Tips to Simplify Home Loan Process

Tuesday, March 28 at 09:20 AM
Category: Personal Finance
Are you looking for ways to simplify and reduce the stress of the home loan process? Check out these tips to help you do just that!

Disclose All Assets: Loan officers regularly run into situations where a little extra verified funds can make the difference in a loan approval. When applying for a loan, borrowers sometimes forget equity in assets such as vested interest in retirement plans, automobiles or other real estate that may help to approve a borrower.

Timely Response: Another “big” issue loan officers face is timeliness of response for documents. It’s imperative borrowers realize returning requested documentation immediately is integral in a successful and stress free transaction, especially with the mandated time frames for review.  

Verify Funds:
Funds used to close, including cash, will need to be seasoned, verified or tracked to be utilized in the home-buying process. 

Closing Times: Real estate agents, lenders and other service providers are faced with quick closing times on a regular basis. And while sometimes this is unavoidable, all parties should understand the potential pitfalls that can result. In many cases, problems can be avoided if all parties had a slightly longer closing time frame. Items to consider when determining a closing time: 
  • Sellers and buyers scheduled time frames regarding things such as: scheduling moving companies, closing on other homes, weather delays, utility transfers, holidays and others. 
  • Documentation, contractual obligations, and negotiations when inspection and repairs are required. Weather delays may significantly impact a closing date while waiting for work to be completed on or around the exterior of a home. 
  • New rules that allow additional time for review of initial disclosures, estimates, closing costs and closing statement review. 
Although there are legitimate reasons for an expedited closing date, giving all parties the time they need to successfully complete their responsibilities, will help avoid unnecessary stress on buyers and sellers.  

Servicing Your Loan: When you get a mortgage, you may think the lender will hold and service your loan until you pay it off or sell your home. That’s often not the case. In today’s market, loans and the rights to service them often are bought and sold. In many cases, the company that you send your payment to is not the company that owns your loan. So it’s important to know who may ultimately service your mortgage, upfront, in the mortgage process. At Arvest Bank we service 99% of our mortgage loans so what starts here, stays here.   

All parties involved in a real estate transaction, if informed and understand these issues, can bring tremendous value and provide a stress-free customer experience. It reminds me of a couple things my grandmother use to say, when quality is important or I was faced with an important task – “Haste makes waste,” and, “A job worth doing, is worth doing right.” Words to live by! 

Tags: Financial Education, Home Loans, Mortgage

Arvest Reaches Mortgage Milestone

Thursday, January 05 at 11:25 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Bank's mortgage division makes company history in 2016!

Arvest Bank announced Jan. 3 its mortgage division originated more than $1 billion in purchase-money mortgage loans in 2016, the first time it has done so in its history.

Arvest announced in September it had originated more than $1 billion in mortgage loans – both purchase-money and refinances – for the 14th consecutive year. Steven Plaisance, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvest’s mortgage division, said passing the $1 billion mark in purchase-money loans alone is a testament to Arvest’s mortgage lenders and a good indicator of healthy local economies within the bank’s footprint.

“We couldn’t have reached this remarkable milestone without the dedication and expertise of all our mortgage lenders, assistants and our operations team,” Plaisance said. “Additionally, low interest rates have helped many people realize the dream of buying their first home, their dream home, or something in between. We’re always happy to help provide the opportunity for people to improve their lives through the purchase of a home.”

As of Dec. 28, Arvest had closed a total of 6,170 purchase-money loans with total loan value of $1,001,191,628. In 2015, Arvest closed a total of 5,931 purchase-money loans with total loan value of $941,340,727.

“Mortgage interest rates remain one of the best deals going, and thus we are very excited about the 2017 purchase-money market despite the recent rate movement,” Plaisance said. “We urge everyone to keep in mind historical mortgage rates as we move forward.”

Arvest is unique among most local lenders in that it services 99 percent of its mortgage loans, meaning that customers make their payments to Arvest and deal with Arvest for any needs after their loan closes.

Tags: Home Loans, Mortgage, Press Release

5 Indicators it’s Time to Remodel Your Home

Monday, July 18 at 10:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

With changes in taste, technology, style, needs and family size, your current home may not be the best fit for your family. Here are five indicators it’s time to remodel your home.

  • Love/hate relationship. Do you have some things you love about your house but other things you hate? For example, do you love the kitchen size but wish you had more counter space? Or, do you love your location and neighbors but wish you had an extra room? You don’t have to necessarily move if your current home isn’t fitting all of your wants or needs. Consider remodeling so you can add to the things you already love about your existing home.
  • Not green. If you’ve lived in your home for awhile, or you moved into an older home, you may have appliances and other home features that aren’t energy efficient which means it’s probably negatively impacting your energy bills too. The fix could be as simple as upgrading your appliances and light bulbs. Or, you could choose upgrades that are more involved. Remodeling your home can kill two birds with one stone by making your home energy efficient and save you money in the long run. 
  • Stuck in the past. It’s easy to feel like trends change so quickly, you just can’t keep up with them. However, at some point you’ve got to update your home. If you’re still sporting carpeted bathrooms, blonde cabinets, popcorn ceilings, floral wallpaper borders or wicker furniture, it’s time to remodel!
  • Inefficient use of space. Is a standard home design not fitting the current needs of your family? For example, do you have an unused formal dining room, or are you using one of your garage bays as a place to play pool? The attention to remodeling will be worth it when you make your space more usable.  
  • Fluctuating family size. Whether your home is filling up with more children, aging parents or adult children coming back home with their own families, your current home size may be too big or too small for your needs. Rather than suffer in discomfort or go home shopping, consider remodel to get just the space you need.
After weighing the pros and cons of a home remodel, don’t stress about financing. Now’s the time to remodel your home to fit your family’s wants and needs!

