Need a Mortgage? Know Your Options

Monday, April 10 at 09:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance
Sometimes shopping for a mortgage can seem overwhelming. However, these five tips will help guide your search to find the best home loan to fit your needs. 
  1. Know what you can afford. Review your monthly spending plan to estimate what you can afford to pay for a home, including the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, monthly maintenance and utilities. Make sure you save for emergencies. Plan ahead to be sure you will be able to afford your monthly payments for several years. Check your credit report to make sure the information in it is accurate. A higher credit score may help you get a lower interest rate on your mortgage. 
  2. Know your options when comparing loan programs. Shopping takes time and energy, but not shopping around can cost you thousands of dollars. Find a lender and loan officer you’re comfortable with to give you the information to make informed choices. A loan officer can help you choose the loan that best meets your unique needs.
  3. Understand loan prices and fees. Many consumers accept the first loan offered and don't realize they may be able to get a better loan. Lenders and brokers consider the profit they receive if you agree to the terms of a loan with higher fees, higher points or a higher interest rate. Shopping around is your best way to avoid more expensive loans.
  4. Know the risks and benefits of loan options. Mortgages have many features – some have fixed interest rates; some have adjustable rates; some have payment adjustments; on some you pay only the interest on the loan for a while and then you pay down the principal (the loan amount); some charge you a penalty for paying the loan off early; and some have a large payment due at the end of the loan (a balloon payment). Consider all mortgage features, the APR (annual percentage rate) and the settlement costs. Ask your lender to calculate how much your monthly payments could be a year from now, and five or 10 years from now. Mortgage calculators* can help you compare payments and the equity you could build with different mortgage loans.
  5. Get advice from trusted sources. A mortgage loan is one of the most complex, most expensive financial commitments you will ever assume – it’s okay to ask for help. Talk with a trusted housing counselor or a real estate attorney you hire to review your documents before you sign them. You can find a list of counseling resources at NeighborWorks* and on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD)* website or by calling (800) 569-4287.
With some conscious effort and research, you can feel more confident in whom you select to finance your home loan needs.

Information courtesy of Federal Reserve. 

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Financial Education, Home Loans, Mortgage

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

Arvest Surpasses $1 Billion Mortgage Mark for 14th Consecutive Year

Thursday, September 15 at 08:30 AM
Category: Arvest News

Purchase-money loans continue to lead the way.

LOWELL, Ark. – Arvest Bank announced today its mortgage division has originated more than $1 billion in mortgage loans for the 14th year in a row. That includes both purchase-money and refinance loans.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer home financing solutions for buyers and refinancers as well,” said Steven Plaisance, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvest’s mortgage division. “The low rates have really provided a great opportunity for so many to improve their financial conditions or increase buying power and affordability.”

As of Aug. 19, Arvest had closed a total of 6,272 loans with total loan value of $1,010,992,848. In 2015, Arvest didn’t hit the $1 billion mark until Aug. 21.

“Forecasts for this year called for rising rates, so the lower-than-expected rates have definitely helped accelerate our volumes versus last year,” Plaisance said.

This is the third consecutive year in which purchase-money loans account for more of Arvest’s total mortgage loan volume than refinances. Through Aug. 19, purchase money loans accounted for 64 percent of the company’s total loan volume. That’s up from 62 percent in 2015. 

“Purchase-money activity has been very healthy in many of our markets, and that is a great indicator as to how the local economies are performing,” Plaisance said.

Through Aug. 19, 2016, Arvest made 3,956 purchase money loans with a volume of $647,758,817. That’s up from 3,830 loans and $608,529,062 in volume as of Aug. 19, 2015.

Arvest’s overall volume of $1,010,992,848 – on 6,272 loans as of Aug. 19, 2016 – is up from $994,827,519 on 6,285 loans as of Aug. 19, 2015. That’s a 1.6 percent increase over the same time last year.

The average loan size at Arvest as of Aug. 19, 2016, also increased compared to the same period last year, from $158,286 to $161,191, reflecting improving values in the real estate market.

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: Mortgage, Press Release

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

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