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Welcome Jacob Dickerson

We are pleased to announce that Jacob Dickerson has joined our team at United Mortgage. Jacob strives to not only help his clients get a loan, but to build a complete mortgage strategy for them. He understands that the loan process doesn’t end when you get the keys to your new home. It is part of a lifelong financial strategy to build wealth, and he is passionate about helping his clients implement that.

Jacob is a family man with two wonderful children. He grew up in a small town in northern Missouri, and moved to the Kansas City area following high school. Outside of work, he enjoys sports and traveling.

Please join us in welcoming Jacob to United Mortgage!

You may contact Jacob for your lending needs here


Meet Rashad Newton

We are happy to announce that Rashad Newton has joined the team at United Mortgage. A mortgage and loan professional for more than 15 years, Rashad has the knowledge and experience to help his clients make the best decision for their mortgage needs.

The financial aspects of home buying can be stressful and overwhelming—but they don’t have to be, not with a trained and caring professional like Rashad in your corner. Contact Rashad today at United Mortgage to start making your home-ownership dream come true.

We ask that you join us in welcoming Rashad to United Mortgage!

You may contact Rashad for your lending needs here


Welcome Sara Deere

We are pleased to have Sara Deere join our team at United Mortgage!

Sara brings over 10 years of residential mortgage experience, licensed in Kansas and Missouri. Her extensive experience in Conventional, FHA, HECM, Jumbo, USDA and VA home loan programs has made it possible for her to not only help over 1,500 clients get a home loan, but find the RIGHT home loan for their situation. Sara has a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Kansas. She has been a panel member at different seminars as a mortgage expert, and was a past contributor for a published book about the HECM mortgage product.

Sara regularly attends networking and cultural events throughout the Lake of the Ozarks community, and has served as Silent Auction chair for a local Lake area rotary golf tournament over the past two years. Sara was recently honored as one of the outstanding Rotarian volunteers of the year. She currently resides in Lake Ozark with her rescued Lab mix dog, and enjoys spending time running 5k races, playing tennis and golf, and traveling around the world.

Please join us in welcoming Sara!

You may contact Sara for your lending needs here


Meet David Wile

United Mortgage is pleased to welcome David Wile! David is a strong believer in family, faith, and the community, and his only goal is to provide a memorable and amazing customer experience. With David as your Mortgage Banker, you have an experienced advocate on your team.

David grew up in the Northeast and migrated west with his family to Kansas City. Along the pathway, he and his wife were compelled to do mission work south of the equator. Giving back to the greater good of the community was accomplished through leadership training.

Everyone knows that the purchase of a home ranks up there with the most important decisions you will ever make. If this is daunting and stressful, the good news is that there are good honest people out there to answer all your questions. David is one of these likable people who walks you safely side-by-side with your realtor through the front door of your brand new home.

Please join us in welcoming David!

You may contact David for your lending needs here


Mortgage FAQs for Agents

Real estate agents are an important part of the mortgage process. As an agent, you work with purchasers who have varying amounts of experience buying homes and acquiring mortgages. For the first-time home buyer, more support will be necessary to explain the different types of mortgages, the process of applying for a loan and financing a home. Kent Hackman of United Mortgage provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below:

 

What is the difference between a pre-qualification and pre-approval for my buyer?
Many home buyers believe that a pre-qualification is the same as a pre-approval. This is incorrect. A mortgage pre-qualification is an estimate only of how much a buyer can borrow. A mortgage pre-approval, on the other hand, is what every home buyer should obtain prior to looking at homes. A mortgage pre-approval is a written commitment from a mortgage lender. To obtain a mortgage pre-approval a buyer will be required to provide the same documents that are required when formally applying for a mortgage, such as W-2s, pay stubs, and bank statements. At United Mortgage we know your closings matter and we make sure your buyers have been pre-approved fully for you.

 

What documents will my buyer need?
Proof of income and assets for down payment, personal identification, and information about your credit history. If self-employed, up to 2 years tax returns will be required. What can the buyer do to avoid slowing down the process? Fully complete all required loan documents, be readily available to answer any questions from the loan officer, and avoid adding any new debt or changing jobs during the loan process.

