A car, home, holiday to favourite destination – who doesn’t want all that! Few years back it was not so easy to plan all that especially if you did not have the necessary funds. Now it is! Personal loans are making possible for everyone to borrow money for any kind of requirement. Personal loans literally mould themselves to reconcile with the financial needs of any borrower. “Personal loans” is the generic term for loans. Personal loans are in fact a lump sum which is borrowed from a bank or building society or any other lender. Good personal loans are a rare breed. Like all better things in life it comes with tact, patience and consistent effort.
Personal loans market is huge and so competitive that everyone can now avail customized personal loans. Personal loans are considered to be both secured and unsecured; however, few lenders translate personal loans as unsecured loans. Major characteristic of unsecured personal loan is no collateral. This ensures that tenants also have an opportunity to apply for loans. However, lack of security or collateral with unsecured personal loans is interpreted as high interest rates in loan borrowing terms. This makes secured personal loans a much viable option for secured loans have comparatively low interest rate. Low interest rates for secured personal loans are due to the fact that a security is being offered for their approval.
According to the convenience and requisites of the borrower, he can apply for either of the personal loans. Personal loans that are secured are available for amounts of the likes of £5000-£75,000. The amount offered as personal loans is dependent on the collateral offered. Loan term for personal loans extends from 1-25 years. Unsecured personal loans are provided for amounts ranging from £5000-£25,000 with loan term of 5-10 years. With personal loans that are unsecured the approval time is lesser for no collateral is required to be reviewed.
Uses of personal loans in UK are endless. Personal loans can be put to any use and there is no restriction by the lender as to how you would use personal loans. Most commonly personal loans are used for car purchase, home improvement, vacation, wedding etc. Debt consolidation is another way to use personal loans for constructive purposes. Debt consolidation consolidates high interest rate debts into single low interest consolidated loan. Personal loans are much cheaper than other alternatives like credit cards, overdraft etc.
Eligibility criteria for personal loans is usually reliant on credit score. Anyone who has ever indulged in loan borrowing has a credit score on how he or she has performed earlier. Credit score is a three digit number with which the creditor decides whether to extend you loan or not. Before applying for personal loans, check your latest credit score. Credit score ranges from 300-850. Credit score lower than 580 is considered to be having credit problems. However, credit score below 550 will be interpreted as bad credit by personal loans lenders.
Bad credit score, though considered a liability does not prevent anyone from getting approved for personal loans. Personal loans for bad credit are offered to people with any kind of bad credit problems. Late payments, arrears, defaults, bankrupts, foreclosures etc. are given prompt response when applying for personal loans. Personal loans for bad credit not only provide the finances when needed but give an opportunity to improve credit. This certainly has long term benefits for those who have bad credit.
Different personal loans lenders have different criteria. Therefore, different lenders will offer different terms and conditions for personal loans. Borrowers have all the choices for personal loans. Take your time and compare loans in UK. Comparing loans gives you the ability to make better choice. Comparing loans is not that difficult and requires some simple calculations. Many personal loans sites have the provision to compare loans.
All this advice comes in handy after you have paid heed to the first basic rule of loan borrowing. While borrowing any kind of personal loans, just think over the fact – is it absolutely necessary to borrow personal loans. Take personal loans only if it is affordable. Eventually personal loans would be required to be paid back. Finances are always tightening their control over us. We are constantly in the struggle to build up funds to provide for something or the other. There are answers around the world for your financial need. However, the one that best suits them is personal loans.
Today, loan has become the part of the normal living. In the present circumstances, it is difficult to identify a person without even taken a singe loan. Loans are the money provided for temporary purposes, which has to be repaid in the particular repayment track. Now, most of the people have multiple loans since the economic conditions are becoming stringent. The widespread utility of the loans have motivated to introduce many different types of loan. The different types of loan have its own characteristics and attributes, which makes it different from others. The economic regulations prevailing in the country is the deciding factor behind the different types of loan.
The different types of loan are available mainly in the focus of the purpose of the loan. The most popular types of loan include home loan, personal loan, car loan, student loan, payday loan, debt consolidation loan and so on. The lenders have also introduced many subtypes of these loans, to meet the necessity of the specific group of people. The point essentially has to be noted is that these loans have different rates and repayment track. Each type of loan will be structured according to the needs of the particular loan. In case of a particular loan type such as home loan, the repayment track will be longer and the interest rates will be comparatively cheaper.
The different types of loan can be primarily categorized into two major classes, secured and unsecured. The secured loans are the particular group of loans, which is raised from the lenders by providing a collateral security of any of your valuable assets. Secured loans seem to be the most flexible loans as they are offered in lower interest rates and longer repayment tracks. The secured loans are provided in lenient terms as the lender does not have any risk in the loan amount as they can go for the foreclosure of the asset, if the borrower makes any lapse in the loan repayment. The home mortgage, equity loan, and car loan are some other types of secured loans.
Unsecured loans, on the other hand, are provided without any collateral security. The lenders have the risk of their money and most often the rates and other attributes of loan are very narrow. The borrowers cannot enjoy many privileges in the unsecured loans, but it does not relieve you from the risk of losing any of your valuable assets, if you make any defaults. The loan refinancing is a unique loan type, in which a particular collateral property is used for a second loan in an increase loan amount or better conditions and rates. The loan refinancing is opted as a beneficial plan in many options as the collateral gains more appraisal value.
Even though the requirements for each loan will be different, some conditions can be generalized as a common requirement for any type of loan. Good credit score is the basic requirement for any loan. However, now many specialized lenders are present in the market that can provide loan to bad credit people. Due to the competition in the market, most of the lenders are ready to provide many adjustments in the loan rates. Online loan lenders have made the loan processing easy. The intensive market search will help you to obtain an appropriate and affordable loan.
Personal loans seem to be the most easily available loan, which can be used for any purpose. The easiness of the availability is one of the major reasons for the popularity of personal loans. The conventional personal loans itself were appreciated for its utility. The possibilities of personal loan have now multi-fold with the evolution of the internet. Online personal loans have revolutionized the concept of the loan processing and now you can avail personal loan from the convenience of your home/office, at the click of a mouse. Personal loans can be generally categorized into two categories, namely secured personal loans and unsecured personal loans.
Personal loans are available in various titles such as credit card loans, payday loans, cash advance, guaranteed personal loans, and fast cash. Any kind of loan that does not specifically focused for a particular task can be termed as a personal loan. Hence you can use the personal loan for any purpose such as debt consolidation, meeting medical expenditure, buying artifacts, home improvements, auto repair, or for your dream holiday. Using personal loans for credit building is most appreciated as it can lead you to a bright and balanced financial future. The lender will not be bothered about the usage purpose of the loan and you do not have to produce the details about the expenditure such as in student loan and car loan.
The secured personal loans are offered based on a collateral security such as car, house, real estate or any other valuable asset. The lenders will offer many privileges for the borrowers since they have no risk in their loan amount. The borrowers can enjoy maximum benefits with low interest rate and maximum loan amount. The loan repayment schedule can be extended to a couple of years; however, experts suggest reducing the loan repayment period since it will help to minimize your expense in interest. You can choose interest rates either in fixed or adjustable rates. However secured personal loans will take a little more time for processing since the lenders will approve the loan only after the verification of the asset. But today, the no fax loans have speed up the loan processing to the minimum turn around.
On the other hand, the unsecured personal loans do not require any collateral security for the approval of the loan. However, the interest rate of the loan will be high as the lender is in total risk about the amount. In most cases the loan repayment period will be short for unsecured personal loans. The loan processing time is very little for unsecured loans as it does not require the verification and appraisal of the collateral.
The most interesting factor about the personal loans is that it is now offered irrespective of the credit score of the people. It is true that good credit people will be able to identify the best offers in personal loans. However, the bad credit people can also avail the reasonable benefits of personal loans. The bad credit focused lenders provide advantageous benefits to personal loan to bad credit people. The intensive market search will help one to identify the most affordable rates. Obviously the interest rates are quite high in case of unsecured personal loans, but the opportunity gives a privilege for everyone to realize their dreams.
When the whole world is on its process of transformation, the world of mortgage loans has also joined the herd. The balloon loan is a new way to pay for your mortgage loan, which is often termed as the adjustable rate mortgage loans. The word “balloon” implies that the balance is required to be paid back at the end of the due date upon the maturity of the loan.
Balloon loans are the type of mortgage loans, which remain fixed, except it becomes 100% due after a specific time span. The loan is framed on the clause that the loan is paid back in cash, after the loan gets matured. The basic advantage of this type of loans is that you can get lower interest rates as compared to other higher interest rate mortgage loans.
Balloon loans like any other ARM loans; always attract the consumers, as they are the low interest loans. When you go in for the balloon loans, you have to obtain a new mortgage loan to replace the older one. However, refinancing can be very difficult if you are undergoing a bad credit situation or a difficult financial state.
The refinancing of the loan will also become a great problem for you whenever the interest rates of the loan increase. This makes you incompetent to apply for a new loan with traditional loans. However, with Balloon loans you can refinance the mortgage loans till 5 years.
You can invest in balloon loans in order to secure your future. It was long ago that the balloon loans were paid with the interest and not along with the principal, and the loans had to be repaid at the end of the term of 5 to 10 years. But today the calculation for the repayment of the balloon loans is done, as if the loan is going to be repaid after 30 years or so. Hence, you get the benefit of paying the lower interest rate on the balloon loans, as compared to the fixed mortgages. With balloon loans you get the flexibility to utilize the available capital during the loan period, and most of the payment is done when the term of the loan is finished.
However, there is a risk involved in it. As all the repayment is done at the end of the loan term, therefore, you are advised to refinance your mortgage loan or again convert it into the balloon loan, at the current interest rates, in order to pay back the loan amount to your creditors. The balloon loans are also available to investors, who purchase these balloon loans from the mortgage lenders. The process has helped a great deal in establishing balloon loans as a refinancing option.
Balloon loans are more popular as the alternative to leasing, in the places where the property tax is levied on leased products. Balloon loans are the right alternative for you if you are in need of a mortgage loan. Balloon loans are the kind of mortgage loans that feature low interest rates, and are also excellent finance options to meet future uncertainties.
