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Rent vs. own – is now the right time?

 We know you’ve been hearing it for a while; there just isn’t a better time to buy a home. But is there truth to this or is it simply a ploy to improve sales? As a mortgage professional and home owner, it is easy for me to say that there haven’t been many opportunities better than we’re seeing in today’s marketplace. Over the past 10 years of originating residential mortgage loans, I can tell you honestly that home values are now more affordable than they have been in a long time. When you couple this with the lowest interest rates seen in 50 years it’s hard to debate, and add to that recently introduced mortgage products to make home ownership possible with little to no money down and it is almost a no brainer.

 While we know that home ownership is not right for every individual based on their short term financial goals, we do know that home ownership is a much better alternative to renting when you look at your long term financial picture. When you own a home, your money begins to work for you and in typical markets provides a balanced attack for your investments. In recent years, real estate prices have been on the decline. That is why purchasing a home now, as opposed to 2008, is a sound decision. Many of us that purchased during those years have seen our investments decrease, but we still own the home that we’re raising our families in and are paying down our obligation with each passing month. While it may seem like an uphill battle at times, ask those that have purchased real estate in down markets and sold when prices were up. Owning real estate can pay huge dividends, and when you purchase is as important as when you sell.

In past articles I have listed the benefits of owning a home. In combination with those factors I would like to highlight mortgage products that are available to you when purchasing a home. There are caveats to the programs listed below, so as always consult with a trusted mortgage professional for your personal financing options.

  • $100 Down HUD REO   Allows you to purchase a home with only $100 down on a foreclosed upon HUD property (meaning backed by FHA). There are generally no appraisal requirements and the guidelines for approval are generally more lenient. Another thing to keep in mind is you must offer the full sales price to qualify for the program. Available on principal residence only.
  • Fannie Mae HomePath  Available to purchasers of Fannie Mae REO properties. Fannie Mae must deem the home eligible for HomePath financing. This product offers a down payment of only 3% on a principal residence, no appraisal requirement, the down payment may be in the form of a gift, and no mortgage insurance is required. It is also available for second home purchase and investment properties, but there are differences in the minimum down payment requirements and other program guidelines.
  •  USDA Rural Development (RD)  Offers 100% financing in Rural Development approved areas. This is a great financing option with low monthly payments for individuals that choose to live in outlying areas. Available on principal residence only.
  •  CHFA  Allows you to buy with a minimum $1,000 statutory investment. Available on principal residence only.
  •  VA  Allows military service members and veterans to purchase with $0 down and no monthly mortgage insurance premium with loan limits up to $417,000 in Mesa County. A truly phenomenal loan product for past and present members of our Armed Forces. Available on principal residence only.
  •  FHA  The minimum required down payment for FHA is 3.5% of the sales price. Congress recently reintroduced increased loan limits which allows for FHA financing up to $371,250 in Mesa County. Available on principal residence only.
  •  Conforming/Conventional  Allows for purchase with as little as 3% down and has loan limits of $417,000 in Mesa County. Private mortgage insurance premiums are required with loan to values over 80%, and can be paid through monthly premiums, a single paid premium or lender paid premium. Available on principal residence, second homes and investment properties.

When working in combination with a knowledgeable mortgage professional and realtor you may find that achieving the dream of home ownership is simpler than you once thought. Imagine paying towards your own financial future and not someone else’s!

Lonnie Knob, branch manager of Envoy Mortgage in Grand Junction, has been serving the home financing needs of Grand Valley and Colorado residents for more than 10 years. A full-service mortgage bank, Envoy Mortgage offers state-of-the-art technology, from e-signatures to automated milestone notifications. For more information, call 424-5585 or visit the Web site at www.envoymortagage.com
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