What’s the Best Home Loan Option for Me?

As a homebuyer, your mortgage is specific to your situation and lifestyle. There are many different factors to consider when thinking about which home loan option is best for you. While one buyer may be comfortable paying a 20% down payment, another buyer may need down payment assistance. How long you plan on living in your home can also play a role in which type of home loan to choose. We will give a brief overview below of some options, but it is best to reach out to one of our loan officers for the full breakdown.

One loan option to consider is a fixed-rate mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same for the entire life of your loan. This offers a predictable monthly payment for a term of 10-30 years. This type of loan is best suited for a buyer than intends to stay in their home for a long period time. Highlights of a fixed-rate mortgage are

  • Interest rate security
  • Monthly payment stability

Another option to consider is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). An ARM is a mortgage in which the interest rate is adjusted periodically based on an index. An ARM is a good option for buyers who are planning to move into a different house within the next few years. Depending on the type of ARM, the interest rate and monthly payment will fluctuate every adjustment period. An adjustment period is the period between each rate change, such as 5/1 – meaning the first rate reset takes place after five years and continues to reset each year for the life of the loan. Highlights of an adjustable-rate mortgage are:

  • Low starting interest rate
  • Lower monthly payments during the initial term

Buyers who need assistance with up-front fees may consider Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Loans. State Housing Finance Agencies offer state specific programs to residents who need help purchasing a home. These programs can be in the form of a loan or grant, and assist with closing costs, down payment, and even student debt relief. Highlights of DPA loans are:

  • Lower amount of money required up-front
  • State specific programs to assist most buyers

First Home Mortgage offers a variety of loans that can meet your needs. While reading about different loan types online is a great way to get started, to know exactly what option is best for you, it is wise to talk to a mortgage professional. Get in touch with a First Home Loan Officer near you to fully outline your situation and goals and tailor a plan.

What Causes Home Prices to Fluctuate?

The median sales price of a house in the United States is currently between $188,900- $279,500. There is such a large price range because many different factors can play into a home’s sales price. If you are looking to buy or sell soon, keep the following factors in mind when determining costs.

The price of a home can vary depending on the location. A more populous area, like a downtown neighborhood or a highly sought after suburb, can boost the sales price because there is a high demand of borrowers wanting to live there. A less popular area, or even an up-and-coming neighborhood, may show lower home prices, even if the homes are similar in size to those in more expensive areas.

The season may also have an impact on home prices. Once the spring buying season starts heating up, there will be a larger demand for homes to purchase. Prices may also increase because there is a higher chance the home will be bought. With a hot buying market, bidding wars may ensue, which can also increase the price of a home. In colder seasons home prices may decrease since less people are shopping for a new home. Since the demand is low, sellers may consider a lower price tag, giving way to a better deal for borrowers.

A strong or weak economy can also impact home prices. When a strong economy is present, individuals and families may have a more secure financial mindset. With this in mind, buyers are more likely to feel comfortable obtaining a larger mortgage, which could lead to higher home prices. In an unstable economy, prices tend to be lower.

If you aren’t sure whether now is a good time to buy a new home, get in touch with one of our loan officers to learn more about the current market. We are happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

Sprucing Up the House for Spring

Open those windows and turn off the heaters, warmer weather is on the way! Winter has faded, and the trees are starting to bloom, spring is finally upon us. Warm weather fans rejoice!

As spring season is setting in, it’s a good idea to make a home maintenance checklist of items to prep your home for the new season. Spring cleaning isn’t just for the inside of your home. Check out the tips below that will help prepare the inside and outside of your home.

Inspect the Roof

Winter weather can cause havoc on your home’s roof, whether it’s damaged from ice or snow. With “April Showers” on the way, it is important to inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles which can lead to leaks. A leaky roof can cause havoc on your wallet if you ignore it.

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While we hope you will never have to rely on these items, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working condition and have fresh batteries.

Check Water Drainage and Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to leaks, which in turn will lead to water damage. Save your future self some money by clearing out your gutters and getting rid of any dirt and debris that piled up over the year.

Clean Up the Lawn

Properly maintaining and servicing your lawn mower and other lawn accessories will ensure they last longer. Also, remove any sticks and debris from the yard before mowing. Add new mulch to the garden for a fresh new look.

Service the HVAC Unit

Although you should do this more than once a year, servicing your HVAC unit is a spring must-do. Cleaning any dirty filters and making sure the unit works properly can save money on your AC bill each month, especially when the summer heat sets in.

Window and Door Treatment

Clean and inspect windows, doors and screens. Fix any cracks in windows or doors and patch up any holes in your screens. On cooler nights, you can open the windows in your home and turn off the AC to help reduce your electric bill.

Fix the Cracks

Inspect your driveway and sidewalks for any cracks that occurred during the winter months. Repairing these issues early on will be easier and more budget friendly for you rather than waiting until it becomes a major problem.

FED Says No More Hikes

Recently, the Federal Reserve decided to hold interest rates steady and indicated that no more hikes will be coming this year. This is very encouraging to homebuyers looking to purchase a new home or to refinance their current mortgage.

Mortgage rates have been hovering around their lowest levels in more than a year, which in turn has seen an increase in the number of mortgage applications recently. Lower mortgage rates could potentially mean lower monthly payments for homebuyers, and less total interest spent over the life of the loan.

If you previously purchased a home with a high interest rate, it may be a good idea to speak with your loan officer to see if refinancing would be beneficial to you. You could save monthly and even possibly pay off your mortgage sooner. With the current low mortgage rates, the Refinancing Index was at its highest rate since January 2016.

Since mortgage rates have been so favorable the past few months, it is forecasted to be a strong spring buying season. With the current low rates and the abundance of products and programs First Home offers, it is possible to get a great deal on a home this year! Please reach out to a loan officer near you to discuss all your options.

Scotsman Guide Top Originators of 2018

The Scotsman Guide has released their tenth annual Top Originator rankings for 2018. This guide provides the most comprehensive, intensely verified list of the top-producing mortgage professionals of the nation.

The rankings include not only the originators who are closing the most dollar volume and the most loans, but also the leaders in niche areas, like Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.

We are excited to announce that First Home Mortgage Corporation had a total of 7 Loan Officers represented in this year’s rankings! Check out the list below to see which categories were represented by our branches:

Top Dollar Volume (Crofton, Bethesda)
Most Loan Closed (Crofton)
Top FHA Volume (Annapolis)
Top USDA Volume (Hollywood, Dunkirk)
Top Women Originators (Annapolis, McLean)

For the entire list of the Scotsman Guide Top Originators of 2018, click here.

Congratulations to all our Loan Officers on this outstanding achievement!

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