Government-Backed Loans – Government loans refer to those loans that are guaranteed by one of two federal agencies. The two types of government loans are: Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, and Veterans Administration (VA) loans. The advantage of financing using FHA loans are that they are easier to qualify for and allow a borrower to finance more of the loan amount than non-government loans. Whereas with a Conforming loan a borrower may only be able to finance 80% of the loan amount, a FHA loan allows a borrower to finance 97% of the loan amount. FHA loans are recommended for those borrowers who are first-time buyers, have little money to put down, have a short credit history, or are having trouble qualifying for a Conforming loan. The two main advantages of financing using VA loans are that the VA allows borrowers to finance 100% of the loan amount, and that, the VA only requires proof of veteran status to qualify for the loan. The only drawback to government loans is that mortgage insurance is required at all loan to values (LTV), unlike Conventional and Jumbo loans where payment of mortgage insurance is determined by the amount of equity a borrower has in his home.
VA Loan Information
VA loans are designed to provide assistance in purchasing a home for United States Veterans. A benefit of a VA loan is that you can purchase a home with no down payment. In addition, it is slightly easier to qualify for a Veterans Affair loan when compared to a regular loan.
Many people for who actually qualify for a VA Loan are not aware of it.
Who qualifies for a VA Loan?
The following table shows what type of service (and for what duration is required in order to be eligible for a VA Loan:
Service during:WWII-09/16/40 to 07/25/47 Korean-06/27/50 to 01/31/55 Vietnam-08/05/64 to 05/07/75 Persian Gulf-8/2/90 to undetermined. You must have at least 90 days on active duty. Plus, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than the standard 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Service during periods:-07/26/47 to 06/26/50 & 02/01/55 to 08/04/64 & 05/08/75 to 08/01/90To qualify for a VA Loan, you must have served at least 181 days of continuous active duty. Plus, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than the standard 181 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
Other questions about VA Loans:
1) Is the spouse or children of a veteran eligible?A spouse is eligible if the veteran died as a result of a service connected disability or died while on active duty. The children are not eligible. 2) Who makes the loans?Private lenders make the loans. However, the VA guarantee protects these lenders against loss. The guaranty will allow lenders to make loans without other requirements (for example, a down payment). 3) Can I get a VA loan if I have been foreclosed on in the past?Yes. The best way to find out how to qualify for this is to contact a mortgage specialist. They can give you advice on what you can do to ensure you can qualify for a loan.If you are considering a VA Loan, remember that there are still a variety of different mortgages. A mortgage broker can be a useful tool to help find the most appropriate mortgage for your purchase. If you plan on living in your home for a long period of time, you may want to consider the traditional fixed-rate 15- or 30-year loan. Another option is to choose an adjustable rate mortgage and consider refinancing again in a few years. Short-term mortgages include balloon mortgages and one-year adjustable rate mortgages. Simply click APPLY NOW [https://www.peakhomeloan.com/homepage.asp]and select ‘Home Refinance Loan’ or ‘Home Purchase Loan’ for Type of loan desired? for an answer.
Is an FHA loan the best home loan for my situation?
You have many decisions when choosing which type of loan is best for your situation. Is the FHA loan the best? What about a VA loan? When is a Conventional loan better than an FHA loan?
A mortgage specialist can analyze your situation, and help you determine which loan is best for you. In many cases, there are other loans more beneficial than an FHA loan. Although in some situations, FHA loans are the best choice. Simply click APPLY NOW [https://www.peakhomeloan.com/homepage.asp]and select ‘Home Refinance Loan’ or ‘Home Purchase Loan’ for Type of loan desired? for an answer.
About the FHA Loan program. With an FHA Loan, your home loan is insured by HUD. The FHA Program is designed to help give home buyers the opportunity to qualify for a mortgage, when they may not otherwise qualify. HUD assumes some of the risk on the loan. The requirements are not as high for an FHA loan as they are for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Loans. Plus, a borrower can purchase a home with only 3% down. In some cases a borrower can qualify for gift programs which allow them to purchase a home with no money out of pocket. There are a variety FHA loan programs that you can take advantage of. A mortgage specialist can give you advice as to which is best for you.
The Federal Student Loan Consolidation program could supply debt management
solutions for graduates, those who have left school, or dropped to less than
half-time. A few federal student loan consolidation choices are the Direct
Consolidation Loan and private consolidation loan.
Student loan consolidation recourse such as Direct Consolidation
sanction borrowers to combine one or more of their Federal education
loans into a
new loan that passes many conveniences. One lender and one monthly payment,
flexible repayment options, no minimum or maximum loan amounts or fees
consolidation loans), assorted deferment options, and reasonable monthly
Many loans may be entitled to consolidation. PLUS
Federal Perkins loans, Stafford loans, Health Professions Student Loans
Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL) and more. You might consider
other Federal Consolidation Loans.
Avoid Loan Default
Default on a loan can occur after a default has persisted for a certain
number of days. Before a loan is officially in default it is considered
to be in delinquency. While delinquent, the loan holder must attempt to
contact the borrower about repayment. If the borrow cannot be reached
the loan will then be put into default status. The loan could then be
made due in a single lump payment. While in a default state a borrower
can’t take advantage of any deferments in most cases.
Why choose Federal Student Loan Consolidation?
You should contemplate consolidation to circumvent
consequences of default can be severe. You can consolidate Stafford
loans, and Federal Perkins Loans into one single debt. You might chop
payments, but with a longer term on the loan. Consolidation loans almost
a fixed interest rate for the lifetime of the loan. The term of the loan
extended to 10 to 30 years. Although your monthly payments might be
total amount paid would be larger due to the longer term of the
About Federal Direct Consolidation Loans
You’ve done it! You have just graduated or are about to finish college. How to repay and manage your student loan debt is just one of the challenges that lay ahead. In many cases your best bet is to consolidate.
It’s not all bad news. By consolidating your federal loans you can take advantage of a great government program. There are many easy to find and easy to use tools available to help you transition too.
The Federal Student Loan Consolidation Program is a very commonly used management tool for your student loan debts. This program was set up just for you to use and enjoy. Read on to find out specific information that you can take to heart today.
Using Private Student Loan Consolidation
After you consolidate all your Federal Student Loans initially and
consider private student loan consolidation for the remainder. Private
are not possible, in general, to be consolidated with federal loan
programs. The interest
rates are typically greater on private student loans as well. Private
is an option that complements federal student loan consolidation.
After learning about federal student loan consolidation new graduates
might realize that
they have the ability to take charge of their finances. Cash saved through
consolidation can be used to pay off credit cards and other higher
Your commercial real estate transaction does not close unless the loan is approved. You can also improve the cash flow if the interest rate for the loan is low. So the more you know about commercial loans, the better decision you can make about your commercial real estate investment.
Loan Qualification: Most of you have applied for a residential loan and are familiar with the process. You provide to the lender with:
W2’s and/or tax returns so it can verify your income,
Bank and/or brokerage statements so it can verify your liquid assets and down payment.
In general the more personal income you make the higher loan amount you qualify. You could even borrow 95% of the purchase price for 1-unit principal residence with sufficient income.
For commercial loan, the loan amount a lender will approve is based primarily on the net operating income (NOI) of the property, not your personal income. This is the fundamental difference between residential and commercial loan qualification. Therefore, if you buy a vacant commercial building, you will have difficult time getting the loan approved since the property has no rental income. However, if you
Occupy at least 51% of the space for your business; you can apply for SBA loan.
Have sufficient income from another commercial property used as cross collateral; there are lenders out there that want your business.
Loan to Value: Commercial lenders tend to be more conservative about the loan to value (LTV). Lenders will only loan you the amount such that the ratio of NOI to mortgage payment for the loan, called Debt Coverage Ratio (DCR) or Debt Service Ratio (DSR) must be at least 1.25 or higher. This means the NOI has to be at least 25% more than the mortgage payment. In other words, the loan amount is such that you will have positive cash flow equal to at least 25% of the mortgage payment. So, if you purchase a property with low cap rate, you will need a higher down payment to meet lender’s DCR. For example, properties in California with 5% cap often require 50% or more down payment. To make the matter more complicated, some lenders advertise 1.25% DCR but underwrite the loan with interest rate 2%-3% higher than the note rate! Since the financial meltdown of 2007, most commercial lenders prefer keeping the LTV at 70% or less. Higher LTV is possible for high-quality properties with strong national tenants, e.g. Walgreens or in the areas that the lenders are very familiar and comfortable with. However, you will rarely see higher than 75% LTV. Commercial real estate is intended for the elite group of investors so there is no such thing as 100% financing.
Interest Rate: The interest for commercial is dependent on various factors below:
Loan term: The rate is lower for the shorter 5 years fixed rate than the 10 years fixed rate. It’s very hard to get a loan with fixed rate longer than 10 years unless the property has a long term lease with a credit tenant, e.g. Walgreens. Most lenders offer 20-25 years amortization. Some credit unions use 30 years amortization. For single-tenant properties, lenders may use 10-15 years amortization.
Tenant credit rating: The interest rate for a drugstore occupied by Walgreens is much lower than one with HyVee Drugstore since Walgreens has much stronger S&P rating.
Property type: The interest rate for a single tenant night club building will be higher than multi-tenant retail strip because the risk is higher. When the night club building is foreclosed, it’s much harder to sell or rent it compared to the multi-tenant retail strip. The rate for apartment is lower than shopping strip. To the lenders, everyone needs a roof over their head no matter what, so the rate is lower for apartments.
Age of the property: Loan for newer property will have lower rate than dilapidated one. To the lender the risk factor for older properties is higher, so the rate is higher.
Area: If the property is located in a growing area like Dallas suburbs, the rate would be lower than a similar property located in the rural declining area of Arkansas. This is another reason you should study demographic data of the area before you buy the property.
Your credit history: Similarly to residential loan, if you have good credit history, your rate is lower.
Loan amount: In residential mortgage, if you borrow less money, i.e. a conforming loan, your interest rate will be the lowest. When you borrow more money, i.e. a jumbo or super jumbo loan, your rate will be higher. In commercial mortgage, the reverse is true! If you borrow $200K loan your rate could be 8%. But if you borrow $3M, your rate could be only 4.5%! In a sense, it’s like getting a lower price when you buy an item in large volume at Costco.
