Tag Archives: #Homebuyers

Understanding Your Credit Score

The credit score is a tool mortgage lenders and other financial institutions use in determining the financial health of a prospective homebuyer.

The credit score, such as the FICO score is a financial term, and is important when mortgage lenders are pre-approving you and pricing the interest rate for your new mortgage loan.  A FICO score which is short for Fair Isaac & Co, is one of three credit scores mortgage lenders use. A credit score is a snap shot of your credit report on a specific date and time.  Your credit score measures your ability to pay your debts in a timely manner.

In most cases applicants with a higher credit scores are considered better risks and receive better interest rates while individuals with lower credit scores may receive a slightly higher interest mortgage.

Credit Scores and Mortgage Rates

Most credit scores range from 300-850. For example, a credit score of 760 and above indicates a better credit worthiness than a credit score of 679 which suggests the loan may be a little risky and may command a higher interest rate.

Factors Affecting Credit Scores

Your credit score is based on a credit report compiled by one of three licensed credit bureaus in the United States Experian, TransUnion and Equifax called a Residential Credit Report. Due to the differing reports provided by these credit bureaus, one person may have three completely different credit scores.

Although the model used in determining your credit score from your credit report is not made public, Fair Isaac and Company have listed the following factors as having the most bearing on the generation of your credit score:

Payment History

A history of late payments, bankruptcy, foreclosures and other negative actions lead to lower credit scores.

High Credit Balances to Credit Limits

Credit scores consider your existing debt and the available balance in your accounts.  In most cases your credit score will be affective if you carry balances on your credit cards or 30% of the high balance limit.

Length of Credit History

How long your accounts have been created is accounted for when generating a credit score.  This factor rewards an account with a proven history of sustained credit.

Type of Credit

A diversification of different accounts of credit is sometimes rewarded. People who have lines of credit in different types of accounts such as credit cards, retail store cards, consumer finance and mortgage may be a benefit to their credit scores.

Recent Credit Requests

Multiple requests for credit in a short period of time (90 to 120 days) may be considered a risk and thus reduce your credit scores.

In short, your credit report and credit scores serve as representation of what your credit worthiness is to mortgage lenders.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions regarding credit scores.

Call Me Today 916-722-0395, Email Me Today kathleen@wcmtg.com or visit my website www.kathleenbeck.com   Let’s start you down the road to home ownership now!

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Fixed Rate Loan vs. Adjustable Rate Loan

Fixed Rate Mortgages and Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) are two loan options for homeowners and homebuyers. While the growing marketplace offers so many varieties within these two categories of loans, the right selection of the mortgage for your needs can be little difficult. To choose the best option for your new home purchase or refinance, it is good to find out a few details about both these loan options in advance.

Fixed Rate Loans:

The fixed rate loan is a set interest rate that is fixed at the time of loan approval and stays same throughout the lifetime of the loan. Fixed rate loans are generally more stable than adjustable rate loans.  Most people like the fixed rate loan because they know what to expect when it comes to budgeting.  A fixed rate loan is generally 1% to 1.5% higher than the start rate on an adjustable loan.


  • Irrespective of the changes that happen in the broader economy, the payments and rate for fixed-rate loans stays constant.
  • The stability of these loans provides easy budgeting solution to homeowners.
  • The terms and conditions are easier to understand, and they are suitable for both home buyers and refinances.


  • If a homeowner wants to lower the interest rate, the fixed rate loan holder needs to refinance.
  • You do not have a lower start rate.
  • Most of the fixed rate loans cannot be customized.

Adjustable Rate Loans:

As the name implies, in this case, the interest rate is adjustable. The initial interest rate of the Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) is generally below the fixed rate.  After the initial, start rate period most ARMs adjust annual on the anniversary of the first payment.  The new adjustable interest rate is set 45 days ahead of that date.  However, there are ARMs that adjust as frequently as every month!


