Thursday, May 21, 2015

Refinancing on a FHA Mortgage? Learn More About the FHA Streamline Refinance

Home buyers are often drawn to the FHA mortgage program due to the low interest rates, low closing costs and generally attractive loan terms. However, there will come a time when many who have an FHA mortgage want to refinance. After all, refinancing a mortgage may allow you to tap into your home’s equity, obtain a lower interest rate, extend or shorten the loan term or achieve other goals you may have. While there are different loan programs that you can use to refinance, many are taking advantage of the FHA streamline refinance program.
What Is the Streamline Refinance Program?
This is a unique program that is ideal for many who have an FHA loan, and this includes those who are underwater with their home mortgage. This program is unique from others because there is not an appraisal requirement. Many other programs will offer a certain loan amount based on the current value of the home. When the value has declined since the purchase, it may not be possible to refinance with other loan programs. However, this program is well-suited for such situations, and this is regardless of the amount your home has declined in value.
The Loan Terms
While one of the key selling points relates to the fact that the FHA Streamline program does not require an appraisal, there are other selling points. This is a low closing cost option that can close quickly. In addition, you can choose from a fixed or adjustable rate, and the interest rates are very competitive. There are also 15 and 30-year terms available. Plus, the loan program does not have a prepayment penalty associated with it.
Many borrowers also appreciate the fact that the underwriting process is streamlined, and there is minimal documentation required. In fact, there is not an income or employment verification in place, so you will not have to worry about providing all of the paperwork that would need to provide for other loan programs.
If you have an FHA loan currently, you may be ready to refinance. Regardless of what your current goals are for refinancing your existing mortgage, it is smart to learn more about the FHA Streamline mortgage. With how easy it is to qualify and how attractive the loan terms are, this may be the loan program that you have been searching for. You can speak with a home loan specialist about the qualification requirements and loan terms that you may qualify for under this program.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How Often Should I Refinance the Mortgage on My House?

Refinancing a home mortgage can provide you with an incredible range of benefits. These include everything from reducing your mortgage term and lowering your payments to helping you more effectively build equity or pulling equity out to use for beneficial purposes.
One common question that many homeowners ask is how often a mortgage should be refinanced.

While there are benefits associated with mortgage refinancing, there are also some points to consider before you rush into the process.

Think About Refinancing Costs

First, remember that each mortgage application will come with refinancing costs. These costs can equate to thousands of dollars in some cases, and they include title fees, lender fees, appraisal fees and more. While these costs can typically be rolled into your home mortgage so that you pay very little money out of pocket, these costs will increase the amount of debt that is tied to your home. When you refinance too often, you are negating the effects of principal reduction from your mortgage payments.

Consider the Impact On Home Equity

Some who refinance will choose a straight rate and term refinance, and they will not pull equity out of their home. Others, however, have the desire to tap into their home equity to pay off other debts, to fix up the house, to take a vacation or for other purposes. When you tap into your home equity, you may be having a negative impact on your financial situation, depending on how you use the funds.

Pay Attention To Your Final Loan Payoff Date

Before you make a decision to refinance your home mortgage, you also should focus on your loan payoff date. Many have the goal in mind of paying off their home mortgage before they retire, and this is especially true if you plan to live in the home after retirement. On the other hand, you may have plans to sell the home and downsize before retiring. Your refinance will adjust your loan payoff date, so this is an important factor to weigh into your decision making process.

You may know people who refinance every year, and you may know others who have owned their home for a decade or longer without ever having refinanced. Each homeowner has a unique financial situation.

 You can speak with a mortgage professional to learn more about the specific benefits associated with a refinance loan, and you may also keep these points in mind to assist with your final decision.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How Does Making Lump Sum Payments Affect Your Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

Periodically, many homeowners will receive a rather sizable amount of extra cash. This may be from a bonus from your employer, a refund on your tax return, a financial gift from a relative or something else altogether.
While there are many things that you could do with your windfall, you may be wondering if paying down your mortgage balance is a wise idea. Before you make your decision about how to spend your money, consider what impact your lump sum payment will have on your mortgage.

Reduction in Principal Balance
The most obvious impact a lump sum payment will have on your mortgage is an immediate reduction in your outstanding principal balance. Your regular monthly payments will be applied to both interest and principal, but your lump sum payment will be entirely applied to principal. Therefore, you can expect to see a rather sizable reduction in the outstanding balance, and this will have a direct and positive impact on your home equity.