 

How long does it take to get a mortgage?
The length of time it takes for a mortgage loan to get approved and closed will vary from lender to lender. United Mortgage strives to make sure loans are closed as quickly as possible, and even guarantee closing dates! When shopping around for mortgages, it’s extremely important to ask how long a mortgage lender will take to get their loans approved and closed. We are able to close loans in less than 30 days and guarantee your buyer’s loan request will be our priority.

 

Do all loans have PMI over 80%?
No. We have numerous loan programs that don’t require PMI or even reduced PMI rates.

 

Are you a Mortgage Broker or Direct Lender?
We are a direct mortgage lender which means we fund and control our loans throughout the entire loan process. We ensure that your clients get the best loan, and that the loan process is smooth for everyone involved. We believe that being a direct lender is the best way to ensure satisfaction for you and your clients.

 

What does APR stand for compared to the Note Rate for my clients?
Mortgage APR is the cost of the loan expressed as a percentage, taking into consideration different loan charges including interest. The APR is the true cost to the borrower for the mortgage assuming they keep the loan for the entire term. If they pay more to principal or refinance, then the APR will be affected accordingly. Consumers’ payments are based on the note rate and borrowers should be aware of inflated APRs, which would imply higher than normal fees.

 

Can United Mortgage guarantee we will close my buyer’s loan on time?
Yes!  Over 3 years ago, United Mortgage created an “on-time closing guarantee” to ensure just that, including a credit back of up to $500 if we don’t meet or exceed our guarantee.

 

Is there a fee charged to begin the application process for my buyers?
With United Mortgage, your buyers can apply for a home loan at no charge. With their permission, we will review their credit report and supporting documentation to ensure everything is ready to move forward!

 

How long is the pre-approval valid for my buyers?
As long as the information originally provided does not change, pre-approvals remain valid for 90 days. If information does change, such as income or debt, then we would need to pre-approve the borrower based on this information.

 

Can my buyer bring a personal check to closing?
Unfortunately no, they will need to bring certified funds, such as a cashier’s check from the account that was disclosed on the application. Many title companies will also accept a wire transfer for an additional fee.

 

Can a Veteran have more than one VA Loan?
Yes.  Under certain eligibility, the veteran can have more than one mortgage which could save a deal if trying to close before their other house sells.

 

What are the steps of the mortgage process?

1.) Prospective client contacts United Mortgage for pre-approval
2.) Loan officer gathers all required items for pre-approval and issues the pre-approval letter
3.) House shopping time!
4.) House Under Contract
5.) Loan application disclosures are compiled to get loan into underwriting
6.) The appraisal can be ordered once loan disclosures have been signed, and inspections go well
7.) Initial Underwriting approval
8.) Loan conditions are sent to processor and loan officer to review and gather anything needed for loan to get cleared for close
9.) Appraisal received
10.) Resubmittal of any outstanding conditions to get loan into a final approved status
11.) Initial Closing disclosure preparation started and 3-day clock starts
12.) Closing day setup with title and realtor partners
13.) Closing!
14.) Funding—this occurs when all parties have signed and agreed to the final terms


Spring Forward!

Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward one hour this weekend!

Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2am on Sunday, March 11. Maybe now is a good time to get to bed a little early, like you’ve been promising yourself?

Most of the country may be losing an hour of sleep, but we’re also gaining an hour of daylight. The days will be long and sunny again before you know it!

This is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Do this twice every year at the time change, and you’ll never skip on safety.

If the warming spring weather makes you think about homebuying, home improvements, or renovations, give us a call to discuss your financing options!


Great News! Loan Limits Are Now Bigger and Better!

How This Helps You

The FHFA acknowledged at the end of November 2017 that housing prices are on the rise, leading to a necessary rise in the limits as well. As home prices rise, the maximum loan limit needs to rise so homebuyers can borrow enough to cover the cost of their new home purchase. The new limits set by the FHFA reflect the increase in home prices across the country, making it easier for more borrowers to qualify for financing and achieve the goal of homeownership.

The History

This is only the second time since 2006 that the conforming loan limits for loans purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have risen. It indicates a strong recovery in the U.S. housing market, as conforming levels were mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 to remain at $417,000 until home prices returned to pre-crisis levels.

