What is an ‘Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM),’ and how is it used?

What is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM), and how is it used?

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) refers to a mortgage with variable interest rates, which change regularly after an initial period. It fluctuates with the market interest rates, offering either a financial gain or loss to the borrowers. This is in direct contrast with the fixed-rate mortgage rules that impose a fixed interest rate for the entire repayment period.

Each ARM loan has an introductory period from 3 to 10 years where the interest rate stays lower than that of any fixed-rate mortgage. It's possible to save a lump sum of money if you can settle the loan within that primary window.

After the initial fixed-rate period, an ARM's interest rate will depend on the current market rates, meaning the rates can rise or fall over the mortgage's remaining course. The lender will revise the rate at regular intervals, possibly once a year, and adjust it to the current market rate until the end of the term. To avoid paying extra money in rising interest, you can either sell the house or refinance the loan.

Global Mortgage Group offers standard 5 and 7-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) that you can qualify easily without going through much paperwork. You can also refinance if your home's market price is at least $150,000 or pull out cash of the home equity.

An ARM might be the right choice if you can pay the loan off during the initial cap or don't plan to live in the same house for your entire life. Ask the lender about the loan's margin, the factors related to rate changes, and the intervals of rate changes to see if you can afford the calculated monthly installments.

What is a ‘Fixed-Rate Mortgage’ vs. an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage?

What is a Fixed-Rate Mortgage vs an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage?

A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the interest rate fixed throughout the loan term. This is the direct opposite of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that changes the interest rate regularly.

Global Mortgage Group offers various fixed mortgage loans ranging from 15 to 30 years. Regardless of the length, the rate in all of them remains the same for the entire period.

In the case of a fixed-rate mortgage, if you purchase a home with a 15-year loan and your monthly payment is set at $1,500 in a fixed interest rate, you will be paying exactly this amount throughout the entirety of the loan.

People with a budget who do not want to deal with the sudden surge in interest rates will find this mortgage type ideal for them. However, these borrowers will not be able to take advantage of a drop in the interest rate unless they choose to refinance to modify their terms. A fixed-rate mortgage is also a good option for people who intend to live in the same house for the rest of their life. By paying a small monthly amount, they can eventually own the house when the mortgage period is over.

What does ‘Principal’ mean in a mortgage?

What does Principal mean in a mortgage?

Principal refers to the initial mortgage amount taken against the property you mortgaged. When you obtain a mortgage, it comes in two parts — principal and interest. The principal is the amount that you borrow from the lender, and the interest is a percentage of that principal amount charged by the lender as the cost of borrowing that money. When repaying, you have to pay both the principal and the interest.

For example: if you borrow $300,000 from a lender to buy a house, the principal of your loan is $300,000. At a 3% of annual interest rate, it will add $750 of interest balance per month to the principal balance. If you repay $10,000 as a monthly installment, the lender will cut off $750 as interest, and the rest $9,250 will pay off the principal balance. So, after one month, your loan principal will be 290,750. With each monthly installment, the principal balance will be reduced.

If you find it difficult to calculate the balance principal, interest percentage, and other fees, check the loan's monthly statement. Our lenders will provide you a breakdown of all the numbers. It will show how much of the monthly installment goes toward paying off the principal balance and interest.

A bigger loan comes with a bigger interest rate. One way to avoid paying extra money is to pay off the loan faster by making additional payments with every monthly installment. Doing so in the case of adjustable-rate mortgages will save you plenty of money.

With Global Mortgage Group, you can get anything between $150,000 and $5,000,000 and a choice from various paying off options.

Buying a new home? Why a ‘Pre-approval’ can help you with your search

Buying a new home? Why a Pre-approval can help you with your search

A pre-approval denotes an official letter from the mortgage lender outlining the maximum mortgage amount they are willing to lend you. It's not a commitment but only a rough estimate of the loan that you may borrow from that organization, the possible interest rate, and the monthly installment figure.

You can get the pre-approval document by filling up a loan application. The lender will ask you to submit some paperwork, including pay stubs, credit check, bank account statements, tax returns, and W-2 statements. An officer will look into the information provided and give you a written statement detailing the mortgage amount you are qualified to borrow.

A pre-approval does not guarantee the approval of a loan. It just means that the lending company has looked into your assets and other aspects of finances and chalked out the sum of a loan against that credit history.

At Global Mortgage Group, we approve over 97% of all applications. Some of our loan programs don't even require verifying the applicant's income! Mortgage pre-approvals have an expiry duration, ranging between 30 and 90 days, depending on the lending company. Meaning, you will need to find a home and apply for the loan within that expiry window. Upon the pre-approval document's expiration, you will need to apply for a new one that may affect your credit score a bit.

A pre-approval solidifies your financial stability and seriousness to the house seller. You can stand ahead of other potential buyers in a competitive market. This will particularly help first-time homebuyers to convince the seller that they are ready to put in an offer. Some people confuse between pre-approval and prequalification. However, the latter does not have much credibility since it does not involve a thorough investigation into your incomes and credit score.

Amortization – How to choose between 10 or 30 year options?

Amortization - How to choose between 10 or 30 year options?

When you acquire a mortgage, the lender divides the repayment schedule into several monthly installments over a fixed period. Amortization is the process of spreading out the mortgage over multiple years and into a series of fixed payments. The total mortgage amount, including the principal balance and interest, is supposed to be paid off with the last installment.

