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Protect Against Wire Fraud

Jul 13
9:00
AM
Category | General
Mortgage wire fraud occurs when a criminal impersonates a real estate closing firm, a lender, or a real estate agent and provides false wiring instructions to a borrower. The goal of this fraud is to have the funds wired directly to the criminal instead of to the closing firm. Borrowers are often contacted close to their closing date with updated or corrected wiring instructions. These can be provided via email or verbally. This is a sophisticated type of fraud, and some wire fraud criminals are very good at impersonating others. Borrowers should take the following precautions to prevent wire fraud. Identify Two Trusted Contacts at Closing Firm Early in the home buying or refinancing process, identify two contacts at the closing firm that can securely confirm wiring instructions in case of a scam attempt. Write down or save contact information for these individuals, including their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Only use this contact information to confirm wiring instructions. Review Closing Procedures with the Closing Firm In advance of closing, discuss by phone the closing process with one of your trusted contacts from the closing firm. This conversation should include how you will obtain wiring instructions. Be cautious about discussing the closing process and wiring instructions via email. Save Contact Information for Other Involved Parties Make sure you also have contact information for everyone else involved in your closing transaction, including your real estate agent and your lender. As with the closing contacts, make sure you have names, phone numbers, and email addresses. If you receive suspicious emails ...

Mortgage Speak

Waiting to Buy Can Decrease Your Purchase Power In this uncertain real estate market, many buyers may be playing the waiting game when it comes to purchasing a home. There are advantages and disadvantages to this strategy. Waiting could mean you have more time to save for a larger down payment. Waiting could also mean you end up paying more interest, and your rent payment is not building you any equity. Let’s break down the cost of waiting to buy a home. Interest Rates Interest rates are at historic lows! Lower interest rates mean lower payments. This has prompted a surge in mortgage refinances. In addition, serious buyers are moving forward with their home search amid these uncertain economic times. Home Prices In the past few years, home prices have been on a steady incline as inventory has been dwindling. Utilizing the “wait and see” approach to house hunting may not work in your favor. Waiting even a few months to purchase could decrease your purchasing power. If you are looking to sell your home and purchase another, you also may be inclined to wait to see how much your home will appreciate. Something to consider is a higher selling price, the number of buyers that can afford your house potentially decreases. Also, as your current home's value increases, so does the price of the houses you are looking to buy. “As your current home’s value increases, so does the price of the houses you’re looking to buy.” Inventory Along with interest rates, inventory was at a two-year low in January 2020, according to Housing Wire . Atlanta Realtors Association president, Jennifer Pino, ...

Mortgage Speak

If you’re thinking about buying a new home soon, you’ve taken the first step to homeownership! Are you excited? You should be! Homeownership is an exciting journey. After all, the home you’ll be in will be YOUR home, not your landlord’s. Before we get carried away in what colors you’re going to paint the walls or stain the floors, let’s not put the cart before the horse. There are lots of common home buying mistakes to avoid. Do not be one of those homebuyers! Here are the most frequent home buying mistakes that our team encounters and want you to avoid. 1. Looking for a house before getting pre-approved for a mortgage This is the number one home buying mistake, no doubt. We know this isn’t the most exciting part of buying a new home, but it’s one of the most essential. In this phase of the home buying process, you will work with a mortgage banker to see what your financial state is and if you qualify for a mortgage . You and your mortgage banker will look at your credit report, your debt, how much money you’re able to put down on a mortgage, the different types of loans you qualify for, payment options, and more. Once you take the time to make sure you are in good financial shape to buy a house, then you can be off to the races to house hunt with your realtor! 2. Not considering a local lender If you bank with a large bank, it may be an easy decision to go with that financial institution for your home loan. Before you apply with a big bank, consider the local lender around the corner from your house. Working with a local lender gives you the features of a big bank with the personal service of ...

Mortgage Speak

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently reported that home refinances are up 210% from last year’s levels. Interest rates have a lot to do with that. After all, when rates drop, monthly housing payments can also decrease, potentially saving homeowners thousands of dollars through the life of the loan. Let us look at what the mortgage market looked like before the COVID-19 crisis, and what it looks like now. Pre-COVID-19 mortgage rates Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shelter-in-place orders enacted for the majority of the country during the month of March, the mortgage market was arguably the strongest it had been in over a decade. Rates continued to reach historical lows, and the housing market was stable. Then, we were hit with the pandemic. What does the current mortgage market look like now? Current mortgage market The current mortgage market has had to adjust to the current economic situation, which has placed restrictions on certain loan types, but many homeowners are still able to refinance their homes. In some cases, it’s easier to be approved for a refinance because you have a good history of paying your mortgage.  Also, homeowners have the added benefit that rates are continuing to drop; that alone is often a big enough reason to pursue a refinance. Did we mention that you don’t need a down payment to refinance? Will a refinance benefit you? Ask yourself these questions. Will your interest rate go down? Will a refinance result in lower monthly costs? Will the savings be enough to pay the refinance costs within 3 years? Will you own the property long enough to recapture ...

Mortgage Speak

The COVID-19 pandemic that has spread across the world has brought with it, not only concerns for our physical health, but also our financial health. According to the Labor Department, 1 in 5 Americans has lost a job or seen a reduction in work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the middle of March. If you are one of these people that has been negatively affected financially, we have some tips for you to manage the financial storm that you may be in currently: from taking stock of your current finances, to messages of encouragement from others who are in the same boat as you. Take financial inventory The first thing to do is to assess your current financial situation. This is as simple as making a list of your current expenses and any income you have at the current time, along with your total assets. Your expenses include the usual rent/mortgage, utilities, auto payments, gas, etc. Assets include any financial resource that is available to you during times of hardship. An example of an asset could include savings accounts, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, etc. You will also want to review areas of your budget that you can cut back on such as a gym membership, lawn maintenance, take-out, or delaying any luxury items from being purchased. Once you go through your finances, set up a temporary monthly budget and stick to it. You may have to cut back on expenses for a while, but that is only temporary. Modifying your budget during this time will help you stay afloat Taking this important step will give you a clear idea of where you are financially and will allow you to determine what course of action you need to take.    ...

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