debt, or afford large purchases. But which option is right for you? When comparing a second mortgage vs. refinance, you should consider your goals. With both options, you can leverage your home’s equity. However, with

VA Restoration of Entitlement

VA entitlement is a benefit veterans are eligible for that allows them to get qualify for a VA loan. Entitlement is available to veterans who meet certain requirements, which include at least 90 days of active-duty service. In the event that you default on a VA loan, you typically lose your VA entitlement. Have you

VA Debt Consolidation Loans for Veterans

If you are drowning in debt and barely making your minimum monthly payments, it may be time to consider a VA debt consolidation loan. When you have equity in your home, the VA loan process makes it possible for you to cash in on the equity in your home so that you can pay off

How to Sell Your House

Having a stress-free home selling process is crucial for anyone wondering how to sell their home. Most people don’t want to invest too much time or money into the process and often choose to work with professionals to help them sell their homes. Unfortunately, selling a home is complicated, and there’s a lot the homeowner

A Guide to NINA Loans

Investing in real estate can help you passively build wealth over time — whether you purchase a primary residence or an investment property. If you’re like most buyers, you need a mortgage loan to help you purchase a home, but there are so many options available that finding the right one can be challenging. Conventional

2/1 Buydown Calculator

A 2/1 buydown mortgage is a type of mortgage that allows the borrower to reduce the amount of interest paid during the first two years of the mortgage. It’s similar to buying points that reduce the interest rates but typically lasts for a period of two years. You could potentially save a lot on interest

What Are VA Non-Allowable Fees & Who Pays Them?

When you take out a home loan, you’re subject to closing costs, which can significantly impact your home-buying budget. However, if you’re purchasing a home using a VA loan, there are rules about allowable and non-allowable fees, which can help lower the costs you’re responsible for. VA loans were created to help eligible service members,

What Is a VA ARM Loan?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) backs mortgage loans taken out by eligible service members and veterans who obtain financing through the VA home loan program. In doing so, eligible borrowers are able to take full advantage of a number of benefits, including no down payment, competitive interest rates, and lower VA loan closing

VA Loan Limits

Buying a house can be both an exciting and a stressful experience. For most home buyers, the process of securing funding for their dream home is one of the more stressful parts of the experience. For active-duty military members, reservists, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides backing on mortgages

A Guide for Military First-Time Home Buyers

For members of the U.S. military, there are programs available to assist with lowering the cost of homeownership. These programs, through the VA, provide reduced down payment requirements, lower interest rates, and other benefits for first-time home buyer military personnel. Although you may have previously owned a home, working for the first time through the

Documents Needed for Mortgage Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage makes it easier for you to buy a home because the seller knows that they can close more quickly. In order to get pre-approved, you need a set of documents to show a lender that you’re capable of fulfilling the terms of a mortgage. This gives you an advantage against

Joint VA Loan: What It Is & How to Get One

For those who have served in the U.S. military, VA loans are a mortgage benefit that can help you get a home. Backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, these no-down-payment required loans offer generous terms that make them very attractive for first-time home buyers and individuals searching for new home financing. To be eligible

What Do Underwriters Look for on Tax Returns?

If you have ever applied for a mortgage, you probably know that there is a tremendous amount of documentation that goes into the process. One of the most common questions people ask is whether they need to provide tax returns as part of their mortgage application. While this isn’t always the case, there is a

How Long Does It Take to Get a VA Loan?

Are you considering purchasing your dream home with your first VA loan? If so, you may be wondering how long it takes to close on a house with a VA loan. With most lenders, you can expect your VA loan to close anywhere between 40 and 50 days. However, when you work with an experienced

What Is a VA Statement of Service?

Eligible veterans, active duty service members, and surviving spouses may be eligible for a VA loan, with benefits like no down payment requirements, lower credit scores accepted, and less stringent lending criteria. VA loans are guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which reduces risk to lenders. In addition, since the VA guarantees

VA Loan Debt-to-Income Ratio Guidelines

In the last several decades, VA loans have helped military members, veterans, and their families achieve their dreams of homeownership. VA loans are backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and offered by private lenders, allowing eligible borrowers to take advantage of benefits like no down payment and lower credit score requirements. Eligible veterans,

VA Loan Occupancy Requirements

Obtaining a VA loan is a way for active duty service members, veterans, and their spouses to take advantage of numerous benefits unavailable through any other loan program. A VA loan provides the borrower with a loan without requiring a traditional down payment or private mortgage insurance. Additionally, there are few closing costs that come

Can You Get a Home Loan Without a Job?

Being unemployed and not having a full-time job can hurt your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. That’s because two major deciding factors for lenders when reviewing a mortgage application are your income and job history. Unfortunately, not everyone has those. Some individuals don’t have full-time jobs because they work for themselves as freelancers

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Mortgage Underwriting Process

Applying for a mortgage can be confusing for first-time home buyers, but once you’ve gone through it once, you’ll be an expert. There are several steps to getting financing for your dream home, but one of the most important is the mortgage underwriting process. The mortgage underwriting process determines your eligibility and dictates whether you’ll

Stated Income Loans

Applying for a mortgage is a significant moment that means you’re ready to buy a house. Unfortunately, many home loans have strict lending criteria that prevent trustworthy borrowers from securing financing for a home or investment property. Over the years, the mortgage industry has evolved, creating more loan opportunities for borrowers of all types, including

Non-Conforming Loans: A Complete Guide

When you’re ready to buy a house and learn about the mortgage process, you’ll come across various terms that seem intimidating and confusing. Terms like “conforming” and “non-conforming loans” can make applying for a home loan even more confusing and daunting. However, knowing the difference between these types of loans can ensure you make the

Understanding Your Mortgage Statements

If you have a mortgage, you’ll receive your statement every month with crucial information that tells you how much you owe. Unfortunately, most people set up automatic payments and forget about their mortgage statements, never even reading them. Unfortunately, ignoring the information on your mortgage statement can be a mistake. This piece of paper tells

Leveraging DSCR Loans for Airbnb and Other Short-Term Rentals

Short-term rental properties can help you build wealth over time, and thanks to the popularity of Airbnb, becoming a real estate investor is easier than ever before. A short-term rental with regular bookings can outperform long-term rental properties like apartments or single-family homes. Additionally, you can expect your home’s value to increase in value —

How to Get a Loan Without a Job

Being unemployed can be stressful for the average person. Not having a job often means having little to no income, and you may require a loan to help you get through a difficult time and pay your bills. But can you get a loan without a job? There are several loans with no job requirements.

If You Have a High DTI, What Can Happen?

When you apply for a mortgage loan, you must meet the lender’s criteria for approval. Your income, job history, debt, and other financial factors will play a role in eligibility, loan approval, and loan amount. You’re not disqualified from securing a home loan if you have debt. Instead, lenders compare your debt to your income

Are VA Loans Assumable? Pros & Cons

Investing in a home or property is not always as simple and straightforward as applying for a loan or reaching out to a mortgage company near you. In some instances, the property you are interested in may have a VA loan attached to it. A VA loan, or a Veterans Affairs loan, is a loan

The VA Loan Process Timeline

Veterans put their lives on the line to help us protect this country, and they deserve all of the assistance they can get when it comes to buying a house. Fortunately, they have access to an option called a VA loan. This is a loan that is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which