Jennifer Lee Mazeika

GRI, ABR

“Home is where your story begins, I’ll help you get there.”

Mortgage loans and their descriptions can be boring. I know at least 3 mortgage lenders that I work with regularly that could explain Mortgage Loans better than me.  But I also know when anyone is first looking to own their own home, they might be a little intimidated by the whole process and need some guidance. One area that might look overwhelming and complex is — do I qualify for a mortgage and which one is right for me?  What do I need to get the process started? Is my credit going to be a problem?  How much money do I need to have saved?

Hopefully, these are all questions any potential homebuyer is asking before they start searching for their new home.  Because some of the best advice I can give you is  – – get qualified for a mortgage before you start looking.

Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage helps you in the following ways:

  1. By knowing how much your mortgage payment could be each month, you can set a budget for your new home.
  2. In going through the mortgage application process, you will have identified any problems you might have with your credit score, employment status, and other important financial information. You will have saved valuable time that you might need when making an offer on your dream home that other potential buyers are interested in.
  3. By being “pre-qualified” for a mortgage, sellers will consider your offer more seriously.

Below is an article from Zillow.com that I sharing with you so that you will be better informed when you sit down with your Mortgage Lender.

A Home Buyer’s Guide – Mortgage Basics

Just as homes come in different styles and price ranges, so do the ways you can finance them. Figuring out what kind of mortgage works best for you requires a little research. There are many different loan types to choose from, and a great lender can walk you through all of your options, but you can start here by understanding these three main categories.

1. Fixed-rate loan or adjustable-rate loan

When deciding on a loan type, one of the main factors to consider is the type of interest rate you are comfortable with: fixed or adjustable. Here’s a look at each of these loan types, with pros and cons to consider.

Fixed-rate mortgages

This is the traditional workhorse mortgage. It gets paid off over a set amount of time (10, 15, 20 or 30 years) at a specific interest rate. A 30-year fixed is the most common. Market rates may rise and fall, but your interest rate won’t budge.

Why would you want a fixed-rate loan? One word: security. You won’t have to worry about a rising interest rate. Your monthly payments may fluctuate a bit with property tax and insurance rates, but they’ll be fairly stable. If rates drop significantly, you can always refinance. The shorter the loan term, the lower the interest rate. For example, a 15-year fixed will have a lower interest rate than a 30-year fixed.

Why wouldn’t you want a fixed rate? If you plan on moving in five or even 10 years, you may be better off with a lower adjustable rate. It’s the conservative choice for the long term, which means you will pay for the security it promises.

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs)

You’ll get a lower initial interest rate compared to a fixed-rate mortgage but it won’t necessarily stay there. The interest rate fluctuates with an indexed rate plus a set margin. But don’t worry — you won’t be faced with huge monthly fluctuations. Adjustment intervals are predetermined and there are minimum and maximum rate caps to limit the size of the adjustment.

Why would you want an ARM? Lower rates are an immediate appeal. If you aren’t planning on staying in your home for long, or if you plan to refinance in the near term, an ARM is something you should consider. You can qualify for a higher loan amount with an ARM (due to the lower initial interest rate). Annual ARMs have historically outperformed fixed rate loans.

Why wouldn’t you want an ARM? You have to assume worst-case scenario here. Rates may increase after the adjustment period. If you don’t think you’ll save enough upfront to offset the future rate increase, or if you don’t want to risk having to refinance, think twice.

What should I look for? Look carefully at the frequency of adjustments. You’ll get a lower starting rate with more frequent adjustments but also more uncertainty. Check the payments at the upper limit of your cap and make sure you can afford them. Relying on a refinance to bail you out is a big risk.

Here are the types of ARMs offered:

  • 3/1 ARM: Your interest rate is set for 3 years then adjusts annually for 27 years.
  • 5/1 ARM: Your interest rate is set for 5 years then adjusts annually  for 25 years.
  • 7/1 ARM: Your interest rate is set for 7 years then adjusts annually for 23 years.
  • 10/1 ARM: Your interest rate is set for 10 years then adjusts annually for 20 years.