More Effective Loan Payments
Your required monthly mortgage payments will not be lowered when you make a lump sum payment on your mortgage, and you will still be required to pay the same amount to your lender going forward. However, your interest charges for each month will be adjusted. Your interest will be calculated based on the current loan balance each month. A reduction in outstanding balance lowers the interest charges. This essentially makes your future payments more effective at debt reduction and reduces the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your loan.

A Change to the Final Loan Payment Date
Because each of your loan payments going forward will be more heavily weighted on principal reduction than on interest charges, the fact is that your final loan payment date can be accelerated. Depending on the amount of the lump sum payment that you make toward your mortgage, this may be an acceleration of a single month, several months or even several years in some cases.
Making a lump sum payment on your mortgage can have many positive effects for you. However, this is not the only option available when deciding how to spend or invest your windfall. Compare these benefits against the benefits of other options available to determine your best course of action. You may also speak with a mortgage professional for personal guidance and assistance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Considering a Reverse Mortgage Loan? Here’s What You Need to Know

Many seniors are looking for a great way to improve their financial situation. Retirement or semi-retirement can be difficult due to the need to live on a fixed income. Some may have been unable to save enough in their working years, or their accounts may have been hit hard by stock market fluctuations. Still others are feeling the effects of inflation and the rising costs of medical care and general living expenses.

 If you are like many other seniors, you may not have a huge cash reserve available in your bank account, but you may have a sizable nest egg in your home. The fact is that you can tap into that equity without selling your home or taking on a mortgage payment when you apply for a reverse mortgage.

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that utilizes the current equity in your home and allows you to make regular withdrawals from that equity. Rather than you making a payment to a lender, the lender pays the funds to you. The terms of the mortgage are structured so that you will never owe more money on the reverse mortgage than the home is worth. When you decide to sell it or when your estate is being settled, the home’s value will pay off the mortgage. This essentially gives you the opportunity to keep living in your home and to use the equity now when you need it most.

Is This The Right Option For You?

A reverse mortgage is not suitable for everyone, but it may be suitable for you. You can easily learn more about the amount of payments that you could receive on a monthly basis if you were to apply for a reverse mortgage, and you can consider how these payments would ease your financial concerns. This loan will decrease the amount of equity you have in your home over time. Therefore, if you have plans to sell your home later and use the equity for other retirement plans, you should carefully consider if the reduction in equity is feasible for your situation and goals.
One of the best steps that you can take is to learn more about this option. You will not know if a reverse mortgage is suitable for your financial needs and long-term goals unless you take the step of speaking with a loan agent.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Understanding the Key Factors That Affect Your Mortgage Interest Rate

When you initially start shopping for a home mortgage, you may be drawn to advertisements for ultra-low interest rates. These may be rates that seem too good to be true, and you may gladly contact the lender or mortgage company to complete your loan application. However, the unfortunate truth is that all too often, mortgage applicants are unpleasantly surprised and even disheartened to learn that they do not qualify for the advertised interest rate. By learning more about the factors that influence your interest rate, you may be able to structure you loan in a more advantageous way.

Your Credit Rating
One of the most important factors that influence an interest rate is your credit score. Lenders have different credit score requirements, but most have a tiered rating system. Those with excellent credit scores qualify for the best interest rate, and good credit scores may qualify for a slightly higher interest rate. Because of this, you may consider learning more about your credit score and taking time to correct any errors that may be resulting in a lower score.

The Amount Of Your Down Payment
In addition, the amount of your down payment will also play a role in your interest rate. The desired down payment may vary from lender to lender, but as a rule of thumb, the best home mortgage interest rates are given to those who have at least 20 to 30 percent of funds available to put down on the property, and this does not include subordinate or secondary financing. If you are applying for a higher loan-to-value loan, you may expect a higher interest rate.

The Total Loan Amount Requested
In addition, the total loan amount will also influence the rate. There are different loan programs available, but one of the biggest differences in residential loans is for very large loan amounts. The qualification for a jumbo loan will vary for different markets, but these loans qualify for different rates than conventional loans with a smaller loan amount.

While you may be able to use advertised interest rates to get a fair idea about the rate you may qualify for, the only real way to determine your mortgage rate will be to apply for a loan and to get pre-qualified. You can contact a mortgage lender today to request more information about today’s rates and to begin your pre-qualification process.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Missed a Mortgage Payment? How to Ensure It Doesn’t Affect Your Credit Score

If you pay attention to your credit rating, you may be well aware that a single late payment reflected on your credit report can result in a decline in your scores.
In some cases, the decline can be rather significant, and you will have to work hard to make regular payments over a period of time to show that you remain creditworthy and to rebuild your credit score.
It is far better to avoid late payments altogether than to deal with the stress and ramifications of a late payment on your credit report. If you have already missed the due date on your mortgage loan, you may be wondering what you can do to prevent this late payment from showing up on your credit report.