The lenders you apply the loan with. Each lender has its own rates. There could be a significant difference in the interest rates. Hard money lenders often have highest interest rates. So you should work with someone specialized on commercial loans to shop for the lowest rates.
Prepayment flexibility: If you want to have the flexibility to prepay the loan then you will have to pay a higher rate. If you agree to keep the loan for the term of the loan, then the rate is lower.
Commercial loans are exempt from various consumers’ laws intended for residential loans. Some lenders use “360/365” rule in computing mortgage interest. With this rule, the interest rate is based on 360 days a year. However, the interest payment is based on 365 days in a year. In other words, you have to pay an extra 5 days (6 days on leap year) of interest per year. As a result, your actual interest payment is higher than the rate stated in the loan documents because the effective interest rate is higher.
Prepayment Penalty: In residential loan, prepayment penalty is often an option. If you don’t want it, you pay higher rate. Most commercial loans have prepayment penalty. The prepayment penalty amount is reduced or stepped down every year. For example on a 5 year fixed rate loan, the prepayment penalty for the first year is 5% of the balance. It’s reduced to 4% and then 3%, 2%, 1% for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th year respectively. For conduit loans, the prepayment amount is huge as you have to pay for the interest between the note rate and the equivalent US Treasure rate for the whole loan balance for the remaining term of the loan. This prepayment penalty is called defeasance or yield maintenance.
Loan Fees: In residential mortgage, lenders may offer you a “no points, no costs” option if you pay a higher rate. Such an option is not available in commercial mortgage. You will have to pay between ½ to 1 point loan fee, appraisal cost, environment assessment report fee, and processing/underwriting fee. A lender normally issues to the borrower a Letter of Interest (LOI) if it is interested in lending you the money. The LOI states the loan amount, interest rate, loan term and fees. Once the borrower pays about $5000 for loan application fees for third party reports (appraisal, phase I, survey), the lender starts underwriting the loan. It orders its own appraisal using its own pre-approved MAI (Member of Appraisal Institute) appraisers. If the lender approves the loan and you do not accept it, then the lender keeps all the fees.
Loan Types: While there are various commercial loan types, most investors often encounter 3 main types of commercial loans:
1. Small Business Administration or SBA loan. This is a government guaranteed loan intended for owner-occupied properties. When you occupy 51% or more of the space in the building (gas station or hotel is considered an owner-occupied property), you are qualified for this program. The key benefit is you can borrow up to 90% of purchased price.
2. Portfolio loan. This is the type of commercial loans in which the lenders use their own money and keep on its balance sheet until maturity. Lenders are often more flexible because it’s their money. For example East West Bank, US Bank and some life insurance companies are portfolio lenders. These lenders require the borrowers to provide a personal guaranty for the payment of the loans. And thus these loans are recourse loans.
3. Conduit loan or CMBS (Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities) loan. This was a very popular commercial loan program prior to the 2007 recession where its market size was over $225 Billion in 2007. It was down to just a few Billion in 2009 and is making a comeback with issuance of almost $100 Billion in 2015. Many individual loans of different sizes, at different locations are pooled together, rated from Triple-A (Investment grade) to B (Junk) and then sold to investors over the world as bonds. Therefore it’s not possible to prepay the loan because it’s already part of a bond. These are the characteristics of conduit loans:
The rate is often lower. It is often around 1.2% over the 5 or 10 year US Treasury rates compared to 1.85-3% over the 5 or 10 year US Treasury rates for portfolio loan. Some CMBS loans have interest only payments. Since the rate is lower and borrowers are required to pay interest only, the LTV can be over 75%. Low rates and high LTV are the key advantage of conduit loan.
Conduit lenders only consider big loan amount, e.g. at least $2M.
Lenders require borrower to form a single-asset entity, e.g. Limited Liability Company (LLC) to take title to the property. This is intended to shield the property from other the borrower’s liabilities.
The loans are non-recourse which means the property is the only collateral for the loan and the borrowers do not have to sign personal guaranty. And so these loans are popular among investment firms, REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust), TIC (Tenants in Common) companies that invest in commercial real estate using funds pooled from various investors.
If the borrower later wants to sell the property before the loan matures, the new buyer must assume the loan as the seller cannot pay off the loan. This makes it harder to sell the property because the buyer needs to come up with a significant amount of cash for the difference between the purchase price and loan balance. Furthermore, the lender/loan servicer could reject the loan assumption application for various reasons as there are no strong incentives for it to do so. The loan servicer can also impose new conditions to loan assumption approval, e.g. increase reserve amount by several hundred thousand dollars. If you are a 1031-exchange buyer, you may want to think twice about buying a property with loan assumptions. Should the lender reject your loan assumption application, you may end up not qualifying for the 1031 exchange and be liable for paying capital gain. This is the hidden cost of conduit loan.
Even when you are allowed to prepay the loan, it costs an arm and a leg if you want to prepay the loan. The prepayment penalty is often called Defeasance or Yield Maintenance. Basically you have to pay the difference in interest between the note rate of your loan and the applicable US Treasury rate for the remaining years of the loan! This amount is often so high that the seller normally requires the buyer to assume the loan. You can compute the defeasance from www.defeasewithease.com website. Besides the defeasance, you also have to pay 1% loan assumption fee. This is another hidden cost of conduit loan.
Conduit loan may be the loan for you if you intend to keep the loan for the life of the loan that you agree to at the beginning. Otherwise it could be very costly due to its payoff inflexibility.
Lenders Coverage Area: Commercial lenders would do business in areas they are familiar with or have local offices. For example East West Bank will only consider properties in California. Many commercial lenders don’t lend to out-of-state investors.
Lenders Coverage Property Types: Most commercial lenders would only consider certain types of properties they are familiar with. For example Chase would do apartments and owner-occupied office buildings but not retail properties or gas stations. Westford Financial specializes on church financing. Comerica concentrates on owner-occupied properties.
Lenders Escrow Accounts: Most lenders require borrowers to pay 1/12 of property taxes each month. Some lenders require borrowers to have repairs and/or TI (Tenants Improvement) reserve account to make sure the borrowers have sufficient funds to cover major repairs or leasing expenses should existing tenants not renew the leases.
Conclusion: Commercial loans are a lot more complex and difficult to obtain with loan approvals more unpredictable than residential loans. As an investor, it is in your best interest to employ a professional commercial loan broker to assist with your commercial loan needs. By doing so, you will vastly improve your chances of paying lower interest rates, avoid potential pitfalls and improve your chance on getting the loan approved.
A student loan is a kind of loan that students can avail of to help them in paying for their professional education. Student loans are guaranteed by the government and typically have lower interest rates than other kinds of loans.
Sometimes, one loan is not enough to finance all of your educational expenses, including tuition, books and school supplies. This can force you to borrow several student loans from different lenders, which can be quite confusing and even more expensive. To prevent this, you should consider student loan consolidation.
WHAT IS STUDENT LOAN CONSOLIDATION
Student Loan Consolidation is the process of combining all of your student loans into a single new loan with one repayment plan issued by one lender. The balances from all your previous student loans are paid off by the new loan. This allows you to pay only one loan instead of multiple loans.
The interest rate for the consolidated student loans is computed by averaging the interest rates of your current loans.
You can also consolidate your student loans with the loans of another person, such as your spouse. However, this is not advisable. This is because if you need deferment, both of you have to meet the necessary criteria. Also, you will still have to repay the loan even if you separate or divorce.
Most federal loans, such as FFELP and FISL loans, can be consolidated. Some private loans can also be consolidated. Various banks and student loan lenders typically offer loan consolidation options. You can also go directly to the Department of Education to consolidate. Both students and their parents can avail of loan consolidation.
ADVANTAGES OF CONSOLIDATION
Aside from simplifying your payment responsibilities, another benefit of student loan consolidation is that you are able to decide on the structure of your loan. Typically, consolidated student loans require smaller monthly payments than the original loans. If you’re having trouble making your monthly payments, then this option may just be for you. You can also convert your variable interest rate to a lower fixed rate, which can save you a lot of money. You can also extend your repayment term from the standard 10 years for federal loans to reach up to 30 years. There is no maximum amount that you can consolidate, and interest you pay may be tax deductible. Consolidated student loans also have flexible repayment options, including no prepayment penalties, allowing you to pay more than your monthly payments.
DISADVANTAGES OF CONSOLIDATION
Of course, there are also disadvantages to consolidating your student loans. By lowering your monthly payments, you will have to extend the repayment period, which, in the end, can result in more interest. However, since there are no prepayment penalties, you can pay more than the required payments so that you can repay the loan faster. Another disadvantage to consolidation is that once the student loans have been consolidated, you may not separate them again. You may end up losing benefits, such as loan deferment. You can also only consolidate once. Thus, it is essential that you research thoroughly for the best consolidation options before going through with the process.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR CONSOLIDATION?
There are certain criteria you have to meet before you can consolidate your student loans. For federal student loan consolidation, you can only consolidate if your current loans amount to more than $10,000. You must be within your 6-month loan grace period after graduation or you should have already started repaying your loans. In order to be eligible, you also should have no previous record of loan consolidation. If you’ve gone back to school after your initial consolidation, then you are still eligible for a new one.
WHEN SHOULD I CONSOLIDATE?
Once you have started repayment or you are within the grace period, you can already consolidate your student loans. It is advisable to consolidate during the grace period, since this usually results in a lower interest rate.
HOW TO CONSOLIDATE
If you’ve decided to consolidate all or some of your existing student loans, the first thing you have to do is look for a bank or lender with the best offer. Student loan consolidation plans have different interest rates, fees for late payments and repayment terms. There are websites, such as FinAid, that can provide you with a list of lenders and their offers. Some websites can also help you arrange the consolidation. You can also consult a qualified loan counselor to help you determine whether consolidating your loans will truly be beneficial for you or not. They can help you in calculating the costs of your existing loans and compare it with the cost of the single consolidated loan. They can also explain to you your other options, such as income contingent payments, extended repayment and graduated repayment. By doing this, you can make an informed decision regarding student loan consolidation, and save a good deal of money in the long run.
Here are some tips that could save you a lot of time, money and trouble.
Plan ahead. Establish good credit and save as much as you can for the down payment and closing costs.
Get pre-approved online before you start looking. Not only do real estate agents prefer working with pre-qualified buyers; you will have more negotiating power and an edge over homebuyers who are not pre-approved.
