Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer.
You’re a new homeowner and now you’re stuck hosting the holidays. This is a great opportunity to show off your new home, but, you’re overwhelmed. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Step One: Get Organized.
Make a list, and check it twice! Write down any decorations, food, drinks, or other items you need to pick up before the big day. That way you won’t be running back and forth to the store four times that day (yes, that will really happen.)
Step Two: Decorate.
Show off your new home with holiday trim. Keep it modest, you don’t want to overshadow your beautiful new home with red and green streamers.
Step Three: Use Your New Kitchen.
Find EASY holiday recipes online. Don’t feel like you need to cook and bake everything, ask for help! Assign each of your guests a menu item to bring.
Step Four: Enjoy!
Enjoy spending time with your family and friends in your new home!
On Saturday, April 18, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. hosted a comedy show fundraiser, bringing in $19,000 in donations for a local veteran organization.
More than 250 veterans and Real Estate professionals attended the Funny 4 Funds comedy show held at the West Warwick Elks Lodge on Saturday evening. The event provided the crowd with a night of laughs while raising money with raffle and auction prizes donated by 200 local and New England based businesses. Primary Residential Mortgage was joined by several additional event sponsors from Rhode Island and Massachusetts including Lepizzera & Laprocina Title and Escrow, DiPrete Law Offices, Federated RI Sportsmen’s Clubs Inc., Equity Title, RE/MAX, Cranston Fish and Game Association, Kelly Lewis Realty, Richard Palumbo Law, Linear Title, Sammartino & Berg Law.
“I don’t think anyone sponsored this event hoping to get business- I know I didn’t,” said sponsor Paul Laprocina who not only provided a financial sponsorship, but also donated two shark fishing charters that brought in $1,600 as an auction item. “The event is all about our veterans and what we can do to help them, because they’ve all done so much for us. That in mind, the auction winner will receive one shark fishing charter for himself and the second shark charter will be for the winner to go out fishing with a boat of veterans so they can see what a difference [Veteran Angler Charters] makes for our veterans.”
Veteran Angler Charters , a 501c3 non profit, was founded by Kathy Granfield in Connecticut in 2009 and has since expanded into Rhode Island (Captain Randell Bagwell, River Rebel Charters) and Massachusetts (Capt. Mark Pettit, Fire Escape Charters), serving nearly 200 Veterans per year. VA Charters was formed for the purpose of providing therapeutic and recreational fishing excursions to injured and recovering veterans of all branches of the armed forces. All fishing trips are conducted at no cost to the veterans.
“This is the most money that has ever been raised for us and we are absolutely thrilled,” said Granfield. “With just what was raised during this one event, we will be able to take hundreds of veterans fishing this season. Words cannot describe what this means.
According to Granfield, there are several organizations that offer opportunities for outdoor therapeutic recreation but there are none that regularly take veterans out in small groups on private charter boats. The small group experience provides a unique opportunity for the veterans to relax, reconnect with friends and family, fish, and meet other veterans who truly understand their service experience.
“Everyone had a great time and we were astonished to see how much was raised when the check was presented to Kathy at the end of the night,” said Cosmo Laurelli, Branch Manager for Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. “It is so rewarding to know that we could do our part in helping our veterans.”
The mortgage professional award, showcased in Rhode Island Monthly, is given to Loan Officers who have been nominated and selected for providing superior service and “professional excellence” in the industry. The designation of a “5 Star Professional” assists consumers in selecting a service professional that other consumers have indicated provides exceptional client satisfaction and service.
Kyle Travers, Sr. Loan Officer
Mary O’Donnell, Sr. Loan Officer
Ken Cesaro, Sr. Loan Officer
To keep you on top of your credit while you prepare to refinance or purchase a home, you should be aware of the five factors that determine credit score.
- Payment history is a large factor and the one that first comes to mind when thinking about credit scores. Your payment history is the number one thing that will be evaluated for a credit score which determines whether or not you are capable of repaying debt.
- Outstanding debt is almost as heavily weighted in the credit score calculation as payment history. Outstanding debt is not only based on how many credit cards and how much debt you have, but also whether or not you’ve reached your credit limits. For example, person “A” has maxed out a $500 limit credit card. Person “B” has a $20,000 balance with a $50,000 limit. Though person “B” physically has more financial debt, person “A” will have a lower credit score based on his/her ability to manage available credit.