  • It features lower interest rates, so people may qualify to buy larger homes than they otherwise could.
  • The adjustable-rate loans allow borrowers to take advantage of falling interest rates without refinancing.
  • It can help loan borrowers to invest more money with the savings they see on their monthly payment.
  • These mortgages offer a lower start rate for borrowers who move often.


  • The payments and interest rates may rise significantly throughout the life of the loan.
  • The terms and conditions involved in the ARM are quite difficult to understand. Sometimes borrowers get trapped by shady loan companies.

Many variables play an essential role in the final decision between the ARM (adjustable rate loan) and fixed rate loan. Please feel free to give me a call with any questions and allow me the opportunity to help you find the perfect loan for your situation!

Call Me Today 916-722-0395, Email Me Today kathleen@wcmtg.com or visit my website www.kathleenbeck.com   Let’s start you down the road to home ownership now!

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When To Talk To A Mortgage Professional

Pre-Approval for Peace of Mind!

Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make.  The question of when to speak to a mortgage professional sometimes doesn’t occur to new home buyers until they find a home they are interested in and then it is too late!

The first step in the house hunting process should be a conversation with me. This is called a Pre-Approval.  I will help you figure out how much of a monthly payment you feel comfortable with and can afford.  I will do this by looking at your income and debt structure, where you currently work and live and how much you have available for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses associated with buying a home.

Once I have reviewed all your loan documentation I will present you with a Pre-Approval Letter you can give your Realtor. The Realtor may call it a “Pre-Qual.”  The letter states you have been PREAPPROVED for a home loan under our BUYER READY PROGRAM.  This puts you in the best position to expedite closing of your loan. Your file has been conditionally approved based upon the review of an acceptable credit report, verified bank statements with sufficient cash to close, a completed loan application, verified employment and/or income as of the date of this letter.

When you find your dream home, having a Pre-Approved Home Loan gives you and your Realtor a certain amount of confidence and a definite edge in the market place.  First it will help your Realtor focus on homes within your budget and your ability to finance.  Secondly it will give a seller the confidence that you are Pre-Approved and serious about buying their home.  Many times, sellers look closely at the Pre-Approval and the lender behind the Pre-Approval when considering multiple offers on their home, after all, you are ready to buy a home.  My website has a Pre-Qualification form you can easily fill out and transmit to me electronically. Call Me Today 916-722-0395, Email Me Today kathleen@wcmtg.com or visit my website www.kathleenbeck.com   Let’s start you down the road to home ownership now!

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Why & How to Keep Your Household Financial Records

Whether your applying to purchase a home or thinking about selling, there are many different reasons why having up to date household financial records can help save you time and money.

Check your current financial records income taxes, W2s, bank, investment and retirement statements, also insurance such life health and disability and see what is missing or out of date. Contact the record keeper and request new copies. Keeping accurate records will help you make important financial decisions.

How Long Should You Keep Records?

  • 7 Years – Taxes/Credit Card Statements and Property Records
  • ALL IRA contribution records
  • 1 Year – Utility bills
  • Indefinitely – Property records

Safely Dispose of Records

Make sure you dispose of your records properly.

  • Digital – overwrite data or physically destroy storage medium
  • Paper – Shred or incinerate

Record Organization Categories:

Keeping your records organized is just as important as accurate. Here are some great categories to organize your records.

  • Health Records – Health insurance policies, bills, prescriptions, life insurance
  • Financial Records – Bank statements, taxes and loans
  • Home/Property Records – Mortgages, Deeds and property tax information

Knowing what records to keep and the proper way to store them can really make a difference when it comes to making important life decisions.

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
2716 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818

#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #Records #HouseholdRecords #FinancialRecords #Buying #HomeBuyer #HomeBuyingProcess #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender

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What is “Boarder Income” and How Is It Utilized When Applying for a Loan?