Set a budget and stick to it.
Know what you really want in a home. How long will you live there? Is your family growing? What are the schools like? How long is your commute? Consider every angle before diving in.
Make a reasonable offer. To determine a fair value on the home, ask your real estate agent for a comparative market analysis listing all the sales prices of other houses in the neighborhood.
Choose your loan (and your lender) carefully. For some tips, see the question in this section about comparing loans.
Consult with your lender before paying off debts. You may qualify even with your existing debt, especially if it frees up more cash for a down payment.
Keep your day job. If there is a career move in your future, make the move after your loan is approved. Lenders tend to favor a stable employment history.
Do not shift money around. A lender needs to verify all sources of funds. By leaving everything where it is, the process is a lot easier on everyone involved.
Do not add to your debt. If you increase your debt by financing a new car, boat, furniture or other large purchase, it could prevent you from qualifying.
Timing is everything. If you already own a home, you may need to sell your current home to qualify for a new one. If you are renting, simply time the move to the end of the lease.
How Much House Can I Afford?
How much house you can afford depends on how much cash you can put down and how much a creditor will lend you. There are two rules of thumb:
You can afford a home that’s up to 2 1/2 times your annual gross income.
Your monthly payments (principal and interest) should be 1/4 of your gross pay, or 1/3 of your take-home pay.
The down payment and closing costs – how much cash will you need? Generally speaking, the more money you put down, the lower your mortgage. You can put as little as 3% down, depending on the loan, but you’ll have a higher interest rate. Furthermore, anything less than 20% down will require you to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) which protects the lender if you can’t make the payments. Also, expect to pay 3% to 6% of the loan amount in closing costs. These are fees required to close the loan including points, insurance, inspections and title fees. To save on closing costs you may ask the seller to pay some of them, in which case the lender simply adds that amount to the price of the house and you finance them with the mortgage. A lender may also ask you to have two months’ mortgage payments in savings when applying for a loan. The mortgage – how much can you borrow? A lender will look at your income and your existing debt when evaluating your loan application. They use two ratios as guidelines:
Housing expense ratio. Your monthly PITI payment (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance) should not exceed 28% of your monthly gross income.
Debt-to-income ratio. Your long-term debt (any debt that will take over 10 months to pay off – mortgages, car loans, student loans, alimony, child support, credit cards) shouldn’t exceed 36% of your monthly gross income.
Lenders aren’t inflexible, however. These are just guidelines. If you can make a large down payment or if you’ve been paying rent that’s close to the same amount as your proposed mortgage, the lender may bend a little. Use our calculator to see how you fit into these guidelines and to find out how much home you can afford.
Why Should I Refinance?
If you have a low 30-year fixed interest rate you’re in good shape. But if any of these Five Reasons applies to your situation, you may want to look into refinancing.
1. Decrease monthly payments.
If you can get a fixed rate that’s lower than the one you currently have, you can lower your monthly payments.
2. Get cash out of your equity.
If you have enough equity you can get cash out by refinancing. Just decide how much you want to take out and increase the new loan by that amount. It’s one way to release money for major expenditures like home improvements and college tuition.
3. Switch from an adjustable to a fixed rate.
If interest rates are increasing and you want the security of a fixed rate, or, if interest rates have fallen below your current rate you can refinance your adjustable loan to get the fixed rate you’re looking for.
4. Consolidate debt.
You can refinance your mortgage to pay off debt, too. Simply increase the new loan amount by the amount you need and the lender will give you that cash to pay off creditors. You’ll still owe the lender but at a much lower interest rate – and that interest is tax-deductible.
5. Pay off your mortgage sooner.
If you switch to a shorter term or a bi-weekly payment plan, you can pay off your home earlier and save in interest. And if your current interest rate is higher than the new rate, the difference in monthly payments may not be as big as you’d expect.
Is refinancing worth it?
Refinancing costs money. Like buying a new home, there are points and fees to consider. Usually it takes at least three years to recoup the costs of refinancing your loan, so if you don’t plan to stay that long it isn’t worth the money. But if your interest rate is high it may be smart to refinance to a lower interest rate, even if it is for the short term. If your mortgage has a prepayment penalty, this is another cost you will incur if you refinance.
Use the reasons above as a guideline and determine whether or not refinancing is the right thing to do. You can also use our refinance analysis calculator to help you decide.
What Are the Costs of Refinancing?
Here’s what you can expect to pay when you refinance:
The 3-6 Percent Rule
Plan to pay between 3% and 6% of the amount of the new loan amount (if want cash-out, the loan amount will be larger). Yet some lenders offer no-cost refinancing in exchange for a higher rate.
Getting to the Points
Points play a big part in how much it’ll cost to refinance – the more points you pay, the lower your interest rate. Points are a good idea if you’re planning to stay in your home for a while, but if you’ll be moving soon you should try to avoid paying points altogether.
Negotiate the Fees
Be aggressive and investigate the fees your lender is asking you to pay. You may not need an appraisal, or your loan-to-value may be such that you no longer need Private Mortgage Insurance. Sometimes if you refinance with your current lender they won’t need a credit report. With a little research it’s amazing how much you can save.
Here, we’ve explained the different loan refinancing fees.
Application Fee: This covers the initial costs of processing your loan application and checking your credit.
Appraisal Fee: An appraisal provides an estimate or opinion of your property’s value.
Title Search and Title Insurance: A Title Search examines the public record to discover if any other party claims ownership of the property. Title Insurance covers you if any discrepancies arise in ownership. (A reissue of the title can save 70% over the cost of a new policy.)
Lender’s Attorney’s Review Fees: In any financial transaction of this scope, a lawyer’s participation ensures that the lender isn’t legally vulnerable. This fee is passed on to you.
Loan Origination Fees: This is the cost of evaluating and preparing a mortgage loan.
Points: These are basically finance charges you pay the lender. One point equals 1% of the loan amount (for example, one point on a $75,000 loan is $750). The total number of points a lender charges depends on market conditions and the loan’s interest rate.
Prepayment Penalty: Some mortgages require the borrower to pay a penalty if the mortgage is paid off before a certain time. FHA and VA loans, issued by the government, are forbidden to charge prepayment penalties.
Miscellaneous: Other fees may include costs for a VA loan guarantee, FHA mortgage insurance, private mortgage insurance, credit checks, inspections and other fees and taxes.
How to Save Money Refinancing:
Research all costs and fees.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your lender.
Shop around for the lowest rates.
Check with your current lender for lower rates with costs that are reduced or waived.
What Kinds of Mortgages Are Available?
Fixed-Rate Mortgage – interest rates and monthly payments remain unchanged for the life of the loan
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – interest rates and monthly payments can go up or down, depending on the market
Hybrid Loans – a combination of fixed and adjustable mortgages
· How do you decide which loan is best? These questions may help.
How much cash do you have for a down payment?
What can you afford in monthly payments?
How might your financial situation change in the near future and beyond?
How long do you intend to keep this house?
How comfortable would you be with the possibility of your monthly payments increasing?
What is a Fixed Rate Mortgage?
This is the most common loan arrangement in the U.S. With a fixed-rate mortgage the loan’s principal and interest are amortized, or spread out evenly, over the life of the loan, giving you a predictable monthly payment.
The upside is, if rates are low, you can lock in for as long as 30 years and protect yourself against rising rates. However, if rates fall you can’t change your rate without refinancing the loan and that could cost money.
The 30-year Fixed-Rate Mortgage, the most popular and easiest to qualify for, will give you the lowest payment. But you can also get a 20-, 15- and even a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage if you wish to save interest and pay your home off sooner.
What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?
With Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) interest rates are tied directly to the economy so your monthly payment could rise or fall. Because you’re essentially sharing the market risks with the lender, you are compensated with an introductory rate that is lower than the going fixed rate.
How often does the interest rate change?
That depends on the loan. Changes can occur every six months, annually, once every three years or whenever the mortgage dictates.
How much can my rate change?
Your ARM will stipulate a percentage cap for each adjustment period, which means your interest may not increase beyond that percentage point. If the market holds steady, there may be no increase at all. You may even see your payment decrease if interest rates fall.
How are the changes determined?
Every ARM loan is tied to a financial market index, such as CDs, T-Bills or LIBOR rates. Your rate is determined by adding an additional percentage (known as a margin) to that index’s rate. When the index rises or falls, your rate rises or falls with it.
Is there a limit to how much interest I’ll be charged?
Yes. It’s called a ceiling, or lifetime cap. This is a guarantee that your interest rate will never exceed a designated percentage. For instance, if your introductory rate was 5% and you have a lifetime rate cap of 6% (meaning that your interest rate can never increase more than 6% during the life of the loan) then your ceiling would be 11%.
What are the benefits of an ARM?
‘ With a lower initial interest rate (usually 2% to 3% lower than fixed-rate mortgages), qualifying is easier and the payments are more manageable at first.
‘ You may qualify for a larger loan than you would with a fixed-rate mortgage.
‘ If you’re only planning to stay a short time the interest rate is likely to stay lower than that of a fixed-rate mortgage.
‘ If you expect regular pay increases that would cover the increase in your interest, or if you believe interest rates will fall, an ARM might be the wiser choice.
· A few words of caution:
Negative Amortization -This happens when a lender allows you to make a payment that doesn’t cover the cost of principal and interest. Watch for this, it may be used as a lure to get you into a home with the promise of low initial payments. Or, a lender may give you a payment cap instead of a rate cap. In this mortgage arrangement, if interest rates increase, your monthly payments could stay the same – but the higher interest will still be charged to your loan, adding to it instead of reducing it. Either way, if you find yourself with a negative amortization ARM, you’ll be adding to your debt.
Discounted interest rates – Sometimes a lender will advertise an unusually low initial rate. This is a discounted rate, and it’s essentially a marketing tool. If your ARM offers a discounted interest rate you are certain to see an increase at your next adjustment period, even if interest rates don’t change.
What is a VA Loan?
Administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, these special loans make housing affordable for U.S. veterans. To qualify you must be a veteran, reservist, on active duty, or a surviving spouse of a veteran with 100% entitlement.
