VA

VA Loans

 

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    Unlike banks or credit unions, who only offer their products, mortgage brokers (that’s us) have the flexibility to shop among wholesale lenders. Since all lenders are competing to make loans we can find the best pricing/rate combination for your situation. Our commission is paid by the lender and is the same regardless of which program, rate, or lender you choose. Our only motivation is to get you the best loan possible so you’ll come back to us for all your mortgage needs. At Integrity First Financial our name is our business.

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VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are available to: United States Veterans, Service Members, and surviving non-remarried spouses. Unlike conventional or FHA, VA loans require no down payment. Their qualifying minimum FICO scores are around 620(depending on the lender) and lenders will often allow higher debt to income ratios.

VA loans can be used for home improvements or installing energy efficient features, such as solar panels. In addition to the purchase of a standard home, purchase loans can be used for a lot and/or a manufactured home. Cash-out refinances are available and in some cases can be refinances for 100% of the homes equity.  

Fixed Rate Mortgages are the most common of all home loans. They are available in terms as low as 10 years and move up to 30 in 5-year increments. Their rates are locked in for the entire life of the loan, subsequently so is your payment. Payment will only go up if the taxes or insurance premiums rise. If mortgage insurance is required, once the LTV is 80% or lower the borrower can drop the MI resulting in a lower payment.  Having a steady housing cost makes budgeting easier for households, and is the primary reason most people choose a Fixed Rate Mortgage. Conventional fixed rate mortgages are available from any lender giving the borrower many pricing options.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are a slightly more complicated. When considering an ARM, an experienced loan officer can explain the fine intricacies of each program and how they can benefit you. This article will only cover the broad subject of ARMs. ARMs are available in the same terms as Fixed Rate Mortgages 10,15…30. As their name implies their rates are subject to change based upon market conditions. You will often see ARMs advertised with a two number nomenclature, possibly followed by a set of three numbers (X/X  X-X-X).

The first set of numbers are the lock and adjustment periods in years. The first number is the length of the “introductory period”. This is how long your initial interest rate is locked in. Once this period has expired the rate can now adjust at the end of every adjustment period. The length of the adjustment period is indicated by the second number. After the end of every adjustment period the rate will go either up or (rarely)down.

The second set of numbers indicates the adjustment caps in percent. The first number is the cap at the end of the lock period. Once your introductory period is over the rate will adjust to no more than plus or minus this first number. The second number is the adjustment period cap. At the the end of each adjustment period, the rate will change to no more than plus or minus this number.  The third number is the lifetime cap. Your ate will never go higher than your original rate plus this number.

Here is a more concrete example. You get 5/1 3-2-5 ARM starting at a 4% rate. Your rate will remain at 4% for the first 5 years. At the end of that five years, the rate may adjust either up or down by 3% (between 1% and 6%) and will then be locked in for another year. Let's say it went down .5%. For the next year your rate will be 3.5%.  At the end of that year adjustment it may adjust again, by no more than plus or minus 2% from your current rate  (between 1.5% and 5.5%). This cycle will continue, every year, throughout the life of the loan. During these cycles the rate will never rise to higher than 9% (your original 4% plus the 5% lifetime cap).

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