Your loan-to-value ratio (often abbreviated as LTV) is basically just a way of expressing the difference between how much you still owe on your home’s mortgage as relative its current value. For example, if a borrower still owes $100,000 on their mortgage and their home is currently valued at $250,000, their LTV would be 40%, as calculated by:
Do you know what one of the best things about living in Seattle is? Living near Puget Sound! Not only does it mean temperate climates, gorgeous views, a vibrant shipping industry, and a nearby beach in the summertime, but best of all, come Spring, families can go down to the shore and dig for clams in one of the most celebrated all-ages outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest!
Sound complicated? It isn’t! All you need is a pair of rubber boots, a shovel, a bucket, and a some waterproof clothing. Some of the best clamming is done while it’s raining! And we promise, you won’t even notice that you’re getting a little wet, as you’ll be far too busy chasing down shellfish.
We are proud to announce that Seattle Mortgage Planner’s Jim Hoge was ranked in the top 1% of Mortgage Originators in America for 2015! These rankings were recently published in Mortgage Executive Magazine. Check out their list in the Winter 2015 issue.
The magazine notes that in the last decade over 70 percent of the mortgage broker companies have disappeared. Before the housing bubble burst, loan originators and mortgage brokers were far more populous, but after 2007 many had to close up shop and many left the industry due to additional regulations and compliance requirements. The brokers and loan originators who remained were typically the ones with the best reputations and the best practices. They were the brokers and originators who didn’t lead people into mortgages they couldn’t afford or arrange variable rate mortgages for clients that would swiftly become unsustainable. They were the brokers and originators who were, as a rule, most prudent, careful, honest and industry-intuitive. We’re proud to say that Jim Hoge was not only one of the brokers who made it through the housing crisis, but that his excellent practices, reputation, and integrity have helped to only grow his business over time!
If you’re hoping to purchase a home or refinance, we hope you’ll choose a loan advisor with an excellent standing in the industry who has proven his worth through his work for hundreds of families. Seattle Mortgage Planners is one of Seattle’s best and most trusted mortgage options, and we hope you’ll give us a call if you’re in the market!
Seattle’s University District has a lot more to offer than college bars! The neighborhood boasts many large, classic Craftsman and Seattle Box homes—almost all of which have private yards—and unique, inviting establishments that give the neighborhood character and color. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations for local University District businesses that might become your new favorite spot!
If you’re trying to finance the purchase of a University District home, call us at Seattle Mortgage Planners! We’d love to talk to you about your options.
Real estate has been a hot topic for news outlets since the crash of in 2007. Ever since, virtually all investors of any kind have kept a watchful finger on the pulse of the market. How do you get information about real estate and mortgage rates? Here are a few of our favorite sources you might want to visit if you’re in the market for a new home:
This is a great site for unbiased information, current statistics, and market trend analysis that tries to make itself accessible to average yet intelligent consumers. There is no sales angle and no one running it works as a real estate agent; it’s just a community resource to help people make informed decisions about homebuying, with a deeply local focus.
In this day and age, the last place most of us go for news is the newspaper, but print publications such as The Seattle Times still have the resources and reputation to get stories bloggers can’t and invest more time in investigation and expertise. And when the articles are written by journalists, not agents, you might sacrifice a little insider knowledge but you gain it back in impartiality. Check out The Seattle Times’ Homes section for top of the line real estate coverage, or their Business section for mortgage rate information.
Run by agent Jed Etters of John L. Scott realty, this blog is a great resource for Seattle newcomers who are interested in downtown living and condos in particular. They have posted a pretty thorough Seattle Condo Buyer’s Guide and other similar resource material, but don’t tend to update often enough to have a lot of entertainment value.
This colorful and frequently-updated blog is run by the agent Matt Goyer, and it’s a great place to go for one man’s well-curated opinions on Seattle real estate. Goyer selects homes to showcase on his blog with a keen eye for midcentury moderns, exposed brick, contemporary design, and other chic, youthful eye candy you’ll love browsing, but go elsewhere for your hard information.
Of course, we also hope you’ll consider us a valuable resource! With our blog, we aim to provide people with not only useful market information and mortgage resources, but also helpful local tips. Seattle Mortgage Planners is dedicated to helping you make the best decisions for you, and that’s why we love sharing information! Call us today to talk more about financing in Seattle.
Many people are nervous about going to a mortgage broker. They often assume that brokers do exactly the same thing as a bank yet charge a “brokerage fee” that winds up making their services more expensive. In fact, the hallmark of a good mortgage broker is that they can save you money, not wind up costing more, and we encourage any prospective homebuyers to meet with a broker to see what their options are.
Unlike banks, brokers have access to many different loan sources. Banks like Wells Fargo or Chase typically offer standard, corporate-set packages. Brokers are able to sift through many different lenders—including the banks you might otherwise choose to visit—to typically find you a more competitive deal from the entire market.
Think of it this way: mortgage brokers are kind of like travel agent, or, perhaps more relevantly for our digital age, they’re like airfare comparison sites such as Priceline or Kayak. You could go to each airline’s site separately in an effort to find the best deal, or go to your favorite airline and see what they have to offer, but a travel agent can shop all the airlines on your behalf and present you with the best deal. A mortgage broker is like that travel agent–we compare the costs so you don’t have to!
Importantly, mortgage brokers are also better at finding loan options for people with very specific cases, such as borrowers with bad credit. Mortgage brokers are able to find loan packages that are more customized and better accommodate borrowers with needs that might need more industry know-how to navigate. If you’ve been turned down for a loan at a bank, you should still try talking to a mortgage broker, because it’s highly likely that they’ll be able to find a way the traditional bank couldn’t.