Contact Your Mortgage Company Immediately

Initially, contact your mortgage company to make payment arrangements and to discuss the situation. In some cases, a mortgage company may be willing to work with you on structuring a new arrangement for the payment to be made or you may even have a surplus in your escrow account that could be applied toward the payment.
You can also determine when they will report your late payment to the credit bureaus and how much time you have before you absolutely need to make the payment to avoid credit ramifications.

Make Your Payment Before The Next One Is Due

Generally, lenders will report late payments when they are more than 30 days late. While you may be assessed a late fee after the initial grace period has expired, you may not have technical late payment in terms of what credit reporting bureaus consider to be late. Generally, if you make your payment before the next mortgage payment is due, your late payment will not show up as a late payment with the bureaus. However, you do want to verify this with your mortgage company and work with them to bring your account current.

A late payment on a mortgage can have a substantial and negative impact on your credit rating, and it can take months or even years to restore your scores to their previous level. Rather than go through the effort to try to improve your score after the fact, it is best to avoid the late payment altogether. While you may have already missed a payment and may be required to pay a late fee, it may not be too late to avoid having this event reflected on your credit report.
Contact your lender today to learn more about your options and to make your payment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What Factors Determine Your Home’s Resale Value? Let’s Take a Look

There are several factors that will help you determine the value of your home when you want to sell it. Location, condition, layout, upgrades, and events relating to your home are all important when selling your home.

It’s All About Location
Anyone in real estate will tell you location, location, location is the first thing to consider when buying real estate. If your home is on a busy street, it’s going to be harder to sell unless someone is looking for that exact location.

If a buyer is looking to have a business inside the home, then having more exposure could be important. However, for a family, the most sought after location is in a cul-de-sac or dead-end street where traffic is kept to a minimum.

Your Home’s Condition Is Important
The home you are selling must be in excellent condition to ensure you get top dollar. Buyers are primarily looking for a home that is in move-in condition. If it needs painting, new flooring, a new roof, or new plumbing, it isn’t as desirable as a home that doesn’t need any work. Newer homes typically are in better condition than older homes, unless they have been well-maintained.

Your Home’s Layout
Is your floorplan functional? Most buyers prefer homes with open floorplans and ample kitchens, living areas, and bathrooms. Closets are also important as everyone needs storage space. The number of bedrooms a home has can also be important. Two bedrooms aren’t as popular or functional as three or four bedrooms. It’s also nice to have a flex room that can be a study, exercise room, or a formal dining room if need be. If a smaller home is well-designed, it can be easier to resale than a larger home.

Upgrades And Renovations
If you have an older home, but have upgraded the kitchen and bathrooms, then your home will be easier to sell. Updated appliances can also be a big plus when selling a home.

Natural Disasters And Other Events
If your home has been flooded, been through a fire, or damaged from wind or a storm, then that may cause the value to be less. If a buyer happens to talk to a neighbor who tells them a negative story, that may spook a buyer and cause them to look elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3 Easy Ways to Put Aside a Bit of Extra Cash So You Can Pay off Your Mortgage Faster

If your personal budget is similar to many other people’s budgets, your home mortgage payment is by
far the largest expense that you pay for each month. In fact, this payment may easily account for 20 or 25 percent or more of your take-home income. Understandably, you may be focused on trying to pay this expense off early. By focusing on this payment, you can build equity and may be able to achieve financial security more quickly. You simply have to find a way to put aside a bit of extra cash regularly so that you can make extra payments, and there are few easy ways that you can consider.

Use Your Tax Refund

First, if you are one of the many taxpayers who receives a refund each year, consider setting aside some or all of this refund to reduce your outstanding mortgage balance. Some taxpayers may have such a sizable refund that it can account for two or more mortgage payments each year. However, even a few hundred dollars extra put toward your principal balance will save you a considerable amount of money in interest charges over time and will have a wonderful effect on your balance.

Earmark Your Annual Bonus

If you are lucky enough to receive an annual bonus each year, you may consider using this to pay down your principal balance. While you may usually spend this money on extra holiday gifts or just add it to your spending cash, you can benefit more substantially when you contribute it to your effort to pay down your mortgage.

