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Got a question? We have the answers. If you can not find the answer to your question on this list we will be more than happy to answer.  Please call 305-579-9115 or email at infor@ifs-miami.com
Should I refinance?

The answer to this question really depends on the situation for each borrower.  Most of the time, we like to say that refinancing should be done if it is going to save you money. However, there are other instances where you are required to refinance in order to comply with a balloon clause, etc.  These are some of the ways people save money by refinancing:

  1. When obtaining a new loan with a lowest interest rate.
  2. When obtaining a new loan with a reduced term, for example from a 30 year mortgage to a 15 year mortgage.
  3. When consolidating debt and replace high interest loans with a low interest rate mortgage. By doing this borrower may be able to pay old debt such as credit cards, credit lines, second mortgages, student loans, etc.   Remember that interest paid on your mortgage is tax deductible, where interest on consumer debt is not.

A mortgage consultant at IFS can help you determine if this is a good time for you to refinance. Many other factors not mentioned above are considered when preparing a “should I refinance?” scenario for your particular case. So please call us or apply on line so we can help!

How much of a property can I afford? 

(please see www.morgage.com) under mortgage calculators

  • Downpayment
  • Total monthly payment desired
  • Condominium Association if applies
  • Term (years)
  • Interest rate
  • Yearly property tax
  • Yearly property insurance (for single family homes only)

Get your results

What is a FICO score and how do I get mine?

A FICO Score is a scoring system developed by Fair Isaac & Co. used on debt payment information. Credit scoring is a method of determining the likelihood that credit users will pay their bills, and has become widely accepted by lenders as a reliable means of credit evaluation. A credit score converts a borrower’s credit history into a single number. Late payments, the amount of time credit has been established, the amount of credit used versus the amount of credit available, length of time at present residence, employment history, and negative credit information such as bankruptcies and charge-offs. Fico scores range from 400-900.  This score become very important when applying for your loan.

What is private PMI?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) policies are designed to reimburse a mortgage lender up to a certain amount if you default on your loan and your house isn't worth enough to entirely repay the lender through a foreclosure sale. Most lenders require PMI on loans where the borrower makes a down payment of less than 20%. Premiums are usually paid monthly and typically cost around one-half of one percent of the mortgage loan. With the exception of some government and older loans, most lenders allow you to drop PMI once your equity in the house reaches 20-25% and you've made timely mortgage payments.  At this time you should contact the lender to find out how you should go about removing the PMI from you monthly payment.

Can I take money from my IRA or 401K plan for a downpayment in a property?

Under the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act, first-time homeowners can withdraw up to $10,000 penalty free from an individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k) for a down payment to purchase a principal residence (though you might have to pay income tax on the amount withdrawn.) You will save the 10% penalty from early withdrawal provided that you meet the requirements outlined by the IRS.

This $10,000 is a lifetime limit -- and the money must be used within 120 days of the date you receive it. The law defines a first-time homeowner as someone who hasn't owned a house for the past two years. If a couple is buying a home, both must be first-time homeowners. Ask your tax accountant for more information, or check IRS rules at www.irs.gov.

You can also take an ordinary loan from your 401(k) plan. Ask your employer or plan administrator whether your plan allows loans. Be sure to find out what happens if you leave your job before fully repaying a loan from your 401(k) plan. If a loan becomes due immediately on your departure, income tax penalties may apply to the outstanding balance -- but you may be able to avoid this hassle by repaying the loan before you leave the job.

Should I use a mortgage broker or a bank?

Mortgage brokers have been pioneers, using cutting edge technology and innovative loan packaging to allow low to moderate income borrowers, to be able to afford buying a primary residence or investment properties.

Brokers have many lenders to whom they can use to broker your loan, and from which they can shop to make sure you received the best loan and the best rate. If you have any challenges in your file, such as not a perfect score, not verifiable income, not verifiable assets, etc. your broker is your advocate who does not get paid until those challenges are addressed. If your loan is turned down by a lender, the broker can take your file and try your loan somewhere else, finding a the appropriate way to tell your situation to the lender. Your broker doesn't get paid unless and until your loan closes. We, as brokers, have the knowledge to package your loan in a way the lenders like to received it, thus easing the approval process. We work for you. A mortgage banker has its own company's funds to lend, and has fast access to them. However, there is only one source of money. If you're turned down, you're turned down.

What does APR mean?

The government-mandated Annual Percentage Rate is an attempt to give the borrower a consistent way of comparing loan offerings, and to some extent it does that, but you should not assume that the APR quoted is what you will actually pay. In most cases it will be higher than what you pay.

Loans are offered at various interest rates with differing costs (points and loan costs). Comparing such loan products can be difficult. APR makes comparison easier by lumping the costs into the interest rate -- actually, subtracting the costs from the effective amount being lent to you. If you choose a no-point, no-fee loan, the APR will be the same as the note rate. With costs involved, the APR will always be slightly higher than the note rate -- the higher the costs, the greater the difference.

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