It’s Free to Talk
Mortgage brokers don’t charge by the hour like lawyers or psychiatrists. They charge a fee when you close the deal, meaning that a conversation with a broker doesn’t cost you anything unless they can prove to you that they can find you a better deal. We encourage you to visit a traditional bank and a broker, and let the results speak for themselves!
Furthermore, one of the very best things about working with a mortgage broker is that you actually can talk to them. Unlike big banks where you have no personal connection and you spend most of your time on hold, mortgage brokers are someone you can actually call, meet, and work with on a personalized level.
Brokers can save you money and time, and if you’re in the market for a home loan it’d be a misstep not to meet with one. If you want a locally-focused, trusted broker with a great track record, we hope you’ll visit us at Seattle Mortgage Planners. We’ve been in business over ten years, and we always aim to become our customer’s broker for life, not just one transaction. Contact us today to set up a free consultation or request a quote online!
Seattle might not have Portland’s circles of food trucks or New York City’s $1 slices of pizza, but we have some pretty great street food options that are a cherished aspect of local identity. If you’re looking to make a permanent home here, we hope you’ll explore these iconic street food options alongside our many exquisite restaurants and cafes.
In many central areas you can find hot dog stands selling “street meat” for five bucks a dog. Friendly vendors are always offering a variety of choices, usually including regular hot dogs, bratwurst, and veggie dogs, for a quick on-the-go meal. The “Seattle dog” is a hot dog (or veggie dog or brat) with a schmear of cream cheese and caramelized onions—a combo so delicious we’re surprised it’s not standard everywhere else! Dress it up with jalapenos, onions, relish, ketchup, mustard, Siracha, and more!
This sandwich is one of the staples of quick and inexpensive Seattle meals. Seattle has a robust Asian population, and bahn mis are a delectable adopted food that combines Vietnamese cuisine with French colonial influence. You can get a bahn mi in almost any Seattle neighborhood thanks to our large Vietnamese population, and they’ll almost never cost more than five dollars. A crusty baguette is spread with a fish sauce-infused aioli and topped with barbeque pork or tofu, carrots, daikon radishes, jalapenos, and cilantro.
Even though Seattle has far fewer food trucks than other cities, you’re rarely far from a great taco stand, many of which have walk-up windows. We have some of the most authentic Mexican food options in the Northern United States, and almost every neighborhood boasts a taco stand that serves up homemade al pastor, adobo, mole, or lengua! Nothing beats a chilled glass or horchata in the summer, or chili-infused Mexican hot chocolate in the winter. Best of all, enjoy the variety of salsas offered at almost every place!
Seattle has a lot to offer its residents in terms edibles, from five star restaurants to five dollar street food. If you’re hoping to buy a Seattle home, contact us at Seattle Mortgage Planners to learn more about your options for both living and finance!
Dropping mortgage interest rates and increasing home values in the Seattle area, as well as other housing markets around the nation, are signals that it’s a great time to buy a home. Will the trend continue in 2016? Here are some predictions for Seattle’s housing market in the coming year…
Mortgage rates will stay low for the foreseeable future, according to recent Bankrate surveys. Rates have been below 4% for a 30-year fixed, conventional mortgage loan for quite some time, and are expected to remain low.
Home prices are expected to stay high for the time being. Last month, home prices hit a new record high in King County. The increasing home prices may encourage some homeowners who are considering selling to list their properties sooner, while the market is still on their side.
High home prices are coupled with extremely low inventory – a trend that is expected to continue in 2016. Active listings hit the lowest monthly level since 1993 last month. Of course, November and December are traditionally low-inventory months, since buyers aren’t looking as aggressively and new listings are reduced over the holiday season. Inventory is predicted to stay very low however, leading to more desperation from buyers and a willingness to pay above market value for a home, when buyers are caught in a bidding war.
Our local economy is strong, which leads to a better housing market. Local real estate company Redfin predicts that lenders will be more accepting of new methods for measuring a buyer’s creditworthiness. This would lead to more first-time buyers and more buyers overall, with the enhanced credit access.
According to Zillow’s forecast, Northwest Bellevue, the University District, Olympic Manor, Fremont and Bryant are the five hottest Seattle neighborhoods for home value growth this year. Seattle as a city is one of the top housing markets nationwide, second only to Denver, Colorado.
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com
If you’ve been listening to the news, you know that China’s stock market—the second-largest economy in the world—took a serious hit last week, falling 11.5% and losing almost $10 trillion in its total decline since last June. This has negatively impacted the closely-linked markets of Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and, yes, the United States, and though plenty of portfolios are hurting right now, this could actually be good for prospective real estate buyers.
Chinese investment in American real estate is enormous, especially in Washington and Seattle in particular. Chinese buyers are looking both for investment properties to manage from abroad and home to live in with their families, and these buyers are often able to pay in cash for luxury real estate, driving up the market prices.
However, with the Chinese economy stumbling, their interest in investing in American real estate will likely cool on the West Coast. More importantly, though, is what it will mean for mortgage-shoppers. Even if housing prices aren’t affected by the Chinese market downturn, mortgage rates are already becoming more favorable as a result.
Although rates aren’t likely to continue falling, it is widely believe we won’t see the previously-anticipated interest rate hike in 2016. So if you’re looking for a mortgage or considering a refinancing, now is a great time! Contact our brokers to get a quote today.