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Do I Want A Fixed or Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

choosing a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage

Maybe this blog post title actually has you wondering what exactly that means. If you’re thinking about buying a home sometime soon, these ideas are very important and you will want to know what they mean and how they work! Today’s blog post will explain these terms, why they’re important to you, and how you should make decisions relating to them.

Defining the Terms

A fixed rate mortgage means that when you get a mortgage, you agree to stick with the current interest rate for each year you pay off your mortgage. (So if the current interest is at, say, 6% this year, next year, you will also pay 6% interest next year, whether the current interest rate goes up or down.)

A variable rate/adjusted rate mortgage simply means that your interest rate will change every year with the current interest rate every year as you pay off your mortgage. (So, if the current interest rate is at 6% this year, that’s what you’ll pay for this year. Next year, you will pay whatever the current interest rate is for that year, whether it’s 5% or 8%.)

This is probably the most simple way we can explain this.We could give you more details, and by all means, if you have questions, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat about it!

The Decision

Of course, both seem to offer value. But how do you know which one is right for you? Ultimately this comes down to asking yourself a few questions.

  • Do you prefer security?
  • Are you a bit of a gambler and wouldn’t mind trading security for the potential opportunity to get a lower interest rate?
  • What’s the current interest rate?
  • Are there predictions of the interest rate coming down or going up in the future?
  • How long do you plan to take the mortgage out for?
  • Are you more interested in smaller payments now?

Ask yourself these questions, and give us a call. We’ll be happy to talk you through which type of rate would be best for you. There’s no right answer and there isn’t one that works for everyone. It depends on the individual, their comfort level, their financial situation, as well as the current and prospected financial environment. Give us a call today and we’d love to help you out!

For more information, check out Investopedia- Comparing ARM and Fixed Mortgage Rates

What Do Our Customers Think Of Us?

testimonials for Ask Mortgage Dr J
It’s one thing for us to constantly tell you why we are the right choice for you and how we can help you out with your mortgage needs in the southeastern Virginia area. But we realize that may not be enough to convince you. That’s why we want to share with you what our customers, people just like you, think about us. Today we’d like to highlight a testimonial that one of our clients recently provided for us.

Quite simply, J. Mansisidor and his team are by far the most professional and responsive loan representatives I have ever encountered. My testimonial is 100 percent unsolicited, and after I closed I asked him if there was anything I could do to spread the word to other busy professionals because of how highly I regard him. This was my 4th mortgage, and J’s team is by far the most proactive loan team I have worked with in dealing with any issues that inevitably come up. Please do yourself a favor and use his team.

I could go on and on about all the things J and his team did for us including late night phone calls and emails minutes after I sent them (even on weekends), but the following sums up what type of J is

J. came to my closing while his wife was still in the hospital having delivered their second child one day prior. He came in on crutches hobbling having just had foot injury, accompanied with his 4 year old daughter, Shea. I asked him why he made such an effort, and he told me that the most important thing was that I got into my home that day, and he wanted to make sure there were no last minute snags. I can’t tell you how much that meant to my wife and I.

J.and his team were a pleasure to work with. They were easy to reach and very knowledgeable about physician loan. Even though construction on my new home was delayed several times they worked with me to get my loan closed without any extra. I wholeheartedly recommend J and his team for your mortgage needs.

-Jithin Yohannan, Baltimore, MD

So what do you think? We really want to work with you and help you out with your mortgage needs. We have a great deal of experience and are excited to help you. Don’t just take our word for it, and you don’t even just have to take Jithin’s either! You can read more testimonials on our Testimonials Page!

Interested in learning more about the Doctor Loan Program? Click here.

A Personal Finance Must Read

Written by Brittany Shaffer, a twenty-something yuppie with a mind for finance and business

personal finance book review
One major problem that people in their twenties and thirties are facing is the lack of knowledge about managing their finances. Advice they may (or may not) have received from their parents is not always sufficient because times, money, and economics were different, even just thirty years ago. Many individuals have received little or no financial education or advice from parents, educators, or anyone else for that matter. As an individual in my twenties, I’ve decided to study personal finance as much as I can in order to make sure that I am prepared to make the smartest financial decisions I can. In today’s post, I would like to share some advice with you, and a recommendation to read Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner.