A VA loan is simply a fixed-rate mortgage with a very competitive interest rate. Qualified buyers can also use a VA loan to purchase a home with no money down, no cash reserves, no application fee and reduced closing costs. Some states allow a VA loan for refinancing as well.
Many lenders are approved to handle VA loans. Your VA regional office can tell you if you’re qualified.
What is a FHA Loan?
FHA loans are designed to make housing more affordable for first-time home buyers and those with low to moderate income.
Both fixed- and adjustable-rate FHA loans are available, and in most states, an FHA loan can be used for refinancing. The difference is, they’re insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With FHA Insurance, eligible buyers can put down as little as 3% of the FHA appraisal value or the purchase price, whichever is lower. Qualifying standards are not as strict and the rates are slightly better than with conventional loans.
Some adjustable-rate mortgages allow you to convert to a fixed rate at certain specified times. This mitigates some of the risk of fluctuating interest rates, but there will be a substantial fee to do it. And your new fixed rate may be higher than the going fixed rate.
This is an ARM that only adjusts once at five or seven years, then remains fixed for the duration of the loan. Not only will you benefit from a lower rate for the first few years, but the new fixed rate cannot increase by more than 6%. It may even be lower, depending on market conditions. Then again, you also run the risk of adjusting to a much higher rate.
Another ARM choice, the convertible loan offers a fixed rate for the first three, five or seven years then switches to a traditional ARM that fluctuates with the market. If you strongly believe that interest rates will fall a convertible loan might be a smart move.
These short-term loans begin with low, fixed payments. Then, in five, seven or ten years a single large payment (balloon) for all remaining principal is due. While this saves money up front, coming up with a large payment at the end of the loan may be difficult. Some lenders will allow you to refinance that payment, but some won’t, so be sure you know what you’re getting into.
Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM)
With a GPM you pay smaller payments that gradually increase and level off after about five years. Lower payments can make it possible for you to afford a bigger home, but they’ll be interest-only payments, adding nothing to the principal. This could put you in a negative amortization situation.
How Can I save on a Fixed Rate Mortgage?
Short Term Mortgages
You don’t have to finance your home for 30 years. Granted, the payments will be lower, but you’ll be paying them longer. You could, instead, opt for a period of 20, 15 or even 10 years, pay your home off sooner and save in interest.
Furthermore, lenders offer much more attractive interest rates with short-term loans, so your payments may not be as much as you’d think.
The table below shows you the interest savings on a $100,000 loan at 8.5% interest:
By paying $215.83 more a month on a 15-year mortgage, you’d save $99,555.83 in interest over a 30-year loan – and own the house in half the time.
What Determines the Cost of a Mortgage?
There are five factors that determine the ultimate cost of a mortgage.
The principal, or amount of the loan, is the total amount you borrow (the purchase price minus your down payment).
The interest rate adds significantly to the cost of your mortgage. Fixed or adjustable, the interest paid at the end of the loan can exceed the original cost of the home itself. For instance, a $100,000 loan balance at 8.5% for 30 years will cost you $277,000 by the time the loan is retired.
The term of the loan is the length of time until the loan is paid off. A longer term means more interest and higher cost.
Points are interest paid on the loan and they’re purely optional. You pay points at closing if you want to reduce the interest rate and make your monthly payments smaller. One point equals one percent of the loan amount.
Fees are paid to the lender at closing to cover the costs of preparing the mortgage. They can vary according to where you live and what type of loan you’re securing.
While points and fees are not financed, they still contribute to the cost of the mortgage.
What is Private Mortgage Insurance?
Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, is insurance purchased by the buyer to protect the lender in case the buyer defaults on the loan. PMI is generally applied when you put down less than 20% of the home’s purchase price. The reason is this:
With 20% down, you are considered a low risk. Even if you default the lender will probably come out ahead because they’ve only loaned 80% of the home’s value and they can probably recoup at least that amount when they sell the foreclosed property.
But with 5% or 10% down, the lender has a lot more invested in the loan and if you default, they will almost surely lose money. This is why lenders require buyers to purchase PMI if they put down less than 20%. It’s insurance that, no matter what happens, the lender will recoup its investment.
Homebuyers and homeowners need to decide which home Mortgage loan is right for them. Then, the next step in getting a mortgage loan is to submit an application ( Uniform Residential Loan Application ). Although we try to make the loan simple and easy for you, getting a mortgage loan is not an insignificant process.
Below is a short synopsis of some loan types that are currently available.
CONVENTIONAL OR CONFORMING MORTGAGE Loans are the most common types of mortgages. These include a fixed rate mortgage loan which is the most commonly sought of the various loan programs. If your mortgage loan is conforming, you will likely have an easier time finding a lender than if the loan is non-conforming. For conforming mortgage loans, it does not matter whether the mortgage loan is an adjustable rate mortgage or a fixed-rate loan. We find that more borrowers are choosing fixed mortgage rate than other loan products.
Conventional mortgage loans come with several lives. The most common life or term of a
mortgage loan is 30 years. The one major benefit of a 30 year home mortgage loan is that one pays lower monthly payments over its life. 30 year mortgage loans are available for Conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA Loans. A 15 year mortgage loan is usually the least expensive way to go, but only for those who can afford the larger monthly payments. 15 year mortgage loans are available for Conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA Loans. Remember that you will pay more interest on a 30 year loan, but your monthly payments are lower. For 15 year mortgage loans your monthly payments are higher, but you pay more principal and less interest. New 40 year mortgage loans are available and are some of the the newest programs used to finance a residential purchase. 40 year mortgage loans are available in both Conventional and Jumbo. If you are a 40 year mortgage borrower, you can expect to pay more interest over the life of the loan.
A Fixed Rate Mortgage Loan is a type of loan where the interest rate remains fixed
over life of the loan. Whereas a Variable Rate Mortgage will fluctuate over the life
of the loan. More specifically the Adjustable-Rate Mortgage loan is a loan that has a
fluctuating interest rate. First time homebuyers may take a risk on a variable rate for qualification purposes, but this should be refinanced to a fixed rate as soon as possible.
A Balloon Mortgage loan is a short-term loan that contains some risk for the borrower. Balloon mortgages can help you get into a mortgage loan, but again should be financed into a more reliable or stable payment product as soon as financially feasible. The Balloon Mortgage should be well thought out with a plan in place when getting this product. For example, you may plan on being in the home for only three years.
Despite the bad rap Sub-Prime Mortgage loans are getting as of late, the market for this kind of mortgage loan is still active, viable and necessary. Subprime loans will be here for the duration, but because they are not government backed, stricter approval requirements will most likely occur.
Refinance Mortgage loans are popular and can help to increase your monthly disposable income. But more importantly, you should refinance only when you are looking to lower the interest rate of your mortgage. The loan process for refinancing your mortgage loan is easier and faster then when you received the first loan to purchase your home. Because closing costs and points are collected each and every time a mortgage loan is closed, it is generally not a good idea to refinance often. Wait, but stay regularly informed on the interest rates and when they are attractive enough, do it and act fast to lock the rate.
A Fixed Rate Second Mortgage loan is perfect for those financial moments such as home improvements, college tuition, or other large expenses. A Second Mortgage loan is a mortgage granted only when there is a first mortgage registered against the property. This Second Mortgage loan is one that is secured by the equity in your home. Typically, you can expect the interest rate on the second mortgage loan to be higher than the interest rate of the first loan.
An Interest Only Mortgage loan is not the right choice for everyone, but it can be very effective choice for some individuals. This is yet another loan that must be thought out carefully. Consider the amount of time that you will be in the home. You take a calculated risk that property values will increase by the time you sell and this is your monies or capital gain for your next home purchase. If plans change and you end up staying in the home longer, consider a strategy that includes a new mortgage. Again pay attention to the rates.
A Reverse mortgage loan is designed for people that are 62 years of age or older and already have a mortgage. The reverse mortgage loan is based mostly on the equity in the home. This loan type provides you a monthly income, but you are reducing your equity ownership. This is a very attractive loan product and should be seriously considered by all who qualify. It can make the twilight years more manageable.
The easiest way to qualify for a Poor Credit Mortgage loan or Bad Credit Mortgage loan is to fill out a two minute loan application. By far the easiest way to qualify for any home mortgage loan is by establishing a good credit history. Another loan vehicle available is a Bad Credit Re-Mortgage loan product and basically it’s for refinancing your current loan.
Another factor when considering applying for a mortgage loan is the rate lock-in. We discuss this at length in our mortgage loan primer. Remember that getting the right mortgage loan is getting the keys to your new home. It can sometimes be difficult to determine which mortgage loan is applicable to you. How do you know which mortgage loan is right for you? In short, when considering what mortgage loan is right for you, your personal financial situation needs to be considered in full detail. Complete that first step, fill out an application, and you are on your way!
Going to College costs a great deal of money. No only do you have to consider your tuition, you need to pay for textbooks, room and board. Students use student loans to pay for a number of their college needs. Majority of these students have multiple student loans. Each loan has a different billing cycle, creditor, and interest rate. One way to make paying these loans easier is loan consolidation.
Student loan consolidation
Loan consolidation is having all your student loans turn into one new loan. This one loan is handled by one creditor. There are two methods of loan consolidation: Federal and Private loan consolidation. When looking for a loan consolidation company that’s right for you, you need to consider their interest rates. Interest rates are a major part of any loan.
Federal loan consolidation is funded by the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Education. Either the Government or the Department of Education combines your multiple student loans into one new loan. The interest rate on Federal Loans change according to the 91-day Treasury bill or T-Bill.
This may vary each year, each May. Federal Loan Consolidation rates are set on the US Treasury and by the Congress. The Federal interest rate is the weighted average of student loan interest rates. The interest rate for Stafford loans will be the T-Bill plus 1.7%, while for federal PLUS loans, the rate is the T-Bill plus 2.3%.
Federal loans are currently at a fixed rate, but that can change. Originally, the federal interest rate was a fixed rate, later turned into a variable, but on July 1, 2006 it returned back to a fixed rate.
interest rate Stafford loans
With federal loans there is a possibility it may change in the future. Federal loans include Stafford Loans and PLUS Loans.
Stafford Loans are fixed-rate loans. For Stafford Loans you have subsidized and subsidized Stafford Loans.
For Subsidized Stafford loans that are paid out to graduate and professional students, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%. Interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans, for undergraduate students are:For loans first paid out between July 1, 2006 – June 30, 2008, is fixed at 6.8%.