Did you know you can use boarder income to help you qualify for certain loan programs? Understanding which programs allow you to utilize boarder income and the requirements for each can help you get ahead when applying for a loan.

Boarder income is income that a person receives for lodging, meals, or related services from people living on their property. There are three types of loans that you can apply boarder income to:

  1. Federal Housing Association (FHA)
  2. Fannie Mae (FNMA)
  3. Freddie Mac (FHLMC)

Federal Housing Association (FHA)

Boarder income applies to Boarders of the subject property renting space inside the borrower’s dwelling unit.

  • Mortgagee must obtain a copy of the executed written agreement documenting intent to continue boarding with the Borrower for purchase transactions.
  • Borrower has a two-year tax return history of receiving income from boarders and the borrower is currently receiving boarder income.
  • Obtain two years of the Borrower’s tax returns evidencing income from boarders and the current lease.

Fannie Mae (FNMA)
Boarder income from boarders in the borrower’s principal residence or second home is only acceptable when:

  • Documentation of the boarder’s history of shared residency that shows the boarder’s address as being the same as the borrower’s address.
  • Documentation of the boarder’s rental payments for the most recent 12 months.
  • When a borrower with disabilities receives rental income from a live-in personal assistant, the rental payments can be considered as acceptable stable income in an amount up to 30% of the total gross income that is used to qualify the borrower for the mortgage loan.
Freddie Mac (FHLMC)

Rental income from the subject 1-unit primary residence rental income generated from a borrower’s primary residence may be used to qualify with a disability if the rental income is from a live-in aide. This Income source may be considered stable monthly income if:

  • The rental income may be considered in an amount up to 30% of the total gross income that is used to qualify the borrower.
  • The live-in aide plans to continue to reside with the borrower for the foreseeable future.
  • Borrower received rental payments from a live-in aide for the past 12 months on a regular basis.
Boarder income can be tricky but is important to take into consideration when applying for a loan. If you have boarder income and want to learn more about how you can utilize it, please let me know as we can discuss your specific scenario.
Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
2716 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #Buying #HomeBuyer #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender #BoarderIncome #Income
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Thinking About Buying A Condo?

The question of “should we buy a condo” crosses everyones mind, especially those who live in urban areas. A condominium is a building or complex of buildings containing a number of individually owned unit homes. Just like owning home, when you buy a condo you own it outright. But there are a few things that all interested condo buyers should understand before they decide to buy.

Understand the Home Owners Association (HOA) Rules
When you buy a condo, you’re also buying into the association’s rules. This includes monthly ownership fees, operating budget, liens and personalities that are included within your potential condo. Before escrow is closed you should receive documentation of all the HOA rules. If you want to hang things outside your home, plant a tree, park your RV at your home, you’d better check with the HOA first.

Condominium Fees
Condo’s have monthly fees that are charged to each resident and cover an array of expenses. These expenses can include painting the exterior, landscaping, insurance, upkeep, maintenance, garages and other things. Knowing what your HOA has saved in the reserve is important so you know they actually have saved for these types of expenses and also understanding if there are any special projects slated for the next few years.

Reserve Fund and HOA Budget
Speaking of reserve fund, this is a very important item to be aware of if you are planning on buying a condo. The reserve fund is used for general maintenance and special assessment projects. If the reserve fund is low, this could lead to an increase in your HOA monthly fees to build the fund up. You also want to understand how the HOA is used and you can better understand that by reviewing the budget. These items should be included in the documents your realtor provides you when you are in contract.

Condominium Management
If the condominium you are interested is managed by a particular company, ask for the name and check its reputation. Two great ways to look into a management company is through the BBB (Better Business Bureau) or even a simple Yelp search.

Owner Occupancy
Understanding the ratio of tenants to renters is actually an important aspect when buying a condo. Some loans have minimum owner occupancy rates that a condo must meet to qualify for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA loans.