Tags: Home Loans

Brexit Triggers Drop in U.S. Mortgage Rates

Wednesday, July 13 at 10:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

The window for home buying and refinancing is good for consumers.

LOWELL, Ark. – Great Britain’s recent decision to secede from the European Union is impacting the United States’ housing market with a significant drop in interest rates.

The British exit, commonly referred to as Brexit, prompted the rate of a 30-year fixed mortgage to drop to an average of 3.41 percent, compared to where it stood a year ago at 4.08 percent. According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Freddie Mac, it’s the lowest such rate since May 2013. In addition, the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage recently dropped to 2.74 percent, compared to 3.2 percent last year. 

“Mortgage rates were already low for potential homebuyers and this drop creates an even better opportunity for them to save money and secure an even lower rate when purchasing or refinancing a home,” said Steven Plaisance, President and CEO for Arvest Bank Mortgage Division. “We’re seeing a lot of activity, and cases where refinancing is saving some customers more than $200 per month.” 

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports a 14.2 percent increase in mortgage applications following the drop in interest rates that was triggered by the Brexit vote.

This renewed activity in the U.S. housing market comes at a time when the industry has seen low inventory and higher home prices. Industry leaders are hopeful that the recently adjusted rates will continue to spark more activity, as homeowners decide to act quickly.  

“There is no way to predict how long these rates will remain, or in which direction they will go next,” Plaisance said. 

Homeowners considering refinancing typically find it to be advantageous when they can get an interest rate that is three-quarters of a percentage point, or more, below their current fixed rate.  

Tags: Home Loans, Mortgage, Press Release

Getting a Loan and Choosing a Lender: What You Need to Know

Wednesday, July 06 at 09:30 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Preparation is key to navigating today’s housing market. The American Bankers Association offers the following tips to help prepare potential homebuyers.

Know your own financial situation
Before you begin the home loan application process, determine what you can realistically afford. Take into consideration your credit score, how much debt you currently carry and what type of down payment you are prepared to make. While it’s not required, getting pre-qualified before any home purchase is a good idea since many sellers are requesting some kind of pre-qualification documentation prior to negotiating the home sale.  

Have your documents ready 
While each bank may require different documentation, you may be required to furnish the following information depending on your employment and financial situation:
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Financial statements (one that is less than 60 days old)
  • Copies of additional monthly payments such as car loans, credit cards, and student loans
  • Any other information (such as proof of additional income) you think will help your banker to positively evaluate your credit request positively.
Review the basics
Knowing the fundamentals of the home loan process is an excellent way to prepare to choose the right mortgage. Make sure you are familiar with interest rates, loan terms and additional fees associated with buying a home. 
Compare quotes
Beyond the interest rates, there are closing fees and points and commissions. You will want to compare these for all the lenders on your list. There are several calculators available online that will help you determine which loan provides the best value.
Choose a trusted lender
Get references from family and friends and do your research. Call your local Better Business Bureau and ask if it has had complaints about any of the lenders you are considering. Keep in mind, federally insured banks are required to operate under a high level of regulatory supervision. A fully regulated bank may be your best choice. 

Read between the lines
Slick TV ads, telemarketers or door-to-door salespeople will often offer fast, easy loans for houses, cars and home repair but not disclose all of the details. In some cases the interest rate quotes may include an origination charge so at first it may look attractive, but keep in mind it will cost an origination fee. Read the fine print. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Ask questions
When in doubt, ask for clarification from your lender. Discuss how long the loan process will take, how you will communicate – by phone or email, and who will service your loan. 

Information courtesy of American Bankers Association.

Tags: Financial Education, Home Loans, Lending and Financing, Mortgage

Prices, Inventory Make Home Equity Borrowing an Appealing Option

Thursday, June 23 at 09:10 AM
Category: Personal Finance

The combination of low inventory and rising prices in the residential housing market is spurring an increase in homeowners utilizing the equity in their existing homes rather than purchasing new ones.

According to the National Association of Realtors, there was 4.7 months of housing inventory for sale in the U.S. in April, meaning it would take that amount of time for every house on the market to sell at the current pace of sales. A market is generally considered balanced when there’s five or six months of inventory.

The low inventory has resulted in increasing prices for many homes on the market. According to David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee for Standard & Poor, U.S. home prices in April were up 5.3 percent over the previous 12 months, more than twice the rate of inflation.

These developments have caused a growing number of homeowners to upgrade in a different manner, such as remodeling or making other home improvements. To do so, many homeowners are using tools like a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

A HELOC essentially is a home loan that allows the homeowner to borrow against the equity in their home, using their home as collateral. Home improvement is the No. 1 reason homeowners pursue a HELOC, although they are used for other reasons such as funding major purchases or expenses.

With mortgage rates expected to rise in the coming years, a HELOC can be an increasingly attractive reason to not buy a new home. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s May 10 prediction is that rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will rise to an average of 4.5 percent in 2017 and 5.2 percent in 2018.

In today’s housing market, the definition of “new” is left in the eyes of the homeowner, and investing in and updating an existing home is a viable option as the inventory of “move up” homes remains tight.
Tags: Financial Education, Home Loans

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