Top down payment assistant options for your new home [Real Estate Insider]

Aug 19, 2020 10:34:43 AM / by Mark Gorman posted in Mortgage, Home Loan, financing contigency, financing, mortgage payments, buying a home, homebuying, loan


If you're a first-time homebuyer or simply worry about being able to afford a down payment on a home, you're not alone. Reaching the suggested 20% down payment mark can be a tall task, and seem like an insurmountable obstacle to some. If you live in the St. Louis or St. Charles area, you no longer have to worry about finding enough money in your budget to put down a healthy down payment for a house you're interested in buying.

Read More

Buying is better than renting: 5 benefits only homeowners enjoy

Aug 11, 2020 6:00:33 PM / by George Blezard posted in Mortgage, homebuyers, home ownership, payments, buying a home, rent


You don't throw away money on rent

As you make payments on your mortgage, you generate equity from your home. Equity is the value of the house that you truly "own." The more money you spend on your home, the more money you accumulate through equity. The equity you have is considered capital or a financial asset. As the value of your home increases, so does your capital.

For example, if you purchase a home for $150,000, you could put a $20,000 down payment on the house. This means that you will get a $130,000 loan and have $20,000 equity in the home. Once you reach 20% equity in your home, you can apply for a home equity loan or refinance your mortgage to seek a lower interest rate. A lower interest rate means you will pay less in the long run. When renting, you don't see these same financial benefits because you don't own the property. You simply pay the monthly fees that the landlord requires. 

You can have a fixed mortgage cost

When renting, landlords have the power to increase renting costs every year by large or unexpected amounts. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you can be sure that your payments won't increase year to year. Even a 3% increase in rent over 10 years will significantly increase your fees. You can be confident that your mortgage will stay the same if you decide to buy a home instead.

It can be scary to commit to making a payment for 15-to-30 years. A fixed-mortgage can take some of the stress away by ensuring your payment won't change even if your income does. Buying a home can actually take away some of the uncertainty that you might see when renting. Remember when we talked about equity? A fixed-mortgage rate pays off principal and interest at the same time. So, as you pay off the principal, you are increasing your equity (or capital). 

It's your property!

It's a great feeling when you buy a home. To call a property your own is a great accomplishment. When you buy a house, you don't have to worry about what rules the landlord might want you to follow. You have the right to create a home that fits your lifestyle, and the only person you have to answer to is yourself!

As a homeowner, your property becomes a clean slate. You can turn your property into anything you want! Anything from painting walls, landscaping, and renovations are fair-game when you own a house. You have the freedom to turn a house into a "home," and it can be exactly how you want it. When renting, you don't have the same luxuries and freedoms that come with owning a home. Typically, you have to gain permission from your landlord to make any changes and are often shot down. Being a homeowner allows you to make the property into anything YOU want.

Potential tax benefits

Homeownership is so good for the economy that the federal and state governments reward individuals who own properties and pay interest on a mortgage. Some homeowners can deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage from their taxes. This is unique to homeowners because renters don't pay a mortgage; therefore, they don't get any tax benefits.

Sometimes you have the option to deduct property taxes up to a certain amount as well. These benefits vary depending on your location and personal situation. Still, you definitely won't have these options if you rent. 

You get the community experience

Buying a home helps connect you to a specific neighborhood and community. Renters tend to live in different houses or apartments after a year or two. Also, if you live in a rental area, you may see different neighbors moving in and out all the time. As a homeowner, you can put down roots in your community and build relationships with people in your neighborhood. You can get involved in your local community by volunteering, throwing block parties, or helping at the local school. Buying a home can help create more vibrant, fuller relationships with your community and a gives a stronger sense of home.

See Homes Now

We know the idea of owning a home can be stressful. It’s always important to consider the factors unique to you and your needs. If you feel like you’re ready to make the jump to buying a house, HomeTraq can help you find your dream home!

Read More

Truth about Down Payments - Should I pay 20%? [ Real Estate Insider ]

Aug 5, 2020 4:43:58 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, home purchase, negotiation, housing demand, financing, misconceptions, loan


Have you ever wondered how much you need to budget for a down payment on a house? Like any other large purchase, lenders usually want a down payment to secure a mortgage. The amount may vary depending on your situation, but most financial advisors recommend paying at least 20% of the value of the home as a down payment. First of all, this reduces the total amount you have to borrow. It also covers Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) fees that lenders would include if you don't reach the 20% down-payment threshold.

Read More

What the Federal Reserve's COVID response means for home buyers

Apr 30, 2020 8:51:13 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, Home Loan, housing market, mortgage payments


Zero percent rates? Did you hear that right? You did, but they’re federal fund rates, not mortgage rates. 

On March 15, the Federal Reserve lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to ¼ percent, in an attempt to combat the current toll the coronavirus outbreak is having on the economy. The Federal Reserve explained, “This action will help support economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation returning to the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective.” 

Zero percent mortgage rates, on the other hand, are indeed too good to be true—they don’t exist. Federal fund rates apply to overnight loans between U.S. financial institutions, not individual borrowers. 