- Duration of credit, or the amount of time you’ve had a credit card or loan, is also an element in determining your credit score. Keeping your accounts open and active is important in building credit. Most importantly, closing credit card accounts can adversely affect your credit score because it shortens the length of your credit history.
- Frequent inquiries for new credit card accounts in a short period of time can also have a negative impact on your credit score.
- Type of credit is the final main factor in determining a credit score. While all credit may seem the same, a the use of a store credit card (i.e. Macy’s) is weighted differently than installment debt (student loan, vehicle loan or mortgage) because an installment loan has a defined end date, unlike a credit card.
Everyone knows that Christmas is the time for giving. Maybe so much so that many of us get so wrapped up in buying the most lavish gift or spending more than we planned. Whether you stood in line for hours on Black Friday for a cheap Xbox for your kids or a new flat screen for your hubby, the mindset among Christmas shoppers is always the same: get a great gift to make someone you love happy. But what about a perfect stranger?
I really felt the power of the Christmas spirit when my office, Primary Residential Mortgage, raised $2,200 in just two days to “adopt” a needy family of six and another family of two through the Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston.
But the one thing that was more astonishing than the generosity of my co-workers was the actual wants and needs of the children and mothers of these families. Before sending over the Christmas wish lists, one of the program employees explained to me that the children already understood that they had simply made “wish” lists, and that they would not likely receive everything on their list.
As I quickly skimmed the lists, I was surprised to never come across the words “Ipod” or “Wii” like I would with my nieces and nephews. I gazed through them again, intently looking for “Xbox” or “Iphone”. But none of those words were present on those short lists. What I did see was that each child had checked boxes including coats and underwear, bedding and pajamas. The biggest “big- ticket item” out of all of the children was a train set- a wish
list item bordering extinction from today’s high-tech gadgets. For these families, love and happiness was counted in hats and gloves rather than Xbox games or flat screen TVs.
Sometimes Christmas is not just about the ones we love, but also the ones who need love. Our company is honored to be participating in the Adopt A Family program at the Comprehensive Community Action Program, and each of our employees became a little more grounded while reading through the family wish lists.
If you would like to join us or stay in the loop for any of our upcoming fundraisers and charitable partnerships, please feel free to contact me at Sbagwell@primeres.com.
If you have kids in their mid teens or even younger, you’ve probably thought more than you wanted about their plans after high school. If you fall into this category you may also know the hot topic is that federal student loan rates have doubled in the past few months making it even more expensive for your children to get a college education. Private student loan rates are even higher.
Double rates mean that most loans will actually cost more than 4 times more to pay them back. Unless your child is of the lucky few to receive a full boat to college, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll be acquiring some type of student loan debt to get their diploma. And now it costs considerably more. Yikes.
If you are a homeowner, one alternative you can look into is utilizing the equity in your home to provide funding for your children’s college education. Using your home as an asset to execute a cash-out refinance is a forward thinking way of negotiating your present family housing obligations with your children’s future education obligations.
A cash-out refinance is when you borrow money above and beyond what your mortgage balance is now, and that money is yours to do anything you’d like with. In general terms, you can borrow up to 80% of the value of your home less your first mortgage balance. If your house appraises at $250,000, 80% of that is $200,000. If the balance of your existing mortgage is $150,000, you get $50,000 back in cash from your closing and you can earmark this for your children’s education.
There are several benefits for taking cash out of the equity in your house:
- Current mortgage rates are several percent lower than current student loan rates
- Primary mortgage interest is tax deductible to you as a homeowner
- Repayment terms go up to 30 years for a traditional mortgage
Many people don’t want to extend their mortgage term but the truth is your monthly cash flow is really the most important part of the equation. If your existing mortgage and housing obligation is tight to begin with and you have some equity in your property, taking cash out on a refinance could put the least amount of strain on your personal budget.
Note: This is the second piece in a two-part blog. Click here to see part one, “What Really Happens When I Apply for a Mortgage”
Obviously circumstances arise which legitimately prolong the mortgage approval process. Not every loan will close in 2-3 weeks no matter how capable all of the parties involved are. However, you can reasonably determine what you can expect for performance and timeline of your lender from the initial step of applying for your mortgage by asking the following questions to the person taking your application:
- How long does it take to close my type of loan (Fannie Mae, FHA, etc…)?