As a borrower of an amortized mortgage, you need to repay a specified monthly amount that pays off a portion of both the principal and interest. After every installment, the total loan balance decreases and finally gets paid off with the last payment.

For example, if you obtain a $20,000 amortized mortgage for five years, the lender will divide it into 60 monthly installments, including the principal and the interest amounts. Presume you need to pay approximately $377 per month and respectively $294 and $83 go into squaring off the principal and interest. Then, it will be $295 and $82 respectively in the next month. Over the loan term, the amount of principal payment will increase, and the interest will decrease (although the monthly installment will be the same).

At Global Mortgage Group, you can enjoy an amortization period longer than the mortgage term in the case of commercial loans. For instance, if you take a loan for ten years, the amortization period could be 30 years meaning the monthly installment amount will be similar to a 30-year loan.

If you are to repay this amount over 120 months at $1,000 per installment, the rate will continue for 119 months. In the last month, you will pay the remaining balance ($81,000 in this case) by one balloon payment.

Amortization is available on fixed-rate mortgages and home equity, personal, and auto loans. You won't get this facility on credit cards and interest-only loans.

What is an Appraisal – and how is it used in a mortgage?

What is an Appraisal and how is it used in a mortgage?

An appraisal is simply an 'official' assessment of a property value. It is an integral part of a home-buying process since the mortgage lender expects the correct valuation of the property you will be purchasing.

When you apply for a loan for buying a house, the mortgage lender will require a report from the appraiser about the market price or a possible selling price of that house. These will be ordered by Global Mortgage Group at the Processing Stage of your loan - on your behalf and will be the only time we will ask for any form of payment.

It's a rough estimate that the lender uses to determine the mortgage rate. The principal or loan amount will be lower than the appraised value of the property. Global Mortgage Group loans out 75% (for Foreign Nationals) to 90% (for U.S. citizens) of a home's appraisal value.

The appraisal must be done by a person or an organization with the required licenses in that jurisdiction.

A licensed professional appraiser will work without any bias and make sure that the estimation is fair. When the lender requests the appraisal during the mortgage approval process, it will be randomly selected from a panel of reputable companies to ensure an unbiased opinion.

So, what features of the house matter to the appraiser? Some people have the misconception that eye-catching decoration and luxurious furniture increases the price. In fact, these things add value during other steps of home buying and selling, not in the appraisal process.

A home's value will depend on its current condition, square footage, number of bedrooms, location, neighborhood, and a handful of other things. Appraisers will also note the views, which means overlooking a beach, lake, or the city. A property in a prime location or a prestigious neighborhood will qualify for a higher loan than those located in a less desirable area.

Normal appraisals range between $500-800 depending on State and location. If a lender requires a Rental Comparison, it may add $100-200 more.

The Basics of a “1031 Exchange”

The Basics of a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange is simply an exchange of one investment property for another, where the capital gains taxes on the property sold are deferred. The strategy is named after the section in the IRS tax code, section 1031. A 1031 Exchange is a very popular and commonly used strategy in buying and selling investment properties. Investors can defer the capital gains taxes to a future period where it may be more advantageous to pay them.

An investor considering using a 1031 Exchange should engage a 1031 Exchange agent and their CPA early in the process. There are very specific timelines and requirements that need to be met for the exchange to be successful. A miss on a timeline or property detail could void the exchange or result in a sponsor's tax event.

This article will touch briefly on two of the main requirements for a successful 1031 exchange: timeline and debt replacement.

There are two main periods in a 1031 Exchange. The first is the 45 day period where you must identify three potential properties to exchange for and notify your exchange intermediary of those properties. The intermediary will receive the cash from your property's sale and hold onto that cash throughout the exchange process. If the cash from the sale goes to the sponsor, the exchange is void.

The second timeline is within 180 days after the sale of your property, and you must close on purchasing one of the properties you had previously identified to your intermediary. It's important to note that both time periods run concurrently. If the sponsor takes the full 45 days to identify replacement properties, they will have fewer days to close on the property they ultimately choose.

Debt replacement is often an area where investors find themselves in a taxable event. If there is any mortgage debt on the property being sold, that debt needs to be "replaced" on the new property. If the debt is lower on the new property, the difference will be counted as cash to you and could be taxable. For example: if you sell a property with a $1M mortgage balance on it and only have a loan of $700k on your new property, the difference of $300k is considered cash to you and could be taxable.

This article intended to quickly highlight a few key parts of a 1031 Exchange. Any investors looking at utilizing this strategy should engage a qualified exchange agent and their CPA for further advice on the process.

How is the Mortgage Market performing post COVID-19?

How is the Mortgage Market performing post COVID-19?

How is the Mortgage Market performing post COVID-19?

U.S. Mortgage Specialists Donald Klip and Robert Chadwick discuss the current U.S. Mortgage Market Scenario and you can take advantage of the lowest rates in history.

How to apply for U.S. Mortgages as a Foreign National?

How to apply for U.S. Mortgages as a Foreign National?

Did you know with GMG, Foreign Nationals can apply for U.S. Mortgages without stepping into the country? You don't even need any U.S. Credit or U.S Income! Join Donald Klip, the Co-Founder of Global Mortgage Group to learn more!