For loans first paid out between July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2010, is fixed at 5.6%.
For loans first paid out between July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011, is fixed at 4.5%.
For loans first paid out between July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012, is fixed at 3.4%.
For loans first paid out between on or after July 1, 2012, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%.
For Subsidized Stafford loans, the interest rate is fixed at 6.8%. This is disbursed to undergraduates and graduate students.
The interest rate for PLUS loans first paid out beginning July 1, 2006 is fixed at 8.5%. The rate on PLUS loans first paid on or after July 1, 1998 but before July 1, 2006 is variable and may change annually on July 1 but will never exceed 9%. The current interest rate is 3.28%.
A private loan consolidation company is a private creditor or company. Their interest rates vary. Interest rates are based on either LABOR (London Inter bank Offered Rate) or the prime rate. The credit history is also considered for the student and co-signer. These loans are variable or have a fixed rate that changes according to the agreement in the promissory note. In some cases some private student loan consolidation loans could be the same rate as federal to compete with federal low interest rates.
When I first started in the mortgage business, at least one in four of all of my buyers got an FHA loan. The rates were fantastic, the down payment requirements minimal, and the credit requirements were close to meaningless. Most first – time home buyers got an FHA loan.
In the last three years, over 600 families have trusted me with their home loan needs. Of those 600, I did a total of two FHA loans over that time. One in 300.
I wasn’t alone. FHA guaranteed less than 5,000 loans in California last year. In 2003, they did over 100,000. A 95% decrease in demand. Nationally, FHA loans are down 50% from a few years ago.
FHA loans lost their popularity in the past few years for numerous reasons. Loan limits were too low for the fast-appreciating real estate market, income documentation guidelines were too strict, and appraisal restrictions were very difficult.
Subprime lenders, with looser guidelines, capitalized and met this demand.
Home values increased more than FHA lending limits did. The average home in Las Vegas was around $300,000. The FHA loan limit was around $270,000. Subprime lenders would go over $1 million.
FHA requires full documentation of your income and a 3% down payment. Subprime lenders were doing 100% loans with stated income with scores as low as 600.
Although sometimes flexible, FHA guidelines limit your debt-to-income ratio to 41%. Many subprime banks were letting borrowers go to 55%.
With rising sale prices, more borrowers went with stated income loans. FHA wouldn’t allow this. Subprime did.
The FHA appraisal requirements were much more strict and this also turned off many sellers. Subprime lenders had no additional requirements.
The FHA loan was, quite frankly, a last resort. Subprime had taken its place.
Today, that has changed. With all of the recent guideline changes, the subprime loan is nearly dead with anything less than 5-20% down. Many subprime banks have gone out of business. Many more will.
FHA is back!! Once again, borrowers are looking at this as a primary option, especially first time homebuyers.
There are two types of mortgage loans; government loans like FHA and VA, and then there are the rest, which are called conventional loans.
100% financing on conventional loans is not as readily available as it was, particularly for those with marginal credit. FHA has not changed. 97% financing was and is available regardless of credit score. In the last three months, I have closed five FHA loans.
FHA recognized their business was getting hurt by increasing home values so they dramatically increased their loan limits.
In Las Vegas today, the FHA loan limit is $304,000. This is right in line with our average sales price. The timing could not be better and, as a result, FHA loans are back as a very viable loan option.
If you have very little or no money available for a down payment, bad-to-fair credit and feel like you have way too many bills, FHA may be your key to homeownership today.
FHA does not loan money, they insure loans. You don’t go to the FHA to get a loan. You go to a mortgage company that has been approved with the FHA. These companies have special permission to underwrite and close the loan.
You can buy a single family home, a duplex, triplex, or 4-plex. FHA will even insure loans on manufactured/mobile homes.
As an approved FHA lender, when we do an FHA loan, it is insured by FHA. If the loan goes into default, they guarantee it. This means the loan has very little risk to the lender. As a result, the rates are nearly equal to that of a conventional loan, even though the credit scores may be way worse.
Rates on conventional loans are usually based on credit score. The better your score, the better your rate. This is not so with FHA. Everyone, regardless of score, gets a great rate.
FHA was started in the 1930’s to assist first-time homebuyers. The goal was to help families with lower and moderate income get home financing. The program was geared for minorities as well.
Many lenders in today’s subprime mess are pointing the fingers at each other. They believe that countless numbers of the homes going into default today are because of high subprime rates. They believe these homes would not be in jeopardy with an FHA loan with a much lower rate.
For example, last week I closed a borrower on an FHA loan. His credit score is 611 with limited trade lines and 3% down. His interest rate is 6.250% on a 30 year fixed, which he will never have to refinance if he doesn’t want to.
Last year, because of the loan amount, this loan would have probably gone subprime with an interest rate of closer to 8.000% on a 2 year fixed rate, that would have likely forced a refinance in 24 months.
And he doesn’t have a prepayment penalty!! FHA doesn’t have prepayment penalties. As you know, most subprime loans have prepayment penalties and if you want it waived plan on the rate going up by 1-2%.
The program works and provides incredible options for borrowers whose only choices in the last few years have mostly been awful.
There are many advantages to an FHA loan.
You are only required to put down a 3% down payment and the lender can help you get it. It can also be gifted from a close friend, a relative or a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance.
There are many private down payment assistance companies (DAPs) that can help you with the 3% down payment. The FHA allows this and works with these companies. You have likely heard of a Nehemiah. Nehemiah is a DAP. If you do a conventional loan, this is not allowed.
You can have less than perfect credit. In fact, your credit can be pretty bad. FHA is far less concerned about your credit score than they are your history over the last two years in paying your bills on time. They will often ignore previous financial troubles and other blemishes on your credit report.
There are no “set” guidelines about credit. There is much more flexibility at the underwriting level.
For example, I recently had an FHA loan where the borrower was putting down his own 3% and not using a DAP, he was employed for over two years, and he has no late payments for the past two years. He also had four months reserves. His credit score was under 550, his debt to income ratio was 47%, and he only had one current trade line. The loan was approved. The FHA rate at the time was 6.125%.
As opposed to most conventional lenders, which have strict guidelines, FHA underwriters have some discretion to look at the overall strength of the file and make a decision. For example, even though it is commonly thought your debt to income ratio must be 41% or less to qualify; I have seen FHA loans approved with debt to income ratios over 50%.
Some of the FHA guidelines are more strict. You do have to be two years out of bankruptcy from the date of discharge and you must have some good re-established credit to get an FHA loan.
If you had a foreclosure you likely need to wait at least three years for an FHA loan and your credit should be pretty clean after that date.
If you can prove the foreclosure occurred because of extenuating circumstances like the death of a spouse or a serious illness that prevented you from working, they will sometimes make an exception to this as well.
The FHA has many different choices of loan programs like 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 year ARM’s too. Interest only is not available.
The rates are excellent as I discussed above. The fees are controlled by FHA so you usually pay less for the mortgage too.
In today’s market, there is a lot of bank-owned on the properties that are in need of pretty substantial repair. The FHA has a program that allows owner-occupied borrowers to finance up to $35,000 in the mortgage to make these repairs.
In a conventional loan, these repairs need to be made before the close of escrow. In many cases, the seller doesn’t want to make these repairs and offers the property “as is.” The buyer can’t afford to make the repairs and certainly doesn’t want to make them before they own the house. This usually kills the deal after the home inspection or appraisal.
The FHA has a plan for this. The program is called a 203(K) and it allows for the appraiser to consider the value of the home after all of the repairs and renovation is made. You get to buy the home, fix it up to be livable, and then you get to include all these costs in one easy loan. And you still only have to put 3% down. No other loan program allows for this.
When the loan is closed, the repair/renovation money is withheld in escrow, as well as additional reserve funds of 10-20%, to pay for these improvements and any overages that may occur that weren’t factored at the time.
The contractors go in, fix the house, and then they get paid through the withhold account and reserves. The biggest catch here is, once again, the home has to be owner-occupied. This program is not available for investors or second home buyers.
In today’s market, the only negatives to an FHA are loan are loan limits, which are $304,000 and that unless you put down 20%, which most people don’t, your FHA loan will require mortgage insurance.
Mortgage insurance (MI) is handled a little differently than you are used to with a conventional loan. For one, it’s usually a bit cheaper. FHA mortgage insurance is not based on credit score like conventional loan MI is. It runs 0.5% of the loan amount and is broken down over your monthly payments.
FHA also has an upfront insurance premium that is 1.5% of the loan amount. That premium is due at the close of escrow and can either be paid in full at close or added to the loan amount. As most FHA borrowers have very little money to put down, this premium is usually financed into the loan.
The good news here is that mortgage insurance, as of January 1, 2007, was made tax-deductible, so that helps as well.
And how about this? FHA loans are assumable!! If you want to sell your home, you can simply transfer it over to your buyer and he doesn’t have to go out and get a new loan. The buyer does have to meet the FHA credit standards, but as I have already touched on, those are very reasonable.
The bottom line is if you are a first-time homebuyer or you are a bit more credit-challenged and your lender suggests a subprime loan you should ask for FHA as an option.
In addition, if you are being quoted more than the “going rate” for a loan, you believe you can support your income with paycheck stubs and W-2’s, and the loan amount is $304,000 or under in Las Vegas, you will also want to ask about an FHA option.
If your preferred lender says FHA is not for you for any other reason other than loan amount or income documentation, and suggests a subprime loan, you may want to get information from a different lender. Not all lenders are permitted to do FHA loans. You want to make sure the reason why you are being steered away is not simply because they can’t do the loan.
When it comes to taking out a loan, you should know they are not all the same. There are many types of loans and the terms and conditions of a loan can vary greatly. Different types of loans each have their own benefits and risks. The terms of a secured loan can be stricter than an unsecured loan. One of the main differences between these two types of loans is how debt collection efforts are handled in the event you default on your loan payments. Your debt repayment options may be managed differently in a secured loan than an unsecured loan. In the event of an extended financial hardship, you may not be eligible to have certain types of loans eliminated through bankruptcy.
