What Qualities Your Mortgage Broker Should Possess

Your mortgage broker will work closely with you throughout the home buying or refinancing process. In this way, Brad will help you to find the best loan program for your needs, ensure you understand the financing you are committing to and walk you through the entire process. However, there are many mortgage brokers to choose from, and you understandably want to choose the best professional for the job. By focusing on these factors, you can easily narrow down your options and make the best selection.

Experience in the Industry

To begin your search for a mortgage broker, read the professional’s bio online. Pay attention to the number of years the individual has been working in the mortgage industry. You may also look for specific experience for projects like yours. For example, if you need a new construction loan to build a house, you want to work with a mortgage broker with experience in this area.

Friendly, Helpful Service

Your loan process likely will extend for several weeks or longer. You want this time to be as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. When initially speaking with a few mortgage brokers, pay attention to how friendly and helpful they are. Your mortgage broker should ideally be fully supportive and genuinely interested in helping you set up a great loan.

Responsive and Attentive

Many mortgage brokers are very busy serving multiple clients. However, regardless of how busy they are, they still should be expected to provide you with a fast response to your questions and concerns. During the initial phases of your search, focus on how quickly calls and emails are returned.

The Ability to Follow Through

Because of how busy mortgage brokers are, some have a tendency to drop the ball in various ways. The last thing you want is for your loan file to be placed on the back burner because of an oversight. Pay attention to how well mortgage brokers follow through on what they say they will do.

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is critical with loan applications. A minor transposition of a number or a misprinted word can wreak havoc on your loan application as the file progresses into underwriting. Carefully read through all details in the disclosures and preliminary loan quotes you receive to ensure that they are correct.

As you can see, you have a tall order of requirements for a mortgage broker to live up to. Brad Cullipher Mortgage Group provides a smoother overall loan process and lives up to these qualities and characteristics.

4 Home Improvement Trends to Consider for Your Home

The design and style of homes significantly influence their appeal. Most homeowners want to own a property that is updated and looks current with the latest trends that are used. If you want to improve the quality of your home, there are a few home improvement trends to watch out for in the coming year and consider installing in your home.

Matte Finishes

Matte finishes on appliances are considered to be warm and elegant, which will enhance the style of the kitchen or laundry room. Black stainless steel appliances are a popular choice that will make the room look cozy and contemporary due to its dark shade. Faucets also feature matte surfaces, which coordinates with the black stainless steel products.

Self-cleaning Toilets

Toilets are getting an upgrade with the use of built-in bidets that create a cleaner toilet bowl with each use. Choose a toilet that comes with Actilight Cleansing Technology, which spritzes the bowl with electrolyzed water after each flush to keep the bowl cleaner for a longer period of time.

Solar Shutters

Plantation shutters that are built with photovoltaic panels gather energy while also blocking the sun’s rays in the home. The blinds are plugged into a small outlet that allows the energy to be transferred back into the electrical system of the home.

Garage Door Screens

Giant screen doors for the garage are an ideal way to keep the doors open without welcoming critters or insects into the space. The screens feature a door, which makes it easy to exit and enter the garage when you’re working in the yard or are hosting an outdoor party. It even comes with its own track system to prevent it from interfering with the operation of the garage door.

Real Estate Trends In 2017 To Look Out For

As the start of a new year begins, what does that mean for the real estate market? The real estate market is known for its unpredictability and this year will not be any different. Here are some real estate trends that will emerge in the new year.

Millennials and Baby Boomers Will Be Active

Millennials are starting to reach the ages where they will give serious thought to marriage and having children. More jobs and higher wages are other major influences that will lead to Millennials purchasing a home. While the majority of Baby Boomers own homes, a large segment of them are heading into retirement age and are likely to move somewhere else.

Buyers Will Head To The Suburbs

As a result of rising home prices, buyers will move to the suburbs to find affordable housing. Buyers are looking to stay close to the city near most of the main amenities, however, there just isn’t enough affordable housing. This has caused prospective buyers to look outside the city for housing.

West Coast Housing Will Rise

As home prices on the West Coast continue to rise, analysts point out that the West Coast has seen significant job growth in recent years. As more jobs have become available, the population on the West Coast has risen as well, which has increased demand for housing and has caused housing prices to rise.

Home Values Will Increase

Home values will slowly increase throughout the year and as the market continues to recover from the housing crisis, home value appreciation rates will level out and head back to normal levels.

Renting Will Be More Affordable

Income is starting to rise faster than rent prices. This is primarily caused by increased supply, as more multifamily units are available. Rental demand has also risen due to renters choosing to find roommates.

If you have any questions, reach out to us and we’ll answer them. If you’re curious to see how this affects mortgages, yours specifically, we’re happy to offer advice and suggestions.

women holding a home

What is Mortgage Equity?

Equity is your share in an asset if sold for current value. Equity has many definitions depending on the context of how it is used, but there are some important points to know about how equity pertains to the housing market.