2. Conventional loan or government-backed loan

You’ll also want to consider whether you want — or qualify for — a government-backed loan. Any loan that’s not backed by the government is called a conventional loan. Here’s a look at the loan types backed by the government.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans

FHA loans are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. These loans are designed for borrowers who can’t come up with a large down payment or have less-than-perfect credit, which makes it a popular choice for first-time home buyers. FHA loans allow for down payments as low as 3.5 percent and credit scores of 580 or higher. A credit score as low as 500 may be accepted with 10 percent down.

Because of the fees associated with FHA loans, you may be better off with a conventional loan, if you can qualify for it. The FHA requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) as well as an annual mortgage insurance premium paid monthly. If you put less than 10 percent down, the MIP must be paid until the loan is paid in full or until you refinance into a non-FHA loan. Conventional loans, on the other hand, do not have the upfront fee, and the private mortgage insurance (PMI) required for loans with less than 20 percent down automatically falls off the loan when your loan-to-value reaches 78 percent.

Veterans Administration (VA) loans

This is a zero-down loan offered to qualifying veterans, active military and military families. The VA guarantees the loan for the lender, and the loan comes with benefits not seen with any other loan type. In most cases, you pay nothing down and you will never have to pay mortgage insurance. If you qualify for a VA loan, this is almost always the best choice.

USDA loans

USDA loans are backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are designed to help low- or moderate-income people buy, repair or renovate a home in rural areas. Some suburban areas qualify, too. If you are eligible for a a USDA loan, you can purchase a home with no down payment and get below-market mortgage rates.

3. Jumbo loan or conforming loan

The last thing to consider is whether you want a jumbo loan or conforming loan. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

A conforming loan is any home loan that follows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s conforming guidelines. These guidelines include credit, income, assets requirements and loan amount. Currently the limit in most parts of the country is $417,000, but in certain designated high-price markets it can be as high as $938,250. Wondering if you’re in a high-cost county? Check online for high-cost counties in certain states.

Loans that exceed this amount are called jumbo loans. They’re also referred to as non-conforming mortgages. Why would you want a jumbo loan? The easiest answer is because it allows you to buy a higher-priced home, if you can afford it. But these loans have flexibility that conforming loans don’t have, such as not always requiring mortgage insurance when the down payment is less than 20 percent. Why wouldn’t you want a jumbo loan? Compared to conforming loans, interest rates will be higher. And they often require higher down payments and excellent credit, which can make them more difficult to qualify for.

Source for this article: Home Buyer’s Guide – Zillow.com

I would like to recommend that you contact any of the 3 locally Preferred Mortgage Lenders listed on my website. (see their link on my website’s sidebar.) Any one of them will be able to find a mortgage that fits your needs.

Don’t forget — for a free no-obligation consultation just call me at 540-537-2332 or email me at Jmazehomes4you@gmail.com.

Client Tesimonials

“Over the last year we have spoken with several real estate agents in the area. Jennifer was the first person that earned our trust by working closely with us, asking relevant questions, and by being extremely responsive to find a home we would love. She took the time to send us updates on homes that were within our budget and exactly what we were looking for. She didn’t just set up a filter and let it automate results. I felt that she looked at new houses on the market and thought about how they might fit our family and what were looking for. We would recommend Jennifer to anyone looking for a real estate agent in the Smith Mountain Lake area.”

Zachary B.

bought a home at Smith Mountain Lake

“Jennifer has been the best realtor I’ve ever dealt with. She was always quick to respond and meet us wherever, whenever. She got to know us personally and would match us with the best houses. She cared more about our happiness with a home than the incentive she was getting. She helped with dealing with house inspections and dealing with the seller as well.”

Stephen C.

Bought a home in Thaxton, VA

“Jennifer was our realtor and did an excellent job. She found us a great house and it fit our budget. We put a contract on it in two days it was a pleasure working with her.
Awesome job Jennifer.”

Lee T.

Bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“We had a lot of issue’s with selling and buying another home, but Jennifer’s negotiating skills kept us from making big mistakes, like not having a home inspection. Otherwise, it would have cost us $1000.00 dollars. She was on top of every detail, even if it was a small one. Also, she was very responsive in returning phone calls. We highly recommend her as your agent. We will certainly use her again if need be.”