The Numbers

Baseline maximum conforming loan limits are increasing from $424,100 to $453,100 in 2018 for the contiguous 48 states. In high-cost areas, ceiling loan limits for one-unit properties will increase from $636,150 to $679,650, which is 150% of $453,100.

For a map of maximum loan limits by county, click here.


Top 10 Maintenance Tips for Winter

Are you prepared for winter? With colder weather quickly approaching, we think now is the perfect time to share our top ten list of Winter home maintenance tips with you.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans. Have your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction to create an updraft that forces hot air to circulate throughout the room rather than being trapped in the rafters.

 

Have your chimney serviced. Having your chimney inspected and swept before your first fire reduces your risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Seal windows and doors. Take the time to caulk around windows and doors and apply weather stripping wherever necessary.

 

Add extra insulation. By adding an extra layer of insulation, you are helping keep your attic cooler and your rooms toasty.

 

Service your furnace. Make sure that all components are properly cleaned and working effectively.

 

Mind your thermostat. It’s easy to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the building, but doing so is one of the surest ways to save money.

 

Stock your garage or shed. Be prepared for the first snowfall with salt or ice melt, snow shovels, a snow blower, and a generator with additional fuel.

 

Check for leaks. Disconnect exterior hoses, drain all spigots and engage the shut-off valve within your home to prevent broken water pipes.

 

Trim your trees. Have any dead branches or limbs that hang close to your home and power lines removed so that they don’t break off an cause damage under the weight of snow and ice.

 

Be ready for an emergency. Blackouts and snow-ins can occur during winter months, so take a moment to prepare. Having items like bottled water, flashlights and blankets ready will help you make it through safely.


Time to Refi? The 5 Most Important Questions to Answer

 

A home mortgage refinance may sound like a good idea in theory, but it’s not always possible or desirable.

For starters, lenders have tightened up the approval process, making it more difficult to get a loan.

“Homeowners today need to be triathletes to qualify for a loan, with great income, great credit and great value in their home,” says Anthony Hsieh, founder and CEO of loanDepot.com, headquartered in Irvine, Calif.

In addition, a refinance may not make sense financially, particularly for borrowers who plan to sell their homes in the next few years.

Before taking the leap and opting to refinance, homeowners should ask themselves the following six questions.

Do I have equity in my home?

Homeowners need to have at least 20 percent equity in their home to qualify for a new loan without paying private mortgage insurance. Adding PMI to the cost of a new loan could negate the benefit of a refinance.

Today, many homeowners are underwater — meaning they owe more on their mortgages than the house is worth. However, being underwater or having little equity does not necessarily rule out a refi.

“Homeowners should still apply for a refinance even if they have low equity, because there are some Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs and FHA loans that may accept them,” Hsieh says. “The best way to find out if you fit into a program is to go to a lender.”

Roy Meshel, district vice president for W.J. Bradley Mortgage in Phoenix, recommends homeowners refinance quickly in case the housing slump deepens, causing values to depreciate even more.

Patrick Cunningham, vice president of Home Savings & Trust Mortgage based in Fairfax, Va., recommends an increasingly popular approach — the so-called “cash-in” refinance.

“Some people are opting to bring cash to the settlement in order to pay down their loan balance to qualify for a refinance,” he says.

Do I have good enough credit?

Borrower credit scores play a big role in securing a good mortgage rate. In fact, you’ll need a good credit score to qualify for any type of mortgage at all.

Mortgage rates operate on a sliding scale, with the lowest rates going to applicants with the highest credit scores of 720 or higher.

Borrowers with scores below 620 will have trouble qualifying for a mortgage at any rate.

What are my financial goals?

Many homeowners refinance to lower their monthly payments. A mortgage calculator can give borrowers a sense of what their new payment would be after a refi.

Others choose a shorter-term loan with higher monthly payments so they can reduce overall interest payments and own their homes faster.

“Some people are restructuring their loans to a 20-, 15- or 10-year mortgage, which works well for people with plenty of disposable income,” Cunningham says. “But I worry that people are too focused on paying off their mortgage and not integrating this decision with their overall financial plan.”