Mortgage Equity

When you have a mortgage on a home, equity is the amount you have paid off your loan. Essentially, it is the amount or fraction of the house that you own. This number can fluctuate depending on the market price of your property, but when thinking about a long-term mortgage, it is best to consider overall goals and the future of your investment.

Your mortgage equity begins when you place a down payment on a home. On a $200,000 home loan with a 20% down payment, your equity is $40,000. As you make payments, your investment will grow, but there are other ways equity can fluctuate.

Housing Market Growth

The housing market can fluctuate, causing your equity to change along with it. Continuing the example, your $200,000 home has increased in value by $50,000 in the first few weeks.

This is great because you have a $200,000 loan on a $250,000 house, leaving you with a larger equity. What $40,000 you had paid has increased 25% to $50,000 in equity. You do not have the extra $10,000 going towards your mortgage, but your stake in the overall investment is worth more.

Home Prices Drop

If there is a sudden drop in price of your home, you can lose equity. If the price of your $200,000 home drops to $150,000, then your equity will decrease by 25% to $30,000. You will still be paying towards the $200,000 loan, but you will not be earning equity.

When home prices drops, refinancing loans and re-assessing your mortgage might be the safest choice to get back on track towards gaining equities.

Selling Your Home

If the housing market is stable and your home is the same price month to month, every loan payment will gain you a larger stake.

Say after three years you have paid off $100,000 of your loan and your home is still worth $200,000. If you get a new job in a different city or just want to sell your home, your equity is 50% of the home price. You can sell your home and cash in the equity you have built up over the years.

What’s Important

Overall equity is important because it is how you can track the fairness of your investment. Home prices shift so it is important to be accounting your assets properly. We at American Capital Mortgage Group want you to be happy with your home loan. Give us a call to talk about your future.

broker with young couple advising on mortgage

Tips for Getting the Best Possible Mortgage Rate

Getting the best mortgage rate depends on more than just your credit score.

Different banks offer different incentives for clients who do business with them. All banks will have their advantages and disadvantages. Pay attention to the following factors when hunting for a lower mortgage rate.


1. Know Your Property

Think about how you plan to purpose the property you’ll be buying, the size of the property, and its location. All of these factors help your bank determine the risk they will undertake and, consequently, your interest rate.

Credit unions will only fund properties that are within a certain area of their property. Area is important to them. Places with a higher risk of crime, for instance, increase the risk of property destruction and abandonment, so banks must adjust interest rates to ensure a return on their investment.


2. Build a Positive Credit Score

The higher your credit score is, the lower your mortgage rate is going to be. There is a tier system that credit holders fall into based on credit score that determines the types of rates they are most likely receive.

Top Tier
A score around 740 to 760 or higher will get you the best rates.

Second Tier
Scores between about 620 to 640 are seen as less likely to repay the loan. Loans given to second tier borrowers usually have a higher rate or more restrictions.

The lower your credit score is, the higher your rate will be.

For those with low credit scores of 550 and below, there is the option of FHA (Federal Housing Authority) loans. An FHA loan is insured by the federal government which means the borrower is paying for the insurance on the loan so the lender is protected if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Let your accounts age

When you finish paying off an account, it will either close on its own, or you’ll have to close it yourself. If you have the option, keep a paid account open and let it age. An account without a balance that has a long history is a strong sign that you are not a risk.

Maintain a $0 balance on lines of credit

Pay off your credit cards and keep them paid off. One of the best ways to show that you are reliable is to have statistical proof that you have, for a long time, used and paid off your lines of credit promptly. Even if you don’t use your lines of credit, keeping them at a $0 balance is also a signal that you are so responsible with money that you don’t often need your credit.

Join a credit class

There are also programs designed to help certain groups of people who have been irresponsible with credit in the past. These groups help prepare credit holders mentally to overcome the challenges of creating budgets, living within their means, and creating reasonable spending habits.


3. Ask Questions

Lenders want your business, so when you’re shopping around for a mortgage, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about rates, the loan process, and extra incentives.

Be careful when signing

When you sign for a mortgage, your lender will perform a hard credit check, which will affect your credit score and let other lenders know that you have been shopping for a mortgage.

Ask for your lender’s mortgage rates, but be wary when filling out paperwork. Avoid pre-approval and don’t try to sign with multiple lenders.

Start using these tips as soon as you begin looking for a home. The sooner you begin to plan for your property, improve your credit score, and research mortgage options, the lower the rates will be when it comes time to sign for a mortgage.

bar owner using credit card on tablet

What is a Credit Score?


A credit score is a numerical value that signals to creditors how likely you are to make payments on your line of credit on time and in full.

Your score influences a creditor’s decision to give a loan to you. If you’re approved, your score can also help you get a lower interest rate on your loan. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate.
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Buying Your First Home in Austin

Whether you are moving to Austin to begin your career or looking for the perfect school district and neighborhood to raise a family, buying a home is a huge decision. On the positive side, if you are going to establish roots and become a homeowner you could not pick a better city. From 2000 to 2006, this was the nation’s fastest-growing city, which had a positive effect on the real estate market. Before you jump in and start house-hunting though, there are a few things to consider.
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