Mortgage rates are dependent upon bonds which are traded thousands of times per day, and mortgage lenders typically update rates daily, while the Fed meets eight times per year (plus in the event of an emergency, such as the COVID-19 crisis) to discuss potential rate changes.

Despite mortgage rates not being completely slashed, as some misunderstood, they were still historically low, causing mass amounts of refinance applications to come through lenders’ doors. Those massive number of mortgages needed to be sold to investors in order for lenders to continue functioning, which in some instances overwhelmed investors, causing prices to fall and consumer rates to rise. Some lenders actually raised rates slightly as a means to slow down business.  


A recovery plan in the works

The Federal Reserve then announced it would buy unlimited amounts of treasuries and agency mortgages in order to help the credit markets. “While great uncertainty remains, it has become clear that our economy will face severe disruptions. Aggressive efforts must be taken across the public and private sectors to limit the losses to jobs and incomes and to promote a swift recovery once the disruptions abate,” the Federal Reserve explained, stating they’ll continue to purchase treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities. 


Where do mortgage rates stand? 

In early March, mortgage rates hit all-time lows, with the 30-year-fixed rate at 3.29 percent—the lowest average on record since Freddie Mac began tracking data in 1971—and have remained relatively low. While buyers strive to take advantage of these rates, competition will continue to increase, with inventory tightening and home prices rising. What can you do to help yourself stand out? 

A pre-approval* is a great place to start. In a matter of minutes, you can elevate yourself from the competition. Many of our lender partner's pre-approvals can be completed in 15 minutes or less.  You can also count on our lender partners to help you understand the ever-evolving market throughout this unprecedented and uncertain time. 


*“Pre-approval” means an automated underwriting system approval based upon credit information supplied by applicant and subject to the lender’s review of loan documents. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact lenders for current rates and for more information.



Federal Reserve

Mortgage News Daily

Mortgage News Daily

Housing Wire

Federal Reserve

Read More

Buying Second Home? Real Estate Pro [ 7 Insider Tips ]

Mar 19, 2020 3:35:35 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, homebuyers, homebuying, vacation home


In the market for a vacation home? Whether you’re dreaming of a beachfront paradise or a backcountry lodge, a second home can spice up your life. While it’s fun to think about warm winters and family reunions in the sand, purchasing a vacation residence is a huge financial decision. Here are 7 tips to keep in mind before you buy.

Read More

Financing and Obtaining Mortgage [Must-Know Real Estate]

Mar 17, 2020 4:02:24 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, Home Loan, financing


Mortgage Brokers/Bankers

Read More

The Essential Credit Check-List

Mar 6, 2020 12:03:35 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, Lending, Home Loan, Credit, credit profile, buying a home


The essential credit check-list for boosting your credit.

When it comes to obtaining the best interest rate and terms on a mortgage, good credit is critical. If you’re thinking about buying a home, the first thing you should do is ensure your credit score is in tip-top shape before you explore financing options.


Read More

Mortgage Shopping List [Pro Edition]

Mar 3, 2020 5:38:21 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, Home Loan, house hunting, STL


HomeTraq provides free resources, education, and training for home-buyers, home-sellers, realtors, and lenders. In this post we wanted to outline the must-know resources on your home-hunting journey. 

Below you will find all the relevant organizations and government websites that will greatly enhance your home-hunting experience.
The website for the Veterans Administration (VA) includes information and eligibility requirements for the agency’s loan programs. The website for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides information on the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage product and extensive background material on the homebuying process. The site of the Rural Housing Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information on their mortgage loan programs. The website of the National Coalition of StateHousing Agencies provides a directory of State Housing Agencies. The Mortgage Bankers Association of America is the trade group
for mortgage bankers. Its site includes some basic consumer information on the mortgage process. The National Association of Mortgage Brokers is a trade group. Its site includes a search feature to locate members in your area.

HomeTraq provides you with the superior home-hunting experience. Create a free account and tour any home within 3-5 minutes. A realtor will meet you there. No commitment. No payment. No obligation.


Read More

How to be a Professional Home-Owner

Feb 12, 2020 12:12:57 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, foreclosure, payments, mortgage payments, maintenance, emergency funds


It's right around the corner; The paperwork is done, the insurance is paid, you are moved into your new home. The power is turned on and the movers just set down the last piece of furniture. Finally, you have time to rest right?

You're almost there!

By following the expert's check-list provided by HomeTraq, you can guarantee that you manage your new home or property like a professional!



Mortgage Payment

Read More

6 Things You Can Learn About Credit Right Now!

Feb 8, 2020 7:48:17 PM / by Brett O'Daniell posted in Mortgage, Lending, millennials, Credit, Credit Score, homeownership, baby boomer


Whether you are a millennial just starting to think of possibly applying for a loan, or if you are a baby boomer getting ready to refinance your 3rd house, its always good to keep track of what is going on with your credit and your credit score. Here are some quick highlights as to why it is so important and how you can monitor one of your most important assets.

Read More

Get Email Updates

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

See all

Recent Posts