Cunningham urges borrowers to make sure they contribute to retirement savings and college savings, pay off high-interest debt, and save six to 12 months’ of expenses “before opting for a shorter, more expensive mortgage.”

Meshel says people should consider whether they want to retire without a mortgage before opting for a new 30-year loan. Those who have employment concerns may want to refinance into the lowest possible payment in case they experience a job loss.

How long do I plan to stay in this home?

Mortgage professionals generally tell borrowers to expect a home refinance to cost 3 percent to 6 percent of the loan amount. A simple calculation shows how long it will take to reach the break-even point when the savings outweigh the costs.

“If the break-even is at 15 months and you plan to stay in the home for five years or longer, it is probably worth it to refinance,” Cunningham says. “But if you plan to move in two years, it may not make sense.”

Meshel says long-term homeowners who are close to paying off their mortgages might not want to refinance because of the costs incurred.

What are the terms of my current loan?

Borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages or interest-only loans should consider the potential benefit of switching to a fixed-rate loan. Hsieh says all borrowers with ARMs should switch to a fixed-rate loan unless they intend to move within one year.

However, Cunningham says some borrowers can benefit by sticking with their current ARM.

“Consumers with a subprime ARM should definitely switch to a new loan,” Cunningham says. “But some with conventional ARMs may find that they are in a good loan and that their rates are actually dropping.”

While new loans today rarely have a prepayment penalty, many homeowners still have loans with that restriction, which could reduce the financial gain of a refinance, Meshel says.

Do I have a second mortgage or line of credit?

Cunningham says borrowers with a second mortgage will face additional complexity when refinancing.

“Borrowers can either pay off the second loan or combine the two loans into a larger first mortgage,” Cunningham says. “Otherwise, the lender holding that second loan must agree to stay in second position behind the lender of the first mortgage, which the lender may or may not be willing to do.”


Why is the Lending Process so Difficult?

If I had a dime for every time I am asked this question, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article. I would most likely be on a beach somewhere. This is a tricky question to answer as there are several issues that contribute to the complexity of the lending process, but essentially it comes down to three primary areas: risk, regulation and salability.

What is the risk? Well there are several layers of the risk but ultimately when dealing with a potential borrower, I always ask people the same question. If you had the means, would you lend this person your money? If the answer is yes, great. If it is no then my question becomes, “Why should I as a lender?” Believe it or not, if a borrower goes into default there is a potential that a lender would have to buy that loan back and having a bad asset does not help anyone.

The second is regulation. Most people think the worst thing that can happen is a hand slap of a fine from a regulator. This is true; however, there is a lot more damage done. There is reputational risk, financial risk and obviously getting in trouble with a regulator could affect your ability to do business in the future. There are also the little know pitfalls. For example, fines are not just sought out from lenders. Individual loan officers, title agents, and realtors have been involved in personal fines. There is also the fact that most of the lending laws can influence the foreclosure of a property. If a lender fails to check a box or present a borrower with a single piece of paper, it can wind up being a defense against foreclosure or entitle a borrower to a refund of all interest paid over a certain period.

The last item is salability. What does this mean? Simply put, can we sell this loan into the secondary market? Why is this important? Most lenders and even banks do not have enough assets to fund all the loans they make in any given year. After several stops along the way, they are sold into the secondary market as a Mortgage Backed Security (MBS). These MBS are a popular investment for not only mutual fund holders, but 401K and other investors as well. I would be willing to bet that if you looked at your portfolio or your retirement plan you probably own some. Which brings me back to my initial question about would you lend your money, because ultimately, it may be your money. Along with the impact to investments, it frees up capital for us to lend to more customers, which helps us all.

As you can see, these major areas of risk, regulation and salability are very important to the day to day operations of a lending institution, but as an agent, you need to be aware of these as well. Why? It ultimately affects your clients and your bottom line. That is why choosing a partner that will help you navigate through these issues and give you straight, accurate and timely answers is so important. If you are frustrated with this process and need a hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of your United Mortgage representatives and we will be happy to help you out.

By David Pearson | Chief Operating Officer at United Mortgage with over 25 years experience in the Mortgage Industry