Knowing Your Neighbors
The best way to meet the neighbors is to attend a HOA board meeting. Most of the time, if there are complicated neighbors they surface at these meetings. You can also get a better understanding of the current owners viewpoints and personal feelings on living at the condominium.

It is common that liability and hazard insurance are covered by the HOA and if it is not then it is up to the owner to cover these.  You will be responsible for the “Walls In Coverage” also known as a Renter’s Policy cover the interior of the condo.

Condominiums can be great purchases, especially in urban areas where walk scores are high and they have well ran HOA’s. Many times sellers will not release the HOA documents until a buyer is in contract. Do not allow this to turn you away from making an offer. Once you are in contract you are allocated time to review the HOA documents once they are provided to you so that you can make sure they fit with the lifestyle you are looking to create.

Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender
2716 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
#Mortgage #MortgageLoanProcess #Buying #HomeBuyer #Refinance #ConventionalLoan #FHALoan #VALoan #JumboLoan #PreQualifications #PreApproval #Borrower #HomeOwnership #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeFinancing #TrustedLender #Condo #Condominium
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Home Financing “Need List”


Kathleen Beck – Mortgage Lender

West Coast Mortgage Group

NMLS #243181 | BRE #01058848

Looking to buy or refinance a home is a very exciting time. It is also an important time for interested borrowers to organize their documents, better known as a “Needs List” to ensure your loan or re-fi is processed in a timely manner without unforeseen challenges.

The documents listed below are needed by your mortgage officer in order to verify the information you provided during the application process. These items should be sent at your earliest opportunity to expedite the processing of your request.

Documents Needed:

  • Copy of your Driver’s License
  • Copy of your Social Security Card
  • Legible copies of W-2’s and 1099s from last two tax years
  • Personal Federal Tax Returns from last two tax years
  • Statements for all checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts (including all pages for the last two months)
  • A letter of explanation for all non-payroll deposits into your accounts and copies of the checks deposited
  • Current pay-stubs from all borrowers (most recent 30 days)
  • Copy of Homeowners Insurance Policy Declaration Page showing the coverage and premium on all property owned
  • Current mortgage statements on all property owned

The entire loan and re-finance process takes approximately 30-45 days and mortgage officers should work to make this as simple and stress-free as possible. Once you have gathered the items above, send the documents via secure email, hand delivery, or by means you feel comfortable and you should have a smooth experience.

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Four Trends Will Shape the Housing Market in 2017

By: Kathleen Beck, Mortgage Lender

CA BRE #01058848  |  NMLS #243181

It doesn’t take much reflecting on 2016 to understand that 2017 will find creative ways to surprise us. Knowing the complexity of the market I want to break down what we can expect to see shape our buyers market for 2017 and also combine that with what Realtor.com annual market study to draw a picture of the key housing trends to come.

According to Jonathon Smoke, Chief Economists of Realtor.com, “The pace of growth is still strong and, for pricing, still represents an above-average level of appreciation.”

Key 2017 Predictions:

The West Will Lead the Way

Realtor.com expects metropolitan markets in the West to see price increase of up to 5.8% and sales increase of 4.7%. The Western markets also are dominating the 2017 Realtor.com Top Housing Markets, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, Tuscan and Portland.

Millennials and Baby-Boomers Will Move Markets

Both millennials and baby boomers are approaching life stages that naturally motivate people to change their living experiences such as, getting married, buying a home, having children, empty nesting and retiring. Jonathon Smoke predicts that millennials will make up 33% of buyers in 2017.

Slowing Down Price Appreciation

Home price increases are forecasted to slow from what was forecasted at 4.9% in 2016 to 3.9%. “Prices are still likely to go up at an above-average pace as long as supply remains so tight,” Smoke says.

Fast Markets with Fewer Homes

The average time it takes a home to move from “listed” to “sold”, is currently 68 days in the top 100 metropolitan areas. That average age of inventory (68 days) is 11 days faster than the national average. The conditions limiting home supply are not expected to change in 2017.