Use An Automated Draft To Create a Fund

Another great idea that will work well for all individuals is to create an automated draft from your checking account each month. You may set aside the funds in a special account, and you can make an extra mortgage payment from this account periodically. Another idea is to set up auto payments for your mortgage that are higher than the amount due. For example, you may establish auto payments that are $50 or $100 more than your scheduled payments.

Paying off your mortgage earlier can be a life changing event for you. Simply imagine how different your life would be if you were not responsible for this payment each month. The fact is that this could be your reality sooner than you think if you follow these tips. For the best results, apply two or even all three tips to your efforts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saving Up for Your First Home? Our Guide to Finding Ways to Save Your Down Payment Faster

If your goal is to purchase a home, you may find that it’s challenging to save up enough money for your down payment. While this is something that many first time home buyers struggle with, it is by no means insurmountable. By making a few simple changes you will be able to accumulate the funds you need for your down payment.

Keep Track Of Your Spending
One of the reasons why it can be difficult to save money is that you aren’t even sure of where your money is going. While you may be aware of major expenses such as rent, car payments and utilities, it’s easy to lose track of many of the smaller bills and impulse purchases. If you aren’t keeping a budget, you should begin as soon as possible. Software programs and apps such as can make this simple.

Consider If You Have Anything To Sell
You may be able to raise some quick cash by selling some personal belongings. Don’t part with something that will cause you regrets, such as a precious family heirloom. However, if you’re like many people, you probably have lots of items you no longer need. In addition to holding a garage sale, you could sell items such as jewelry, electronics, art or almost anything on eBay.

Refinance Credit Cards
Refinancing credit cards or any type of debt can help you save money on monthly bills. Balance transfers can often give you a more advantageous rate with credit cards. If you have a car loan, you may be able to find better terms with a different lender.

Find Another Source Of Income
In addition to finding ways to cut back on your spending, taking in some extra money every week can make it much easier to save up for that down payment. Perhaps you or your spouse could find time for a part time job. You might also consider starting a part time business, such as an online store that can be managed from home.

If you are creative about it, you can probably find many ways to save up for your down payment. You should also do plenty of shopping around when it comes to finding the best deal on a mortgage for your first home. Consult with a qualified mortgage professional to get an idea of what you can realistically afford.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Freelancing in 2015? Three Tips for How to Secure a Mortgage if You’re a Self-Employed Entrepreneur

If you are self-employed, either as a freelancer or as the owner of your own business, your income can fluctuate greatly from year to year. That can make it difficult to get approved for a mortgage, although there are some things you can do to improve your chances. Here are three tips for securing a mortgage if you are self-employed.

Make Sure Your Credit Score Is In Good Shape

While your ability to pay back a mortgage is the most important factor in approval, your credit score is a close second, and that goes for every borrower, not just those who are self-employed. If you have a credit score in the high range — something above 750 or 760 — it will help you get approved for a mortgage. To boost your score, make sure you pay all bills on time, pay down your debt levels and don’t make any new big purchases or apply for new credit soon before you apply for a mortgage.

Have a Large Down Payment

The more money a bank lends you to buy a house, the more risk it is taking in that the money won’t be paid back. If you are self-employed and considered a higher risk to begin with, one way you can alleviate some of that risk is to be able to put down a large amount of money. Putting down 20 percent is standard for a conventional loan, and you should be willing to contribute at least that much. Putting down at least 20 percent also will save you money in the long run, because you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance and you will pay less in finance charges over the life of the loan.

Have Significant Assets

One way to put a lender at ease about your ability to pay for a mortgage is to have significant reserves in the form of assets. If you have large amounts of money in regular savings, brokerage and retirement accounts, it offers a reserve for you to tap should your income take a dive. Other forms of property, such as personal and business property that’s paid off and has value, also help.
If you are self-employed and are thinking about buying a home, contact a mortgage professional to discuss your situation and to see if you will be able to qualify for a home loan.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Are You Ready to Make the Leap into Home Ownership? Here’s How You Can Tell

Are you ready to make that leap from living at home or renting to owning a home of your own? While everyone moves at their own pace, here are some signs that you can use to determine if it is time to own your own home. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you can use to justify your decision.

Are You Sticking Around?

If you plan on moving soon for a job or think that you won’t be in town much longer, it may be better to rent. However, if you are thinking about living in the same town or within the same county for years to come, it is time to put down roots.
The stability that comes with home ownership may make you more prepared for a marriage and/or a family if that is something that you want. This stability may make you more attractive if you are single and searching for a long-term relationship.