I picked up this book in a book store and was at first a little skeptical because it was published in 1996. The link I’ve provided above is for a more recent edition, which I am sure is even more useful than the copy that I read. Even though it was slightly older, I was still able to find useful nuggets of truth in it.

This book is divided into sections about talks about saving money, insurance types, retirement, bank accounts, debt elimination, investing, and more. Each section offers detailed information relevant to what a twenty-something year old should be thinking about their finances. The problem lies in the fact that many are NOT thinking about them. They’ve been told to not worry about their retirement or other finances until they are older. After all, twenty is still young, right? WRONG. This is precisely the time that individuals need to be considering their financial situation and making adequate provisions for the future.

Beth Kobliner does a great job of helping you understand just what steps you need to be taking to make sure that are preparing yourself for your financial future. As someone who has struggled at times to understand complicated financial jargon (especially as it relates to areas like insurances and IRAs and 401k accounts), this book is an excellent resource at helping you sort through the jargon to understand what you need to know and how to apply it to your life.

I highly recommend this as a must read for anyone in their twenties or thirties, whether you think you have a grip on your financial life or not.

What do you think? Are there other books your prefer for personal finance?

Benefits of Buying a Home Now

If you’ve been waiting for a good time to buy a house, then now may just be the best time for you to do it! Interest rates on mortgages are projected to rise in the future, so buying a home in a few years could be incredibly more expensive than it is right now. If you’ve been thinking about buying a home soon, read this post for more information on why you should buy a house now.

Interest Rates Are Rising Rapidly

Check out this graph- you can see that interest rates are starting climb. Imagine what it will be in two years from now!

Mortgage rate graph

Find the best mortgage rates in your area.


As rates have been rising since May of this year, you can easily see how quickly they’ve gone up. If you want to buy a home anytime soon, you are likely to be better off buying now before the interest rates spike higher.

Don’t Dump Money Into An Apartment

When you think about it, apartments are kind of a waste of money. You pour money into something that will never actually be yours. Although with a house, you might have a higher monthly payment than your apartment bill, at least you’re paying yourself in a way.

Check out this video for more information on why you should buy a home now.



So what do you think? Do you agree? Are you planning to buy a home soon? What’s your plan? If you have more questions, feel free to post on here, or contact us! We truly want to help you, even if it’s just answering your questions. Share your questions with us on Facebook, because chances are, you’re not the only one who has the question so you can help others get answers, too, when we answer it for you!

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How To Create A Budget

If you find that you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, then you might need to sit down and figure out a better way to be saving your money. Of course, the best way to do this is to have money left over from each paycheck to save. Think there’s no way you can do that? Then you need to sit down and create a budget. In this blog post, we’ll briefly explain how to create a budget so you can keep better track of your money and be saving!

Analyze your spending

Make an excel document and clearly list out what you are spending every month. You may need to sit down with your bills and receipts and your spouse (if applicable). Just open a document and label it expenses then make a column of items and next to it type in the price you pay monthly. You can organize it like this.
how to make a budget

Once you have it all listed out, add up the total to see what you are spending every month.

Determine Your Income

Next, make another area in your spreadsheet of how much you make a month. Add your wages/salary at work, and any other jobs you have. If you have any investments or other income, make sure it’s noted on there.

Find what you can eliminate/decrease from expenses OR increase income

Now you need to look at the discrepancy between what you make and what you spend. Do you have any money at all left over from your income that doesn’t go into spending? If you have little, none, or not as much as you would like, then you will need re-evaluate your expenses. Find something that you can cut back on. Maybe you can’t get Starbucks every day- instead you might have to limit yourself to once a week, or a less-expensive kind of coffee. Maybe you can find a cheaper phone plan that the one you’re currently on. If there’s literally nothing that you can cut back on, then you will need to look at finding a way to increase your income. This could come from looking for side jobs, working extra hours at work, or asking your spouse to help find extra work.