Most major loan purchases, such as your home or car, are called secured loans. They are called secured loans because the debts acquired under this type of loan are secured against collateral. A mortgage loan is considered a secured loan. In a mortgage loan, the lender has the right to repossess the home if you default on your payments. Defaulting on a mortgage loan can lead to foreclosure, whereby the lender takes over the rights to the home and may sell the home in order to satisfy the debts owed. Loans for car purchases are also secured loans. The lender can repossess your car and sell it to recover the loan amount. If the sale of the asset does not satisfy the full amount of the debt that is owed, you may still be held liable for repaying the remaining amount owed on the debt.
A personal secured loan is one in which you are using your home or car as collateral, but the money received in the loan is used to purchase other items. An example of a personal secured loan is a payday loan, in which you put the title to your car as collateral against the loan. Even though the loan is not used for the purchase of the car, the lender has the right to repossess the car if you default on repaying the loan. If your car is repossessed during a payday loan, you are still liable for any debts still owed on your car loan through the originating lender. This can lead to further financial trouble and more debt.
Secured Loans And Bankruptcy
Secured loans can be more difficult to manage when if you find yourself in financial trouble. A secured loan may not be eligible for elimination if you file for bankruptcy. In some cases, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate the debt owed on a secured loan, but you may risk losing the property to the lender. Legally, lenders are allowed to seize and liquidate some of your assets in order to fulfill the debt payments of a secured loan. However, there are many states whose bankruptcy laws may offer exemptions for some of your assets. Bankruptcy exemptions may allow for your home and car can be protected from liquidation during bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can protect your assets from liquidation through a Chapter 13 repayment plan. The repayment plan allows for you to keep your assets while you make payments towards the loan over the course of 3 to 5 years. Once you complete the repayment plan, you will be relieved of your loan debt and own the rights to the property.
The most important thing to remember about defaulting on a secured loan, is that time is crucial for protecting your assets. Once you realize you may not be able to make your payment, contact your lender and discuss negotiating a modified repayment plan. Many lenders prefer to modify a repayment plan that better suits your budget, than risk losing money through selling the property through foreclosure or repossession. If your lender is not willing to negotiate, seek counsel from a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
Unsecured loans are loans that do not have any collateral used against the loan. The loan is unsecured because it is based on your promise to repay the debt. In an unsecured loan, the lender is not given any rights to seize or liquidate a specific asset. If you default on the loan, the lender may make debt collection efforts but are not afforded the right to reclaim any of your property.
The most common type of unsecured loan is a credit card. Defaulting on a credit card may lead to collection efforts, but creditors cannot take your assets to pay for the debt. Some personal loans are considered unsecured loans if you did not put up any of your property as collateral for the loan. Defaulting on unsecured loan payments can lead to negative consequences such as damage to your credit, harsh collection attempts and legal action. Another example of an unsecured loan is a student loan. Generally, student loans are treated seriously by the lending institution and defaulting on such loans can lead to significant consequences. Federal bankruptcy laws do not protect borrowers that default on a student loan payment and you risk having your wages garnished for purposes of paying the debt owed.
Unsecured Loans And Bankruptcy
Unsecured loans are much easier to have discharged through bankruptcy than a secured loan. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate most of your unsecured debt. In some cases, the bankruptcy court may decide to allow for some of your assets to be liquidated to fulfill debt payments. However, bankruptcy laws offer exemptions to protect most of your assets in bankruptcy. As in a secured loan, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will protect your assets as you make payments towards the debt.
The number of loan products have increased over the past 20 years as economic necessity and a demanding public in need of specialization to solve financial circumstances. From personal loans, educational loans, business loans and even municipal loans. The entities that took part in the creation of the various financial products are actuaries, risk management professionals, “information and informatic engineers” and Wall Street amongst others. It was necessary to create, enhance or break down for better or for worse loan services and products to keep money fluid in a diverse marketplace that required funds to address niche demographics.
Signature Loans – A signature loan is just as it sounds. One applies for a loan and gives a signature on a promissory note to repay the loan in a certain amount of time. That amount of time is called a “loan term ” and may be from six months to five years. Signature loans usually require good credit and the criteria for loan approval are mostly based on the borrower’s credit and and to a lesser degree on assets. Not all signature loans have the same parameters for qualifications. Some loans may require the borrower even with good credit to account for assets to show the lending institution for underwriting purposes. The institution may or may not place a lien on the assets but nevertheless wants to have documentation proving that there are indeed financial or physical assets owned by the borrower. Signature loans usually come with lower interest rates than other types of consumer loans like payday loans, credit card advances, title loans and some car loans. More on these topics later. Who are the lenders in signature loans? They range from large subsidiaries of auto manufacturers to banks, savings and loan institutions, finance companies and payday loan companies.
Credit Card Loans – Credit Card loans or cash advances from credit cards are another form of personal loans. These quick loans are more readily available to the general public and does not require a credit check. To obtain the initial card more than likely required a credit check or at least the process of identification for secured credit cards. Credit card loans or advances usually come with higher interest rates and also other fees for having access to the cash. Various entities allow access to the credit card cash advances from bank tellers, check cashing facilities and automated teller machines (ATMs). The fees vary based on source used to access the funds. To lower the fees for cash advances some use check cashing facilities to have the card charged and receive cash back in turn for not having to incur the fees of ATM machines as cards are assessed a fee twice; first by the ATM company and also their bank. The interest rates on credit card loans or advances are usually higher than signature loans. There are some states that have usury laws that have lower interest rates on credit cards. The loan or advance on a credit card is not a “term loan” as with most signature loans. It is more or less a line of credit the borrower has access to when they need it as long as there are funds available on the credit card. Interest on consumer loans are no longer tax deductible as in previous years. They were designed for short term borrowing needs but many have come to use their credit cards as a regular source of funds in tight economic times or between paychecks.
Wedding Loans – A relatively new form of loan to carve out a niche for the lending industry and meet the needs of the increasing costs of weddings is the Wedding Loan. Because of the expense of weddings which can range into six figures, it sometimes requires a personal loan or even a business loan of the families involved to provide a proper wedding. Wedding loans can be secured (using assets for collateral) or unsecured (signature loans) to obtain funds for the ever growing need to pay for the escalating wedding costs and all the various services and products that a successful matrimonial ceremony would need. The credit criteria and the term may vary based on the amount needed and financial status of the people involved.
Payday or Cash Advance Loans is a fast growing market because it usually requires the least of credit criteria used for loan approvals. One can have bad credit for a quick and instant loan. Just having proof of income, proof of identity and a checking account is all that is necessary to secure funds. Even today many have checking accounts without checks one can still obtain a cash advance by asking their bank to produce a one time check to give to the payday loan agency. Many payday loan companies and stores can get approval with no faxing of documents as they utilize other means for proof of income. Although payday loans come with very high annualized interest rates they sometimes are the only source of emergency cash loans for those in need.
Automotive, Motorcycle, RV (recreational vehicle) and Boat Loans – These personal consumer loans are usually not signature only loans but asset based loans. In other words a financial lien is placed against the asset to secure a loan to purchase or refinance the car, boat et al. These consumer loans may sometimes require a down payment of five to twenty-five percent to secure enjoyment and use of ownership. Because these are not funds that are already available as with credit cards they come with a “loan term” from one to six years depending on the choices of the consumer, the marketplace and the credit status. The interest rates can range from very low usually offered by manufacturers of cars, motorcycles, RV’s (recreational vehicles) and boats to very high if the borrower uses a credit card, a finance company or a “buy here – pay here” lender – or the car dealer who finances the purchase of the car by giving the borrower a term of months and years to pay the balance of the loan off.
SBA (Small Business Administration) Loans are loans that are given to small businesses which are not able to qualify for a loan from a financial institution for various reasons from lack of business history, lack of collateral to “secure” the loan or not having an adequate credit history. The SBA is not a direct lender but acts as an underwriter on behalf of the bank that funds the loan for the business entity. If the borrower defaults on the loan the SBA will pay the bank a percentage of the balance for taking the financial risk to loan the funds to the business. There are various types of SBA loans which will not be covered in this article but a future article will explain in more detail.
Conventional Business Loans are loans that are either unsecured meaning no asset is used to approve the loan or secured and called “asset based loans” where assets from inventory, equipment, accounts receivable or real estate are used for underwriting for loan approval. Conventional business loans are given to business entities that have great banking relationships, established business credit history with trade lines with other businesses they do business with and good standing with various credit reporting entities like Dun & Bradstreet. There are short term loans with interest only payments with the balance due at the end of the loan usually referred to as a “Balloon Loan”. There are also longer term loans that are fully amortized (principal and interest in each payment) paid over one to five years or more.
Equipment Leasing is a financial instrument which technically is not a loan. Meaning based on tax ramifications and who owns the equipment – leasing is just that – leasing an asset owned by another entity. Leases are usually from large corporations or a bank. The lease term can vary from one to five years or more and there usually are tax benefits to the business entity in leasing new or used equipment.
Equipment Sale Leaseback is a transaction to use equipment that is already owned by the business or municipal entity to secure funds for the present need for operations. The term can vary from one to five years and the amount of funds can vary based on credit history and a percentage of the fair market value of the equipment. The company then in turn leases the equipment back in usually a monthly payment. The company or the lessee normally has different choices on what they want to do with the equipment at the end of the term. They can roll the lease transaction into newer more updated equipment or software. They can buy the equipment for one dollar or ten percent of the fair market value of the equipment.More and more companies are leasing today as opposed to paying cash or using bank lines or loans.
Merchant Cash Advance is used by businesses that need fast cash and can’t qualify or don’t want to go through the process of getting bank approval for needed funds. A Merchant Cash Advance is also not a loan product but it is the selling of assets or credit card receipts at a discount. In other words the Merchant Cash Advance company buys the credit card receipts and then attaches a fee usually every time the business “batches”, settles or closes the day’s or week’s sales until the funds advanced are paid off. There is no term with merchant cash advances as it is not a loan so there is no set payment amount or period. The paying off of the advanced funds vary based on a the credit and debit card transactions of the day or week.