Do You Have a Steady Job?

Those who have a steady job and know that they have a stable salary may want to make the move to home ownership. As long as there aren’t any other major debts eating into your income, you can probably handle a mortgage and other costs associated with home ownership.
The equity that you build in your home can help you build wealth for the future if and when you want to retire. Your home may also make a great rental property in the future, which can help you diversify your portfolio and keep you solvent for years to come.

You Are Spending More Time Watching Television Shows Related to Home Ownership

You may have caught yourself recently watching shows revolving around people or couples who are looking for homes. You may also be watching programs dedicated to giving tips as to how you can upgrade your home. If you watch these shows frequently, it may be a sign that you are ready to move out on your own and take on the exciting challenge of being a homeowner.

Are you ready to be a homeowner in the near future? Only you can say for sure if it is time to make that leap. However, those who are looking for a long-term housing solution may be ready to make that move. For more information, it may be worthwhile to talk to a mortgage professional to see what you can

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tax Time is Upon Us: Learn About Tax Deductions and How to Write off Your Home Mortgage Interest

Much to the chagrin of taxpayers all over the country, the tax-filing season begins in January and runs through April 15 of each year.
As the current tax season approaches, it presents an opportunity to help tax-payers clarify their responsibilities and remind them of certain important tax deductions that may be available.

Filing Responsibilities

Every person in the United States is required to file their tax returns by April 15 so long as they have some form of qualifying income. Based on filing status, income and available deductions, tax-payers must file a 1040EZ, 1040A or 1040 (long-form for itemized deductions).

Qualifying income is generally defined as, but not limited to wages, commissions, miscellaneous income (rental, interest), investment income and alimony. These forms of income are reported on a periodic basis to the IRS and State governments by employers, banks, contract employers and/or other responsible parties.
The most common tax receipts that must be sent to tax-payers by January 31 are W-2s and 1099-Misc forms.

Calculating Taxes

While the IRS requires individuals to report all forms of income, they also allow certain living costs to be used as deductions to offset income in order to arrive at a “taxable income” number on which tax liabilities are calculated.
If a tax-payer’s deductions fail to exceed the combined statutory standard deduction (2014: $6,200 if filing single, $12,400 if filing as married couple, $9,100 if filing Head of Household) and personal exemption of $3,950 per dependent, they will want to file the 1040EZ or 1040A. If itemized deductions exceed this number, the 1040 becomes preferable.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

For a majority of tax-payers, the largest tax deduction available is usually mortgage interest paid on secured debt where the primary residence and in some cases second homes or rental property serve as collateral. In most of these cases, all interest paid during the year is deductible.
If the mortgages are large enough, the total interest paid will typically push the tax-payer into position to itemize deductions. It is important for tax-payers to read the rules related to mortgage interest deductions as they tend to be somewhat complicated.

Other Important Deductions to Consider

Once a tax-payer qualifies to itemize deductions, many other living expenses become deductible. Other prominent deductions include property taxes, charitable contributions, childcare costs, qualified moving expenses, certain work related expenses and certain medical expenses.
Prior to using any deduction, it is incumbent on the tax-payer to review deduction guidelines in order to determine applicability.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Three iPhone and Android Apps That Make Managing Your Mortgage Payments Quick and Easy

Your mortgage payment may be among the largest payments you make every month. While certainly
an important part of your budget, this payment is also critical to helping you build equity in your home because it attributes to mortgage principal reduction. Managing your mortgage payments can be challenging, but there are some incredible apps available for use with Android or iPhone smartphones that can simplify your mortgage management tasks.

Mortgage Mentor
This app is available for both iPhones and Android devices, and is designed to be compatible with all types of mortgages. It can calculate PMI for adjustable rate and variable rate mortgages, and it can help you to determine the true cost of a mortgage. Through the use of this intelligent app, you can track your account information in real-time, or you can manipulate the numbers to help you to make more thoughtful and intelligent decisions about your finances.

Loan Calculator Pro
This app is only currently available on iOS devices, but those with this operating system may want to download it today. It has some of the same capabilities as Mortgage Mentor, but it goes a step above and beyond by providing you with mortgage payment notification reminders. It also has a unique feature that allows you to set a final payoff date for your mortgage, and it will calculate how much money you need to pay per month toward your mortgage to accomplish this goal.

Bill Payment Log
The Bill Payment Log app is a unique program that can entirely replace the outdated manual entry checkbook balancing task. It is suitable for use with iOS, Android and even Windows. You can use it to monitor and track payments for all credit accounts, including mortgages. While it does not have the analytical tools associated with some of the other mortgage apps, those who are looking for an all-in-one app that facilitates bill payment tasks for all accounts, this may be a great option to consider.