Final Step

Once you’ve found where your money is coming from and going, and made appropriate adjustments, you need to document it and refer to it often. Make a new excel spreadsheet that lists out how much money you will allow yourself to spend on each category. Perhaps you will have a “Eating Out” item that is half of what it used to be in order to allow you to save that money. Make sure you refer to this often to make sure that you are not spending more than you should be.

Try out these ideas and see if it doesn’t help you be more organized with your money, save more, and spend money more efficiently. With more pressure to keep your costs down, you’ll start finding more creative ways to cut costs. Then when you get a bonus at work or a promotion/raise, you’ll be able to save even money instead of just “breaking even”. Have some other questions or thoughts about budgetting? Let us know! We’re happy to help!

Things To Do In Williamsburg

things to do in williamsburg

Moving is a difficult process, whether you’re just moving across town or across the country. Between financing your home, changing jobs or schools, and making new friends, moving offers plenty of challenges. But we’d like to help make that a little less challenging, by giving you some ideas of things to do in Williamsburg. If you’ve recently moved to Williamsburg, VA, then keep reading this post for some ideas about things you can do here! Williamsburg is a great city, full of history and adventure. There are things to do for the whole family, so make sure that you spend some time checking them out!

Historic Jamestowne

Here’s a good place to learn about our nation’s history. If you are staying in Williamsburg, then you must check this out. You can take tours, visit the memorial church, and find historic objects and replicas of historic artifacts at the museum. Tickets are free for children and $14 for adults. They are open every day (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) from 8:30 to 4:30. For more information, check out their website Here and Here!

Busch Gardens

If you’ve never been to Busch Gardens, you need to go! It’s great for the whole family as there are rides and roller coasters, as well as shows and entertainment. In Busch Gardens Williamsburg, the park is set up so that you explore different countries. You can get a real cultural experience by visiting Ireland, Italy, England, Germany, and more! A summer fun pass only costs $70/person, so it’s a great deal if you live here as you will have the opportunity to go many times. For more information, check out their website Here.

Water Country

Do you like water parks? Well you’re in luck because Williamsburg offers only the best! Water Country is a water park that’s suited to meet your water needs. If you want a quick overview of the park, check out the Park Map. Not only can you come here to play, but you can also get swimming lessons as well as American Red Cross training here! For more information, check out their website here!

Williamsburg Winery

Are you feeling thirsty? Check out the Williamsburg Winery to try some of Virginia’s best wine. You can get a tour and do wine tasting here, along with purchasing your own wine from the wine shop. Check on their website as they often have different events going on. You can also learn more on their blog. Think of yourself as a wine connoisseur? Then maybe you should look into joining the wine club! For more info, check out their website.

William and Mary

Have kids in high school? Have they ever considered William and Mary? William and Mary is a very prestigious school located right here in Williamsburg. They have tours and info sessions regularly, including throughout the summer. If you think your kids might be interested, why not spend some time out there? You can learn more at their website.

Muscarelle Museum of Art

Speaking of William and Mary… don’t forget to check out the art museum. They’re closed on Mondays, but they are open every other day, including Sundays! They have several collections, including portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries! They also have programs and events, so check on their website for more info about those. Regular admission is $15, but William and Mary students,as well as children under 12, get in free! If you are interested in art, make sure to check it out. Learn more on their website.

There’s a few things to get you started…. What else have you found to do in Williamsburg? Comment on here and let us know! And check back regularly for more useful info and things to do!

Things to Look For When Buying A Home

things to look for when buying a house
Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting task. Some of you may have dreamed for years about what you want your home to be like, while others may have no idea where to start. Before looking for houses, you need to decide everything you really want in a home, what’s most important to you, and then start looking for houses that meet those criteria!