- When do you lock my rate and how long is it locked for (15-30 days is traditional, anything longer means higher rates)?
- Do YOU run my credit check and provide my quote or do you have to send it to another person or department to have that done?
- Are YOU my point of contact to get real time answers for any and all concerns I have throughout the process or do you have to pass my question on to another person?
- Do you process and underwrite your loans in house or do you have to ship my file to another location or another company for this?
Asking all of these questions will help you decipher how efficient the company you consider applying with is and should be a major determining factor in who you do business with. Nobody cares how long the process takes in the beginning but after 3-4 months of not closing, most borrowers would gladly pay an extra couple of dollars per month on their mortgage payment (which is generally the difference between one company and another) just to be able to talk with someone who has answers, let alone someone that could have gotten their loan closed in a quarter of the time.
I hope part one and part two of this blog post helps you out the next time you consider applying for a mortgage – nobody I know likes waiting for answers and service and hopefully after reading this, you won’t have to either.
Charles J. D’Arezzo, Sr. Loan Officer (NMLS# 29022)
Note: Written by Charles D’Arezzo, Sr. Loan Officer NMLS 29022
If you are interested in buying a new house or refinancing the house you’re in, you have probably talked to many banks and mortgage lenders and asked “What’s Your Rate?” It’s a very important piece of information as your interest rate determines what your ultimate payment will be so you know if you can afford the house you want to buy, or if it makes sense to refinance. I’ve been a mortgage lender and broker for 15 years and find that this is the most common first question that I get. I always politely explain that the only accurate way to answer this is to take a full credit application as well as doing market research on the property in question to determine and estimate of it’s current value. If the next question is “That’s great but what’s your rate?” I will again politely tell you I’m sorry I can’t help you and will hang up on you.
Before you think I’m unprofessional for doing this, you need to understand there’s no way to answer this question with any type of certainty so if that’s your only question we’re at an impasse and it’s time to part ways. Many borrowers assume their best course of action is calling 10 banks and mortgage lenders to ask them all “What’s your rate?” figuring they’ll just pick the lowest one they hear and move on from there. This method has roughly the same chance of success as speed dating. In both cases you’ll learn very little about a bunch of different people but will most likely end up getting screwed by someone who didn’t take the time to get to know you first.
As a mortgage borrower this behavior is not your fault. You are conditioned through advertising to be attracted to the lowest rate, price, costs, etc. and banks and mortgage companies (mine included) plaster low rates on every method of marketing we can. Your best course of action to obtain the lowest rate you qualify for is to provide each bank or mortgage lender with a consistent and accurate credit application. This will allow the individual banks and credit companies to provide you with legitimate finance terms that you can actually get. Before you say “I don’t want 10 different companies to run my credit” you need to know that the 3 credit reporting agencies changed their credit scoring guidelines years ago to allow for unlimited credit pulls to be done within the same segment of business (i.e. mortgage companies) within a 30 day period without it negatively impacting your credit or FICO score. This allows you to compare as many companies as you want without worrying that your credit will suffer.
If a loan officer or mortgage broker answers your question with a definitive answer without reviewing your credit profile they are doing you a disservice. If you’re a borrower who has asked “What’s your rate?” please use this as an intervention to stop. Instead, have the same following information available to everyone you talk to:
- Name of all borrowers applying for the loan
- Current address of all borrowers (make sure you have all addresses going back 2 years)
- Property address of house being financed (if different than borrower’s current address)
- Employment and income Information going back 2 years
- Date of birth and social security #’s
- Balance of available cash assets in bank accounts, vested in retirement accounts, etc.
This is a lot of personal information and you should use the National Mortgage Licensing System at http://nmlsconsumeraccess.org/ to verify the legitimacy of a mortgage lender or broker prior to providing any of this information to them.
Not focusing on the “What’s your rate?” question won’t guarantee you a seamless road to financing your home but it will eliminate a lot of wasted time working with companies who offer terms they can’t produce. The truth of the matter is that there are very few loan programs in this day and age and the interest rates are going to be about the same no matter where you look. There are many other factors which are important when picking a mortgage company or broker to work with but that’s the topic for another post.