Barbara A.

Bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Great realtor to work with. I came in with no knowledge about the process or anything just knew I wanted a house. She helped me and taught me every step of the way, giving great advice on everything.”

Kirsten S.

Bought a home in Vinton, VA

“I highly recommend Jennifer with any home buyer/seller needs. Jennifer was always on time to our appointments and she is so kind. Jennifer knew exactly what our family’s needs were and found us the perfect home.”

Christian J.

Bought a home in Boones Mill, VA

“I would defiantly recommend Jennifer for all your real estate purchases. Her knowledge, drive, and response times are excellent. She is very understanding and passionate about her job. She kept us informed every step of the way despite any hiccups (which she had no control over). Not only did she find us the perfect home, she did so in a way that was respectful and with class. Jennifer is by far the greatest realtor I have ever worked with.”

Jesse W.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer was so helpful throughout the entire process, her recommendations for home, loan officers, and title company were the best in the business. Jennifer always had multiple options available and took our needs into consideration for every home we looked at until we found the perfect home for our family. Jennifer put a personal touch we will never forget into the home buying process and we will be forever grateful for the best service. We highly recommend Jennifer to everyone and have already enlisted her help with the selling of a family home, and she will be representing other friends and family in the purchase of their new home.”

Michelle H.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer Mazeika was very attentive to our needs and prompt in answering our questions. She helped us find a beautiful home with everything we were looking for.”

James B.

Bought a home in Moneta, VA

“This was my first time buying a home and Jennifer was more than reliable.
She always replied to me quickly and took mental notes
about everything I was looking for in a home.”

 

Jessica P.

Bought a home in Union Hall, VA

“Jennifer was a delight to have as my agent. Her dedication to me as her client was superb and her knowledge of the area here in the Smith Mountain Lake is extensive.”

Nita F.

bought a home in Hardy, VA

“Jennifer was near perfect. She was always responsive; we never had to call twice. If she didn’t answer the phone, she got back to us very quickly. She was always willing to go the extra step. She is enthusiastic and her concern for us always seemed to be genuine. To put it succinctly, Jennifer made the ordeal of shopping for a
house much more pleasant than it usually is.”

Kurt S.

bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Jennifer is absolutely wonderful to work with. She answered all of our questions (we had a lot) and took the time to help find us the right place. I highly recommend her!! I hope we get to see her around the lake!!”

Shannon W.

bought a condo in Moneta, VA

“Very professional, highly prepared, genuine, sincere and knowledgeable about the market. Prompt in returning phone calls and emails and appointments. Always enthusiastic about finding a home that meets the buyer’s wishes.”

Irene C.

bought a home in Wirtz, VA

“Very personable and knowledgeable in her profession. We got along quite well in searching for houses. Traveled throughout three counties in search of the perfect home. Continued despite numerous disappointments and setbacks.”

Doug O.

bought a home in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer has been the best realtor I’ve ever dealt with. She was always quick to respond and meet us wherever, whenever. She got to know us personally and would match us with the best houses. She cared more about our happiness with a home than the incentive she was getting. She helped with dealing with house inspections and dealing with the seller as well.”

Stephen C.

bought a home in Thaxton, VA

“Jennifer is a real estate agent we would use again. When choosing a real estate agent you want someone knowledgeable in all areas of buying and selling, who knows the “ins and outs” of the local area that also has a great personality who can make the sometimes stressful experience as enjoyable as possible. Jennifer is a triple threat! Very knowledgeable of the real estate business and the processes that go along with it. VERY RESPONSIVE. We were buying a property in Smith Mountain Lake and we lived out of town and that was difficult for us. Jennifer made us feel like we could call her anytime and that gave us a level of comfort.”

Gretchen R.

bought a condo in Moneta, VA

“Jennifer has been one of the best agents to work with. She has been very knowledgeable through the whole process. She went above and beyond and did more for us than we could have ever asked for. Answered all of our questions and understood completely what we were looking for and got us into the house of our dreams. Jennifer is an AMAZING agent. We plan to use her in the future and refer her to everyone we know. ”

Tiffani H

Bought a home in Moneta, VA