What Is Equity?

 

Equity is the value YOU own in property such as a house. It’s the difference between what’s OWED and what the property is WORTH in the current market.

The example this video shows – you have a house worth $300,000 today and you owe the bank $200,000.  Your equity would be $100,000.

If the house is valued at $500,000 in five years, and you still owe $150,000 your equity will be $350,000.

Equity grows if the property value goes up or if the amount owed goes down.  The key thing to remember, simple as it sounds, is that you “own” increases in value. The bank’s loan doesn’t go up if the home’s value goes up.

Equity in a home can be used as collateral for loans but a house is not a piggy bank. Home equity can become a key financial asset over time; treat it wisely.

What Is “Prime”?

 

The Prime Lending Rate – sometimes just called “Prime”  - is the interest rate that banks charge each other for overnight loans. Some consumer rates – like ARMs – are set in relation to Prime.

In the US, Prime is affected by the Federal Reserve lending rate to banks; historically, Prime is about 3 percent above the Fed rate.

The video shows  an example.

  • The Federal Reserve loans to Bank A at 1%
  • Bank A loans to Bank B at 4%
  • Both banks – A & B – will recalculate variable-rate loans like ARMs on that 4% Prime figure.

ARM rates are frequently defined as “% above Prime” – that gap is usually called the “margin” or “spread.” Just remember those 3 layers in Prime: Federal Reserve Bank A Bank B And finally, YOUR rate.

What Are Discount Points?

 

Discount points allow you to lower your interest rate. While this video simplifies things to help you remember, “points” are essentially prepaid interest with each point equaling 1% of the total loan amount.

Generally, for each point paid on a 30-year mortgage the interest rate is reduced by 1/8 (or.125) of a percentage point.

When shopping for loans, ask lenders for an interest rate with 0 points and then see how much the rate decreases with each point paid.

Discount points are smart if you plan to stay in a home for some time since they can lower the monthly loan payment.

Points are tax deductible when you purchase a home and you may be able to negotiate for the seller to pay for some of them.

What Is Loan To Value (LTV) And How Does It Affect The Size Of My Loan?

 

While this video simplifies things to help you remember, the loan to value ratio is the amount of money you borrow compared with the price or appraised value of the home you are purchasing.

Each loan has a specific LTV limit. For example: With a 75% LTV loan on a home priced at $100,000 you could borrow up to $75,000 (75% of $100,000) and would have to pay $25000 as a down payment.

The LTV ratio reflects the amount of equity borrowers have in their homes. The higher the LTV the less cash homebuyers are required to pay out of their own funds.

So, to protect lenders against potential loss in case of default, higher LTV loans (80% or more) usually require mortgage insurance policies.

How Does The Interest Rate Factor In Securing A Mortgage Loan?

 

As you’ll see in the video, a lower interest rate allows you to borrow more money than a high rate with the some monthly payment.
Interest rates can fluctuate as you shop for a loan so ask lenders if they offer a rate “lock-in” which guarantees a specific interest rate for a certain period of time.

Remember that a lender must disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a loan to you. The APR shows the cost of a mortgage loan by expressing it in terms of a yearly interest rate. It is generally higher than the mortgage interest rate because it also includes the cost of points, mortgage insurance and other fees included in the loan.

What Types Of Mortgage Loans Are Available?

 

This video tells you about the most common types: Fixed Rate, ARM, Balloon and 2-Step.

First, Fixed Rate Mortgages: Payments remain the same for the life of the loan generally 15 years or 30 years. Interest rates remain the same, so payments are predictable.

A second common type is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage, or ARM. ARM Payments increase or decrease on a regular schedule with changes in interest rates increases are typically subject to limits.

Third, Balloon Mortgage: These offers very low rates for an Initial period of time usually 5, 7, or 10 years when time has elapsed, the balance is due or refinanced though not automatically.

Finally, a Two-Step Mortgage- Interest rates adjusts only once and remains the same for the life of the loan.

Many other types are available, including government-insured mortgages and VA loans for veterans. Talk to lenders and real estate professionals to assess your situation.

What Are The Advantages Of 15- And 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages?

 

For both, as we show you in this video, compared with other options,  with fixed rates, housing costs won’t be affected by interest rate changes and inflation.

With A 30-Year Term: In the first 23 years of the loan more interest is paid off than principal meaning larger tax deductions. As inflation and costs of living increase mortgage payments become a smaller part of overall expenses.

With A 15-year Term: Loan is usually made at a lower interest rate. Equity is built faster because early payments pay more principal. And the loan is paid off earlier.

Compare payments, principal and interest totals to make a decision.

Can I Pay Off My Loan Ahead Of Schedule?

 

Usually, Yes. Like the guy in the video says, by sending in extra money each month or making an extra payment at the end of the year you can accelerate the process of paying off the loan.

When you send extra money, be sure to indicate that the excess payment is to be applied to the principal and keep records.

Remember that payment applied to loan principal is not tax-deductible. Most lenders allow loan prepayment, but some loans may have prepayment penalties.

Ask your lender for details.

What Is Included In A Monthly Mortgage Payment?

 

The monthly mortgage payment mainly pays off principal and interest. But most lenders also include local real estate taxes homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance, if applicable.
If you are refinancing compare what is and isn’t included in your financing options. Watch this video and it’ll make sense.

How Large A Down Payment Do I Need?

 

There are mortgage options now available that only require a down payment of 5% or less of the purchase price. You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later – the larger the down payment, the less you have to borrow and the more equity you’ll have.

Mortgages with less than a 20% down payment generally require a mortgage insurance policy to secure the loan.

When considering the size of your down payment consider that you’ll also need money for closing costs moving expenses, and – possibly – repairs and decorating.