First Home Mortgage named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work

Every year, The Baltimore Business Journal invites nominations for “Baltimore’s Best Places to Work”.  Employees are invited to complete a survey to provide feedback and consider their workplace as one of the “best”. This year, First Home Mortgage was proud to be listed as one of “Baltimore’s Best Places to Work” in the large company category.

“As a company, we are always looking for ways to improve our workplace. I cannot say enough about the commitment I see from our employees, not only at our corporate office, but all of our branches. It’s important that we foster that commitment by allowing open communication and fun incentives within the First Home offices.” commented Dave Waters, CEO.

Despite working in different locations, First Home employees are given opportunities to come together and collaborate. Each year, a “Town Hall” is organized where accomplishments, challenges and questions are voiced throughout the company. “It’s important that our employees feel they have a voice, that they can share their thoughts for serious consideration”, explains Steven Lagana, President.

Outside of the office, there is continued tradition of ‘Family Night’ during baseball season. Every year, employees and their families are invited to attend a baseball game together. An entire section is reserved for the company and attendees are given funds for parking and refreshments. First Home encourages group activities such as these to help employees bond outside of the office.

In addition to team building, training for new hires is another major incentive for First Home. The company has invested a lot of time and resources to new employees, specifically those who do not have experience in loan origination

“First Home Mortgage strives to be a ‘teaching company’. We provide training to employees who are new to the field, giving them an opportunity to fully understand our business. There is plenty of room for growth here. Our goal is to foster the future leaders of the mortgage industry.” said Lagana.

Looking toward next year, First Home Mortgage continues to keep their employees engaged, unveiling a Company Match program for charitable giving and expanding incentives to keep all employees happy at First Home.

Click here to read the full article naming all the BBJ’s 2016 Best Places to Work winners.

(Pictured above: Dave Waters, CEO, Chris Louglin, 203k/Renovation Loans, Irv Klein, CFO and Kyle Waters, Secondary Marketing & Operations)

Which mortgage is right for you?

As a home buyer, you may have more options than you realize to finance your investment. Figuring out which loan suits your needs requires research. Your Loan Officer will assess your situation and walk you through all of your choices. However, it never hurts to have a head start by knowing the basic categories of home loans.

Fixed Rate or Adjustable Rate Mortgage

A main deciding point during the loan process is the type of interest rate you prefer. You can have a fixed or adjustable interest rate. Here are the highlights of each loan type to help you decide.

Fixed-Rate: this mortgage is considered the “standard” choice for most borrowers. It allows you to pay off your home loan in a set amount of years (usually a term of 10, 15, 20 or 30) with the same interest rate. Although overall housing market rates may go up or down, your specific rate will be unchanged. Usually, a shorter term comes with a lower interest rate. For example, a 10 year fixed will have a lower rate than a 30 year fixed. This is an attractive choice for those looking for stability. You will know, for the most part, what your monthly mortgage payment will be. If rates start to drop significantly, you could have the option to refinance.

Adjustable-Rate (ARMs): while a fixed-rate stays true to its name, so does an adjustable-rate mortgage. ARMs offer a lower initial interest rate, but it might fluctuate after a certain period of time. A hybrid ARM is represented by fractions, such as 5/1, indicating the rate will adjust after 5 years, then continue to reset each year. Since the initial lower rates are appealing, ARMs are best for borrowers who don’t plan on staying in their home for long.

Conventional or Government-Backed Loan

The next step in selecting your mortgage is whether you quality for a conventional or government-backed loan. The main difference between the two is the institution which insures your loan.

Conventional mortgages are insured by private companies, while government-backed loans are subsidized by the government. FHA, VA, and USDA loans are all government-backed loans and available to eligible borrowers. This means there are certain guidelines home buyers must meet in order to receive funds. These loans usually help those with limited savings for a down payment, served in the military, or are looking to buy in a rural area. Your Loan Officer is well versed on these guidelines and can determine whether you qualify for a government-backed loan.

Conforming or Jumbo Loan

One of the final choices you can face as a borrower is deciding between a conforming or jumbo loan. These loan types concern the location and price of the home you are shopping for.

Conforming loans follow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conforming guidelines, which include maximum loan amount – how much you can borrow to purchase your home. These loan limits differ depending on where you are located and can change from year to year. In some counties the loan limit for a single unit is $417,000, while in others it can be upwards of $625,500.

Jumbo loans allow higher loan amounts not allowed by standard confirming programs (Fannie and Freddie). These loans are also known as “non-conforming” mortgages. If you are in the market for a  home that is priced higher than your county loan limit, you might want to ask your Loan Officer about a Jumbo loan. The requirements to qualify for this type of loan are different than a conforming loan, so it’s important to discuss whether it is fitting for your situation and home buying goals.

Review the highlights of the different loan types here, and become familiar with mortgage terms as you start the loan process. Your Loan Officer is available for any questions you may have.

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