The number one thing I recommend for all my clients is to get your documents in order and lets talk about what the market is doing and when would be best for them to buy. Everyone’s timeline is different and making sure you feel comfortable with both what the market is doing and also what you want your financial future to looks like are always my top two priorities.

#Mortgages #Market #RealEstate #Lending #HomeOwnership #PriceAppreciation #Jumbo #FHA #VA #Conventional #Refinance #Millennials #BabyBoomers #2017 #Sacramento #BayArea #HomeBuyer #CreditScore #KathleenBeck #TrustedMortgageLender


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3 New Year Resolutions for Future Homeowners

As the holidays swirl and the New Year is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your new years resolutions. If buying a home is on your list of 2017 goals, it’s the right time to start creating resolutions that direct you to accomplishing that milestone of home ownership.

Here are some great New Years resolutions to focus on in 2017 to help make your goals a reality in the New Year.

Check and Raise Your Credit Score

Being familiar with your credit score and history is one of the biggest factors mortgage brokers and banks will look at when determining whether or not to lend to you. Starting with a free online credit report provider and analyzing your score is the beginning to finding ways to raise your current credit. If your credit score is lower than you’d like don’t panic. It is always a good time to start taking easy steps to improve your credit.

Tips to Raising Your Credit Score:

  • Pay your bills on time
  • Pay credit cards down to 1/3 of the high limit each of your credit cards
  • Pay off your credit balances every month

Organize the Documents Needed to Purchase a Home

Having the documents and forms need to complete the home buying and mortgage process can help your entire transaction run smoother and also help you get a better sense of where you stand in terms of loan qualifications.

Documents to Start Gather:

  • Tax returns for the past two years
  • W-2 income statements
  • Two most recent pay stubs
  • Most recent credit-card statements
  • Most recent bank and investment account statements
  • Divorce decrees and child support documents

Get a Pre-Approval

A pre-approval means a legitimate financial institution has looked into your financial background and determined what you qualify for, letting real estate brokers and sellers know that you’re the real deal. Regardless of where you stand on the map to homeownership, connecting with a trusted mortgage professional should be at the top. Understanding what steps are needed to get you from point A to point B can provide a sense of ease during this process. More importantly, knowing what your home buying budget is changes the entire buying experience and also gives you leverage to move forward if you do walk into the home of your dreams over the weekend.

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10 Rules For Today’s New Home Buyers

Over the past few decades the housing market has gone through a boom and a bust, followed by an insane decade of home-price escalation, wide-scale under-financing, and subprime lending. Today, many homebuyers are stepping into the real estate arena for the first time and they are wondering where they fall in the home buying “market” cycle.

Many clients ask me what advise or “rules” I give buyers based on my experience of the ever-changing market. Here are some rules for homebuyers looking to make the transition to homeowner.

  1. Research and learn about the area the home is in that you are interested in buying. Talk to the neighbors. You’re not just buying a house, you’re buying a neighborhood.
  2. Put down 20% of the purchase price if possible to avoid mortgage insurance.
  3. Keep extensive financial records, and be patient throughout the entire process.
  4. Don’t overpay for a house you can’t really afford expecting the market to appreciate.
  5. Less home can actually mean more money in your pockets.
  6. Actively manage your credit and shoot for a score above 750.
  7. Plan to stay in your home as long as possible.
  8. Budget for all the costs of homeownership not just the monthly mortgage payment. Calculate funds for property taxes, insurance, upkeep, and even emergency home repair)
  9. Feel out your job and the security you have within your role with the company. Also look into your companies industry and make sure you don’t foresee any fluctuation in the market industry that could alter your employment.
  10. Connect with a trusted lender and work patiently and closely with them to ensure your financially side of the transaction is not only inline for the success of your offer, but also for the success of your family’s financial future.

I am always available to help interested homebuyers learn more about where they stand financially and how they can transition smoothly into home ownership.

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