Factoring Accounts Receivable Invoices enables a business entity that normally has to wait 30 days or longer to be paid by other businesses or governmental entities. Again factoring is not technically a loan but a selling of invoices at a discount for cash now. In a typical transaction the company applies with a Factoring Company and the company looks primarily at the credit of the other business or governmental entity that the company is doing business with. Based on that as long as the client of the company is a solvent business or government agency the invoices are bought and funds are dispensed to the business usually within three days of due diligence on the company they are transacting business with. In other words the funds are dispensed after there is a credit check and processing of the other company. The dollar amount that is advanced can vary from fifty percent of the invoice to eighty or ninety percent depending on various factors such as the size of the invoice to the credit criteria of the other company or governmental entity whether it is a city, county, state or federal agency.
Medical Factoring is a financial transaction that benefits medical entities like hospitals, clinics and various health care professionals that have to wait to receive funds for services performed on patients. Like Factoring and Merchant Cash Advances Medical Factoring is the selling of assets in this case invoices for cash now. In many instances the health care industry receives payment from third party entities like insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare and state entities that provide funds for those in need of medical procedures. The medical facility or professional in turns sells the invoice(s) on a on going basis or one time for cash now. Once there is an interest is selling the receivables then a Factor steps into analyze the billing so that funds can be advanced. This process can vary in length but is usually shorter in length than the process of getting bank financing.
Contract and Purchase Order Funding allows companies to bid on large projects for governmental agencies, hospitals, universities, prison systems and municipalities or also to sell to larger corporations even if the business does not have the credit or bank approval or the wherewithal to service or fulfill a large contract order. Similar to Factoring which works hand in hand with Purchase Order Funding it is not a loan but a simultaneous transaction that involves advancing funds based on the credit of the governmental agency or larger company and the size of the contract. The funds that are advanced are for the cost in completing the order of products or performing services. So the profit that will be gained is not advanced but the costs as in raw and finished material, transportation, production, labor, expertise and any other costs involved in completing the contract. Once the contract is completed or once an invoice is ready to be sent to the client a factoring company which is sometimes owned by the same company buys the invoice at a discount and the funds that would normally be advanced to the company are usually used to settle the amount advanced for the material and other services that were needed to complete the order. Contract and Purchase Order Funding usually requires large transaction amounts as opposed to factoring that can be utilized for invoices as small as one hundred dollars. With the use of Contract and Purchase Order Funding companies that were locked out of the process of bidding on large contract s may become players in multi-million dollar deals.
Commercial Real Estate Sale Leasebacks are similar to Equipment Sale Leasebacks featured in this article. Instead of utilizing owned equipment to secure cash when bank borrowing is not wanted or not available the commercial real estate is used to access funds now. This can vary from office buildings, medical buildings, retail franchises, industrial buildings and manufacturing to large utility plants. This frees up cash “locked” away in real estate. Many entities find that at the present time the business they are in whether it is retail, manufacturing or another field that the holding of commercial real estate is not in their best financial interest for now. They prefer to put to use funds for their industry. So a retailer selling retails goods decides to focus on the retail operations and to lease the space because that real estate when factored into a myriad of calculations does not fit their financial goals during the present time. Yes the ownership of commercial real estate is an asset and can be used as a security for a loan but may also be viewed as a fixed non-performing entity that does not meet the needs of the business, organization, group or individual that owns the building. Commercial Real Estate Sale Leasebacks are another form of getting access to funds and has increased over the years.
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Mortgage managers, banks, credit unions, brokers, insurance groups all offer a seemingly endless choice of loan options – introductory rates, standard variable rates, fixed rates, redraw facilities, lines of credit loans and interest only loans, the list goes on. But with choice comes confusion. How do you determine what the best type of home loan is for you?
First, set your financial goals, determine your budget and work out how long you want to pay a mortgage for. You can do this yourself or with your financial advisor or accountant.
Second, ensure the organization or person you choose to obtain your mortgage from is a member of the Mortgage Finance Association of Australia (MFAA). The MFAA Member logo ensures you are working with a professional who is bound by a strict industry code of practice.
Third, research the types of loans available so you can explore all options available to you with your mortgage provider. Some home loan choices are:
Basic Home Loan
This loan is considered a no-frills loan and usually offers a very low variable interest rate with little or no regular fees. Be aware they usually don’t offer additional extras or flexibility in paying of extra on the loan or varying your repayments.
These loans are suited to people who don’t foresee a dramatic change in personal circumstances and thus will not need to adapt the loan in accordance with any lifestyle changes, or people who are happy to pay a set amount each month for the duration of the loan.
Introductory Rate or ‘Honeymoon’ Loan
This loan is attractive as it offers lower interest rates than the standard fixed or variable rates for the initial (honeymoon) period of the loan (i.e. six to 12 months)
before rolling over to the standard rates. The length of the honeymoon depends on the lender, as too does the rate you pay once the honeymoon is over. This loan usually allows flexibility by allowing you to pay extra off the loan. Be aware of any caps on additional repayments in the initial period, of any exit fees at any time of the loan (usually high if you change immediately after the honeymoon), and what your repayments will be after the loan rolls over to the standard interest rate.
These loans are suited to people who want to minimise their initial repayments (whilst perhaps doing renovations) or to those who wish to make a large dent in their loan through extra repayments while benefiting from the lower rate of interest.
Tip: If you start paying off this loan at the post-honeymoon rate, you are paying off extra and will not have to make a lifestyle change when the introductory offer has finished.
This loan allows you to put additional funds into the loan in order to bring down the principal amount and reduce interest charges, plus it gives the option to redraw the additional funds you put in at any time. Simply put, rather than earning (taxable) interest from your savings, putting your savings into the loan saves you money on your interest charges and helps you pay off your loan faster. Meanwhile, you are still saving for the future. The benefit of this type of loan is the interest charged is normally cheaper than the standard variable rate and it doesn’t incur regular fees. Be aware there may be an activation fee to obtain a redraw facility, there may be a fee for each time you redraw, and it may have a minimum redraw amount.
These loans are suited to low to medium income earners who can put away that little extra each month.
Line of Credit/Equity Line
This is a pre-approved limit of money you can borrow either in its entirety or in bits at a time. The popularity of these loans is due to its flexibility and ability to reduce mortgages quickly. However, they usually require the borrower to offer their house as security for the loan. A line of credit can be set to a negotiated time (normally 1-5 years) or be classed as revolving (longer terms) and you only have to pay interest on the money you use (or ‘draw down’). Interest rates are variable and due to the level of flexibility are often higher than the standard variable rate. Some lines of credit will allow you to capitalise the interest until you reach your credit limit i.e. use your line of credit to pay off the interest on your line of credit. Most of these loans have a monthly, half yearly or annual fee attached.
These loans are suited to people who are financially responsible and already have property and wish to use their property or equity in their property for renovations, investments or personal use.
All In One Accounts
This is a loan which works as an account where all income is deposited in the account and all expenses come out of the account. The benefit of the All In One Account is its ability to reduce the amount owed and thus the interest payments while providing a one-stop finance shop where your loan, cheque, credit and savings accounts are combined into one. Normally these loans will be at the standard variable rate or slightly higher and may incur monthly fees. Be aware that if the account is split into the loan account, with credit, cheque and ATM facilities placed into satellite accounts, you will need to check your access to funds, how many free transactions you receive, and what associated fees the loan may have.
These loans are suited to medium to high income earners.
100% Offset Account
This loan is similar to an All In One Account however the money is paid into an account which is linked to the loan – this account is called an Offset Account. Income is deposited into the Offset Account and you use the Offset Account for all your EFTPOS, cheque, internet banking, credit transactions. Whatever is in the Offset Account then comes directly off the loan, or ‘offsets’ the loan amount for interest. Effectively you are not earning interest on your savings, but are benefiting as what would be interest on savings is calculated on a reduction on your loan. The advantages are similar to the All In One Account. These loans normally have a higher interest rate and higher fees due to their flexibility.
These loans are suited to people on medium to high income earners, and to disciplined spenders as the more money kept in the offset account the faster you pay-off your loan.
Partial offset account and an interest offset account are also available.
This is a loan where the overall money borrowed is split into different segments where each segment has a different loan structure i.e. part fixed, part varied and part line of credit. Often called designer loans, you benefit from one or more types of loans. Splitting the loan offers a saving on stamp duty and other charges.
These loans are suited to people who want minimize risk and hedge their bets against interest rate changes while maintaining a good degree of flexibility.
This loan is available at a minimum amount to people on higher incomes or people of a specific profession if they meet certain requirements. The benefit of this loan is being able to borrow higher amounts with a high degree of flexibility and a discount on the standard variable interest rate. The level of discount is dependent on the size of the loan, and the duration of the discount depends on what’s negotiated and can sometimes apply for the life of the loan. Generally these products combine all fees into the one annual fee. Lenders of this product usually provide a lot of added values such as credit cards, discounts on their insurance and investment products.
Tip: If you don’t need the additional extras other loan types may offer a better interest rate.
Non Conforming Loan
These loans are only available from non-bank lenders where interest rates are higher due to the greater risk and shorter life of the loan. The advantage is they are available to people who don’t fill the traditional lending institution criteria. There are two types of Non Confirming loans:
1. A Low Doc Loan usually has a slightly higher interest rate and fees than the standard interest rate and will have a maximum borrowing amount and/or will usually only lend 70% of the value of the property. After demonstrating the ability to meet the payments the interest rate will often revert to the standard rate.
These loans are suited to people who do not wish to disclose their income or have the inability to show a true income i.e. if you are self employed.
2. Sub-Prime Loans usually have a much higher interest rate and fees than the standard rate and usually require you to use an asset as security. They are based on a sliding scale in accordance to the level of risk of loaning the money. Refinancing is available once the borrower can establish a good payment record.
These loans are suited to people with poor credit histories.
Other Loans and Products in the Market Include:
Construction Loans: For those building a home when you don’t need the entire amount from the start – you only pay interest on what you’ve spent over the stages of construction.
Bridging Loans: For when the sale of an existing property takes place after the settlement of a new property – when you want to buy a new home before selling the old one, where the funds from selling the old home are paid straight into the loan for the new home.
Consolidation Loans: Enables you to use your mortgage to consolidate other debts such as credit cards, personal loans, car loans etc. – interest rates on the mortgage are usually cheaper than personal loans.
Reverse Mortgage Loans: For those who want to use the equity in their home to supplement retirement income. The loan can be paid in a lump sum or in individual installments and the lender recoups the payments from the sale of the property when the borrower sells the home, moves out of the home or dies.