Making your mortgage payments on time is important, but you also may need to know if you need to pay extra each month and what the effects of that will be. You may also be concerned about “what if” scenarios for your adjustable rate mortgage. There are numerous apps available on the market today that can help you to facilitate your efforts, and these are among the leading choices available.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tankless Water Heaters: The Pros and Cons of Going Tankless In Your Home

Large water heaters are unsightly appliances that home-sellers would rather hide. Although it’s not always possible to banish these structures, it is possible to replace them with a version that is not as
overbearing. Tankless water heaters have the potential to make one home stand out amongst the competition, but they do have some disadvantages along with the benefits.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Use Less Energy
Traditional water heaters continuously heat water that is just sitting in the tank, and this requires energy. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not heat the water until someone needs it. Therefore, they are more energy-efficient and cost less to operate.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Last Longer
Traditional water heaters will need to be replaced after about a decade, but tankless water heaters can last much longer. If someone is planning on purchasing a home with a new tankless water heater, he or she would not have to think about replacing it for about 20 years.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Are More Space Efficient
The typical traditional water heater is 24 inches wide and 60 inches tall. Tankless heaters save a lot of space because they are generally only 20 inches wide and 28 inches tall. They open up a lot of space, and this impresses buyers greatly.

Con: There Is Less Available Hot Water with Tankless Heaters
Although a tankless heater can provide a home with hot water only when it is needed, the amount is limited to a few gallons at a time. This will mean that more than one occupant in the home cannot take a shower at the same time. They will definitely not be able to do this while they run the dishwasher or the washing machine.

Con: Tankless Water Heaters Are Typically More Expensive
Tankless water heaters cost around $1,000 while the traditional version only has a price tag equal to $300 or $400. While this higher up-front purchase cost is a con, if you consider that a tankless water heater should last longer than a traditional heater you may end up saving a bit over time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FICO Scores: How Does Your FICO Score Impact Your Mortgage? Let’s Take a Look

Most people have heard the term FICO score, but some remain confused as to what it actually is and if it affects them when they try to obtain a mortgage. A few questions can be answered to help people understand how it can affect the amount of interest you pay on your loan.
What is a FICO Score?
A FICO score is a credit grade of a borrower, based on credit history as reported to 3 separate credit reporting agencies. It is based on a number of factors, including the amount of credit a person has, payment history, late payments, judgments, loan defaults and other factors.
A mathematical formula developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (thus the term FICO) is used to grade the credit risk the borrower represents. Scores range from 350 to 850. A score of 650 or better is considered good and a score above 750 is considered very good.

Does a FICO Score Affect a Mortgage Rate?

Mortgage interest rates are calculated in part, on the amount of risk the borrower represents. The higher the risk the borrower presents, the higher the interest rate the lender must charge to account for the risk. With FICO scores, the lower the score means a higher risk, and thus, less favorable mortgage terms. Those with low FICO scores may have difficulty finding a mortgage.
How much the rate will change depends on the lender. estimates that with current rates, a borrower with an average FICO score can expect to be charged more than 1.5 percentage points more than a borrower with an excellent score. Though the difference in interest may not seem to be much, it will add up over time.
For example, a borrower seeks a $200,000 mortgage on a 30 year fixed rate. Because they have an excellent credit score, they obtain a mortgage at 3.549%. Monthly principal and interest payments at that rate amount to $904 per month. Total interest paid on the loan will be $125,285 over the 30 year period.

Another borrower seeking the same mortgage has a lower credit score, in the average range. The borrower is offered the same mortgage but at 5.138% interest. The monthly payment will be $1094 per month and the borrower will pay $192,607 in interest. The difference in this case, between an excellent FICO score and an average score is $187 per month, $67,302 over the life of the mortgage.

Is a FICO Score Permanent?

No. A credit score will change depending on the borrower’s credit history. A borrower with a lower score can increase it over time by taking certain steps to improve it. Obtaining their credit report is the first step to improvement. It should be reviewed for accuracy, and incorrect entries should be reported. Outstanding judgments, if any, should be paid. Paying down revolving credit card debt also can help.

Visiting an experienced mortgage professional to discuss his or her current FICO score is another good start. The mortgage professional can discuss the effect it has on your mortgage rates and how to improve your score and put a borrower on the path to obtaining the best mortgage rate possible.