You hear about interest rates on the news, but what does it really mean and how may it affect your financial decision-making? Interest rate is a fee you are charged for borrowing money as a proportion of the total loan. This is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of the loan. Interest rates are important to consider when planning for a mortgage and yet, are just one of many important factors to consider. Do not confuse interest rate for “A-P-R.” The annual percentage rate is a broader measure of the cost of a mortgage because it expresses the true cost of borrowing money over time. Third party fees, discount points and certain other closing costs affect the APR. This is a great tool to utilize when it comes to comparing overall fees charged by different lenders across varying loan programs. Looking at interest rates and A-P-R’s, an interest rate can determine how much you will pay on a monthly basis based on the loan amount while an A-P-R can provide you with clues as to what fees are included in the loan terms. And even still, these 2 factors alone do not tell the whole story. Learn about mortgage money. The details matter… Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

In real estate, negotiating the asking price for a home is common practice. Naturally, sellers want to achieve the maximum value of their home while buyers hope to have a price fall within their budget. Your real estate agent serves as your negotiation advisor and helps find the right price… They effectively determine what you are most comfortable with offering. It’s important for homebuyers to have all of their financial ducks in a row before they make an offer. This includes completing the pre-approval process and obtaining a letter from the lender identifying your loan details…essentially how to make an offer. The strategy is dependent on several factors. Type of loan – dollar amounts for purchase price or any credits you might request to cover costs and prepaid expenses. Remember, you have the right to negotiate everything. This includes the home inspection, especially if there is a laundry list of repairs that need done. Maybe even most importantly, avoid LOWBALLING an offer. This may alienate the seller and result in future offers being rejected. Get educated. We can teach. Ask us how.

Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

It is true that contributing more down payment money on a home reduces your monthly payment. But, not by as much as you’d think. Most times, it is best to consider the payment difference for every $1,000 borrowed. And in today’s market, depending on the loan terms, the difference in monthly payment for every $1,000 borrowed ranges between $5-7 in monthly payment. So, when considering available funds for cash to close, one should also consider the payment. For example, an additional $20,000 contributed for down payment reduces monthly payment approximately $100-140. So, consider how long it takes to save $20,000. It may be more important to pay less down and have additional funds in your reserves for items such as furniture, appliances, repairs – or just simply a financial safety net in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. Not all loans function the same way… Get educated about mortgages and the associated monthly loan payments. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

Age is just a number. When you turn 18, you can vote, get a tattoo and even buy a house. Maybe even consider putting a tattoo of your house on your body! Kidding aside…

Purchasing a home is a smart move and a great investment for your future. And remember, it’s also a big commitment. If you can’t see yourself in a home or even in your area for more than five years, you may want to consider other alternatives such as renting. And then again, that five-year time period is not a hard and fast rule. The longer you are in a home, the more time it has to appreciate. So, starting at a younger age might make sense – just like normal investing. When considering a home, you’ll want to evaluate your current financial situation. It can be tough to know exactly where you stand. Ask yourself the following questions: What is your income? Do you have a low amount of debt relative to your income? Do you regularly contribute to a personal savings? We can help you answer those questions, among others. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information.

Until recently, if you wanted to build a home, you needed to qualify for the construction loan, and then re-qualify for the traditional mortgage loan. However, that’s not the case now. AmeriFirst Home Mortgage is proud to be the first lender in Ohio to offer the USDA Rural Development New Construction Loan. This construction-to-permanent mortgage option provides qualified homebuyers the chance to receive 100% financing and no cash down payment is necessary to build a home that is a single-family residence. The loan finances the cost of the construction as a short-term interim loan. Once construction is completed, it converts to a traditional 30-year long-term permanent mortgage, and there is no need to qualify for a separate loan. Hence, the construction-to-permanent lingo. OK, what’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one. To be eligible, the desired property simply needs to fall within certain geographical areas, outside the city limits of major metropolitan centers. Prospective borrowers also have additional credit and income requirements to meet. Get qualified for USDA New Home Construction. Learn about it today. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. Contact your financial representative for more information. Not all borrowers will qualify.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to mortgage loans. A variety of loans with different terms, unique purposes, associated costs and timelines encompass the portfolio of mortgage loans that are available. Essentially, there are a lot of loans to choose from. Mortgages are typically defined as either government-backed or conventional and in some cases, a portfolio loan is an option. Lenders have a variety of loans to offer for this reason. A conventional home loan is one that is not insured or guaranteed by the federal government. Home renovation loans, like an FHA 203k loan, give buyers or current homeowners access to capital to repair and/or improve an existing home. These loans can come in the form of mortgages with built-in fixer-upper funding. Traditional loans with an escrow repair account are also available. And believe it or not, USDA or Rural Development New Construction mortgage loans provide qualified homebuyers the opportunity to receive 100 percent financing with no cash down payment required to qualify. So imagine building your new, single-family home in the country and not being required to have a down payment. Discover the loan options right for you and your family. Be strategic with your decisions. Ask us how.

*Not intended as real estate, accounting or investment advice. AmeriFirst does not offer portfolio loans. Contact your financial representative for more information. Not all borrowers will qualify.

While location and price matter, simply offering more money won’t guarantee your offer is the winning bid. Get pre-approved and be confident in your strategy. Have a few different financing options. Larger earnest money deposits are also worth considering. And doing so shows more sincerity with proceeding and good faith should the seller accept your offer. We also suggest lender interview phone calls. Calls like this add a more human element versus simply having a letter proving your buying abilities. A seller can trust that the deal will go through, even if the offer is for less due to familiarity with both the lender and your background. And as the saying goes, while money talks, a higher offer price is not the end-all when buying a home. Be smart. Learn about your options. Ask us how.

When buying a home, I suggest having representation. Using a buyer’s agent, your realtor, helps ensure negotiations go smoother. The listing agent represents the seller. And while many realtors are savvy enough to represent both sellers and buyers simultaneously, you might feel more comfortable and get better results working with your own agent. Also, a listing agent’s motivation is to sell the home, while a buyer’s agent is likely to help you find “the right home.” Buying a home is likely the biggest decision of your life. So, get the help of an expert – saving both time and money. Would you like a good realtor? We refer them often. Simply ask us for one.

Believe it or not, even after both parties sign the purchase agreement, it’s still not 100% final. Negotiations may continue for several reasons. Issues may arise during a home inspection that could change the original offer. If the seller asks for an expedited closing, you may be able to amend your offer, moving quicker to the finish line. Closing timelines and possession of the property are points of interest and impact negotiations. And let’s not forget, the appraisal results can also alter the original offer. The property’s value and/or condition affect financing options, and having several options for financing like renovation lending is helpful in these circumstances since property condition is not an issue with renovation loans. The more options you can consider when buying a home, the more likely you are to have your offer remain valid all the way through closing. Get educated. We can teach. Ask us how.

*From helping you understand our renovation loans to answering your questions, we can explain the program and how it can fit your needs. Normal restrictions and guidelines apply. Not all borrowers will qualify.