Finding the right home for you is your primary goal,

but enjoying it with a lower payment and better

mortgage terms is a very important secondary goal.

I’ve researched and worked with many mortgage

brokers and lenders in the Washington real estate

markets, and I’ll help you to contact those that are the

best fit for you and your financial picture.

The "normal" mortgage for working families.
Just because there’s nothing special about your in-

come stream, and you’re getting a paycheck every week, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be differences in mortgages and lenders for your needs.  Every mortgage broker and most lenders tend to work within their own requirements and procedures, and these may or may not be the friendliest terms for a salaried or hourly wage earner.  I know which are going to treat you right and give you the best terms, and I’ll guide you to them.

The self–employed borrower.
Since the mortgage and housing crisis of 2007 changed the way lenders do business. Securing financing has become a more complicated process for business owners or self-employed individuals.  Documentation requirements for income and expenses are much more demanding, but I’ll help you find the options that work best for you.

Less-than-stellar credit.
It’s easy to get a ding or two on your credit these days...  It doesn’t even take a mistake or late payment, as credit scores are reduced for the amount and ratio of debt, as well as types of debt.  Millions of people pay their bills on time and still don’t have those high-end credit scores.  But there are a number of reliable, trustworthy lenders I can introduce you to who can help you to overcome that obstacle.

ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages)and when they're appropriate.
Though most residential home buyers buy a home they intend to occupy for a number of years (nationally averaging eight), this isn't always the case.  Investors, too, may seek a shorter ownership period.  ARMs are best applied when the plan is to own a home for five years or less.  Because the lender is tying up their money for a shorter time period, they'll loan at lower interest rates.  ARMs can result in hundreds of dollars a month in lower payments in some cases, and can even allow a buyer to qualify for a larger home.  However, one has to be very careful:  once the ARM's fixed rate interest period is over, rates can escalate alarmingly.  If you are considering an ARM, be sure you know what all the terms are.

Financial disclosure and contract-to-closing considerations.
Lenders and their underwriters heavily scrutinize financial, income and expense information.  Be prepared to dig out a lot of documentation, and be forthcoming with any financial information that might impact your ability to pay make monthly payments.  Be prepared for questions and requests for documents throughout the process, right up to the end.  Also, it’s highly recommended that you not add any credit card or other debt between the date of contract and closing. Just before closing, most lenders will do another credit check and a check for any liens or encumbrances.

Watch the fees, and question them.
There are a number of fees associated with getting a mortgage, and the total of origination and other fees is usually the highest closing cost aggregate item in the deal.  Never hesitate to ask about all fees - why they’re charged, why they’re a certain amount, and how they’re calculated.

It’s your money, and you’re the customer.

To get a better sense of how much house you can afford, visit Long & Foster's excellent affiliate mortgage company, Prosperity Mortgage.