Tag Archives: Lending

How to Improve Your Credit Score

How to Improve Your Credit Score

If you have a FICO® score of 650 (which is considered “fair”) or below, it can affect your ability to purchase some of life’s bigger transactions, like buying a car or getting a mortgage for a house. That’s a position no one wants to be in, but there is hope in that there are steps you can take to improve your credit score. Keep in mind, building good credit takes time. It won’t happen overnight, but if you take these steps, you’ll be well on your way to better credit. Continue reading

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Establish Your Team. Know What to Look for in a Loan Officer

Establish Your Team. Know What to Look for in a Loan Officer

Select a local professional with a good reputation – Personal referralsSelect a local professional with a good reputation – Personal referrals are best when looking for someone to handle your home loan. If your realtor already has some trusted loan officers, fantastic! Obtain referrals, shop around and do some research by reading reviews online. You can find a loan officer anywhere in the country, but staying local with your selection works best. When issues arise and the appraiser needs to be contacted and communication is urgent, you want someone who is responsive and able to maneuver quickly within the local marketplace. It’s your safety net to a successful transaction.

  • Good communication skills – Often times a move accompanies a major life change, like a marriage, divorce or job change, and you want someone who is sensitive to that. You need someone who is caring and dialed into your financial goals, and can effectively communicate in the way that is best for you. Not everyone likes text messaging, but other folks can’t be reached without it.
  • Experience – Ask how long your potential loan officer has been in the mortgage business.  You want someone with experience, but that’s not to say a new loan officer won’t work just as hard or harder for your business. It’s when challenges are presented and credit issues require counseling that experience matters the most. Do some research on the company to ensure they are reputable, as well. Look for Better Business Bureau complaints on the lending company. Loretta Flynn, Senior Mortgage Advisor at McLean Mortgage Group says, “The lending guidelines are the same for everyone – it is the way a loan officer prepares their customers for the process and guides them through it that separate the good from the exceptional…the loan officer must see the transaction through to the very end and navigate the whole way through the transaction and safeguard that nothing goes awry in the final days before the closing.”
  • Good rates and reasonable fees – It is always best to comparison-shop lender programs and fees, even when you are buying new construction. Aside from a little time, it doesn’t cost you anything to complete a loan application. A good deal isn’t a good deal until you have something to compare it to. Lenders receive new lending products on a regular basis, but not all lenders have the same products. An evaluation of your credit history and an understanding of your personal circumstance will provide you the details you need to obtain the best quotes. And if you are still uncertain after that, speak with your realtor.
  • Top-notch customer service – Buying a new home can be smooth sailing if you have a loan officer who prioritizes customer service, works well as a team player with all parties, answers your questions and can circumvent road blocks. In the end, you will need to trust in the team that you have created by relying on their professional skills to successfully get you to the closing table. As Loretta Flynn says, “A Realtor’s livelihood is based on a 100% successful execution of their promises to their clients, and the loan officer should hold himself or herself to that same standard for success.” Your satisfaction is our success.

If you are seeking an experienced realtor with referrals to solid lenders, contact Jacobson Realty and Home Staging. We will ensure you get the best service possible by working with professionals who are in your corner.

Jacobson Realty and Home Staging (JRY) was established by Broker/Owner Belinda Jacobson-Loehle in April 2002. Belinda is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and has lived and worked in Gainesville, Virginia since 1995. She has been a licensed broker since 1989. 

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VHDA Financing for First-Time Homebuyers: A Well Kept Secret

VHDA Financing for First-Time Homebuyers: A Well Kept Secret

If you’re looking for a home loan in Virginia

If you’re looking for a home loan in Virginia, going through the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) may be a good option. The organization is a not-for-profit that helps mostly first-time homebuyers obtain affordable mortgages. They may even be able to assist you with a down payment on your first home through a grant. Learn more about their financing opportunities and grant programs to see if they might be a good alternative for your home purchase.

VHDA’s Down Payment Assistance Grant

If you’re a first-time homebuyer and you qualify for this program, you may receive a percentage of your new home’s purchase price to help with the down payment. If you qualify, you do not have to pay the money back. When you receive this grant, you are eligible for a Mortgage Credit Certificate, which is a dollar-for-dollar credit against your federal income tax liability. It is important to keep in mind that there is a limited amount of grant money offered each year by the VHDA, so the sooner you contact a lender to determine if you qualify, the greater your chances to receive it!

The maximum grant the VHDA offers is 3 to 3.5 percent of the purchase price required for the eligible VHDA loan. There are income limits which you must not exceed in order to receive this grant. There are also only certain VHDA loan programs which qualify for down payment assistance. To learn more about this program, it’s best to contact a lender.

Education for Homebuyers 

VHDA offers free education to help you understand the kinds of loans that are available. They will walk you through the home buying process from start to finish and show you how to stay on track once you’re in your home. You can take the class in person or online.

Eligibility for VHDA Financing

In order to qualify you must:

· Demonstrate creditworthiness

· Be a first-time homebuyer, which means that you have not had ownership in any residence in the past 3 years, unless you are purchasing in an Area of Economic Opportunity

· Intend to occupy the property (not use it as a rental property)

· Show stable income and funds for your down payment and closing costs

· Complete the VHDA’s course on Homeownership Education

· Meet the sales price limits and income guidelines

· Purchase a home on a lot no larger than 2 acres

Home Loans Offered Through VHDA

There are several different loan programs available through VHDA. All have slightly different criteria, and not all are eligible for down payment assistance, so be sure to check with your lender to see which loan is right for your situation. Here’s an overview of loan programs that are available.

· Conventional fixed – This 30-year, fixed-rate program offers you low fixed monthly payments. Conventional private mortgage insurance allows you to finance up to 97 percent of the sales price.

· FHA – This is another 30-year, fixed-rate program that requires a low down payment and is fairly easy to qualify for. It’s FHA-insured and has liberal credit qualifying.

· VA – This 30-year, fixed-rate program requires no down payment (for eligible Veterans) and offers low fixed monthly payments. It’s VA-guaranteed and has a low, fixed interest rate.

· RHS – A fourth 30-year, fixed-rate program is government insured and offers low, fixed monthly payments. This loan requires no down payment in approved rural areas.

· FHA Plus – This loan program allows you to finance your home 100 percent with two mortgages, one for the FHA-insured first mortgage and the second to fund a down payment and closing costs. Both loans are low 30-year fixed-rate.

Even with great programs, the VHDA is still one of the best kept secrets around. But the secret is out, and now you know you have another option for financing that home you’ve been dreaming of. For more information, visit www.vhda.com. To start searching for your home, contact Jacobson Realty and Home Staging. We’ll help get you set for the next chapter in your life!

Jacobson Realty and Home Staging (JRY) was established by Broker/Owner Belinda Jacobson-Loehle in April 2002. Belinda is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and has lived and worked in Gainesville, Virginia since 1995. She has been a licensed broker since 1989. 

The JRY mission is to provide professional advice and analysis, maintain clear and consistent communication, and serve clients with respect. The home buying and selling process can be an exciting and stressful experience. Our goal is to make it smooth, educational, enjoyable, quick, and as financially beneficial as possible. 

The desire of JRY is to exceed your expectations to find the home you love or sell the house you have for a deal that is right for you!

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