Location

Is it important for you to be close to a Wal-Mart or a grocery store, or are you looking for something away from it all? Do you want to be in a neighborhood setting, or would you prefer to have more land? Do you want your home to be near a certain school for your kids? These are questions you need to consider when looking for a home. When you are seriously considering a home, make sure that you understand what the surrounding area is like. Find out crime rates and the type of people who generally live in the area.

Size

How big is your family? Do you have people stay with you frequently? Make sure that you don’t get a house that’s too small, otherwise you will only be cramped and grow out of it much sooner. On the other hand, don’t get a house that’s too big, because then you will be paying unnecessarily expensive utility bills. Not to mention there will be much more to clean and more housework.

Price

What is your budget? Be realistic. You may want a million dollar home, but can you really afford one? You may also not want to spend much money at all, but is that realistic for the type of home you need?

Condition

Are you a bit of a handyman, or have friends who are? If that’s the case, you might be able to get a nicer home for an affordable price, assuming you can do the renovations. Some homes only require minor renovations that you could easily pay someone else to do and save a ton of money. Keep this in mind when looking at homes that may not be in perfect condition.

One Floor or Multiple?

Do you want a house that’s all on one level? Or would you prefer a house with stairs? For older couples, or couples with children, you may prefer a one story house. Keep in mind which you would prefer, and decide how important it is to your decision.

Yard

Do you want a big backyard? Does it need to have a fence for your pets? Keep in mind some houses have a very small front yard, but larger backyard.

These are a few questions to be asking when you are trying to decide what type of home you want. Each is important to consider, but some are more important than others. Make sure that you find what is most important and essential in a home, and then you can worry about making the rest of it work out, as well. Discuss this with your realtor and they will help you find the best home for you.

Home Bidding Wars Have Returned!

Home Bidding Wars Have Returned!

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A new report from CNNMoney shows that at least 65% of listings in areas like D.C. are generating bidding wars this year. Their survey found that 75% of realtors at brokerage Redfin are reporting client offers being outbid by competing offers. In 2011, only 56% reported the same market effects. This is good news for sellers and it should serve as motivation for buyers looking to get into a new home.

Read the full story at CNNMoney here.

How New FHA Guidelines Impact You

How New FHA Guidelines Impact You

In a recent blog post, I told you about changes to FHA-backed mortgage guidelines that were being considered by congress. Last week, I was on the phone with a representative from the FHA to find out what these changes were and when they would take effect. I found out that changes would be taking place on April 1.

How will the new FHA guidelines going into effect  April 1st impact your mortgage? 

From the FHA Guidelines:

 For loans with FHA case numbers assigned on or after 6/3/13, FHA will collect Annual MIP (mortgage insurance premiums) for the maximum duration permitted as described in ML 13-04

-All Loan Terms greater than 15 years and less than or equal to 15 years with a LTV (loan to value) greater that 90%, annual MIP will be collected until the end of the loan term, or 30 years, whichever occurs    first.

-It the LTV (loan to value) is less than or equal to  90% annual MIP will be collected until the end of the loan term, or 11 years, whichever occurs first.

To break this down into easier to understand terms,  if the loan you take out exceeds 90% of what the home is worth, you will be required to carry mortgage insurance and pay monthly premiums until the loan is paid off. This applies to ALL loan terms. If the the loan you take out is 90% or less than what the home is worth, you will be required to carry mortgage insurance and pay monthly premiums for 11 years or until the loan is paid off, whichever comes first. These new guidelines will impact loans insured by the FHA on or after June 3 of this year.

Currently, homes loans backed by the FHA are only required to carry mortgage insurance until the loan to value ratio is 78%.

What this really means is that now is the time to buy a home if you are interested in saving the most amount of money. You can still close on a loan in time to fall under the current FHA guidelines and save yourself a ton of money on insurance premiums.

To view a copy of the letter that includes these details and other changes made to the FHA guidelines starting April 1, click on the image below.

FHA Guideline Changes, FHA Letter to Mortgagees

If you are interested in purchasing a home and think that a FHA-backed mortgage might be right for you, please contact me as soon as possible so we can discuss your needs. Click here to visit my contact page.