Is There a Magic Credit Score Number for Buying a House?

Is There a Magic Credit Score Number for Buying a House?

Once it’s time to buy a home, chances are you’ll need to get the funding through a mortgage loan. A house is not only one of the largest investments you can buy, owning one also comes with some risks. Houses can take a lot to maintain, and life changes, sometimes unexpectedly.

When asking a mortgage lender for a loan they need to find a way to help balance out the risks of loaning a large sum of money to an individual. Home buyers who are deemed “Credit Worthy” show a strong ability towards managing their money and keeping accounts in good standing. This is a large part of what makes you credit worthy in the eyes of a lender.

Is There a Magic Credit Score Number for Buying a House?

So how do lenders know you’re credit worthy or not? One of the first places they’ll look is your credit report. Your score reveals a lot about how financially reliable you are, so the better your score, the better the loan you’ll be able to get. What does your credit score have to be to buy a house?

On average, most private lenders prefer to see scores from 620 on up. For a conventional loan you could say this is the magic number, but really, it’s just the beginning. Ultimately, the better your score the better your loan options will be. So, what if your score is below 620? If this is you, don’t count yourself out, organizations such as the FHA offer loan programs which you can get through your lender, that allow for a lower than stellar credit score. If you qualify along other basic parameters, such as income level, and current employment, owning a home with less than perfect credit is possible.

It’s still commendable and certainly recommended to strive for a better credit score before you buy a home if yours is on the lower end of the spectrum. If all other aspects apply, making an FHA loan still the ideal one for you, a higher credit score will get you better terms as credit scores also impact how much you pay for your loan in interest. This applies to conventional loans as well. The interest rate you’re offered by your lender is based in large part on your credit worthiness. A better score equals lower interest to pay, which in turn leads to a lower monthly mortgage, and possibly more home for less money out of pocket.

Before you get a loan get your credit report reviewed and corrected if needed. get the most from your credit score when buying a house. Contact us for a complementary credit score check and review. When it’s time to buy a home, work with a Realtor® who has a passion in helping their clients find solutions every step of the way. Get the conversation started with me today at 609-338-3773 or send me an e-mailThe Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty are ready to share their expertise and care for all your real estate needs.

Use a Mortgage Payment Calculator to Help Find Your Atlantic County, NJ Home

Mortgage Payment Calculator

When it’s time to buy a home, chances are you’ll need to find a lender and get a mortgage approved. It’s ideal to know ahead of time the maximum amount you’ll qualify for from your chosen lender. After you know how much of a loan you can get, and you begin house hunting, you’ll need to find out just how much a house will cost before you make an offer. So, how do you figure this out you may ask? This is where mortgage payment calculators come in.

When you can plan a budget before you buy a home you can save yourself a lot of time and potential money. By providing some basic information about a listing you’re interested in, with a mortgage payment calculator, you can get an estimate of the overall costs of a property, or several properties if you’re looking to compare.

Mortgage Payment Calculator for Atlantic County NJ

As an online resource, mortgage calculators can also give you an idea of what type of loan you may want to apply for. Through showing you variables, which impact mortgages such as interest rates and down payment amounts, you’ll be equipped to determine the best home loan budget for you. With the help of a mortgage payment calculator for buying a house in Atlantic County, NJ, you can get insight into what to expect, including taxes or HOA fees if they’re applicable.

As a home buyer, one of the best decisions you can make is to educate yourself about the process and how each step will affect you. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make; these are major financial and lifestyle decisions worth taking the time to understand so you can buy with confidence and be happy in your new home. When you utilize a tool such as a mortgage payment calculator you give yourself a valuable resource, knowledge.

Mortgage Calculator

You can find mortgage calculators through different lender and real estate sites, or check out the mortgage calculator below to begin. When it’s time to buy a home, work with a Realtor® who has a passion in helping their clients find solutions towards achieving their home dreams. Get the conversation started with Matt Haviland, give him a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mailThe Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty are here to help you find the right home from start to finish.

Free Mortgage Calculators

Do I need PMI on a First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage?

Recently we shared a post explaining what Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is. We covered different reasons a home buyer may need to pay for this insurance and why. If you’re planning to buy your first home soon, there’s a good chance you’ll be required to pay for it as part of your monthly mortgage payment. But even as a first-time home buyer, there are scenarios where you won’t need to take on this extra bill to own a home.

Do I need PMI on a First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage?

To recap, PMI is insurance which protects a lender’s risk in loaning money to someone for purposes of buying a home. The more money a lender funds, the greater the risk they bear in loosing out on their investment, should a homeowner find they are no longer able to pay their monthly mortgage payment.

As many first-time home buyers tend to seek out a larger loan-to-down payment ratio, they tend to fit into the higher-risk-end of funding parameters. When a loan ratio is greater than 80% of the purchase price for a property, lenders will want PMI included. Saving $20,000 to buy a $100,000 house is a challenge for most anyone. Lending institutions understand this, and by hedging their bets with an insurance policy to protect their risk, there are loan options available for qualifying buyers with less than 20% to put down.

If you happen to have the funds needed to meet or exceed the 20% marker, even as a first-time home buyer you won’t need to cover the cost of PMI. If you start saving at a young age and seek out various ways to invest and grow your money, it’s possible to reach the magical and elusive 20% goal for a down payment. But there are other ways you can get to this figure.

As a first-time home buyer there are a variety of programs available, including grants to help fund your down payment. If you’re enrolled in a 401k or retirement plan through work, there’s a strong chance you can borrow some funds to put towards the purchase of a home, and with fewer to no tax penalties, depending on your plan. Some adventurous home buyers have even been able to get a great down payment through crowdsourcing platforms like Go Fund Me.

If you’re not able to get the minimum 20% saved but are otherwise ready to buy a home, don’t let the idea of PMI hold you back. While the insurance may not cover you from loss, it will help you achieve your dream of buying your first home if you need a viable solution to get you there. The cost of PMI is usually a small percentage of your mortgage payment, and once your home’s value appreciates to where you own less than 80% of your loan, you can look into refinancing without Private Mortgage Insurance.

Whether you need PMI or not, when it’s time to buy a home, work with a Realtor® who has a passion in helping their clients find solutions towards achieving their home dreams. Get the conversation started with Matt Haviland, give him a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mailThe Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty are here to help you find the right home from start to finish.

How to Get a VA Home Loan

How to Get VA Home Loan

How to Get a VA Home Loan

One of the best benefits for military service men and women and their spouses, is the Federal VA home loan option. Owning a home is still the great American dream, and for our personnel who have served in any military branch, VA home loans can help make this dream a reality. What’s more, is that these loans can also be used by surviving spouses, giving the families of our fallen heroes a legacy in housing security.

While these home loans are funded through private lending companies, as an active duty soldier, reservist or veteran, the required parameters to get a loan are different compared to civilians. With a VA home loan down payments and private mortgage insurance aren’t required. This is a big boon to getting over one of the biggest expenses towards homeownership with no need to save thousands of dollars before you buy a house.

There are various types of VA loans available depending on your personal situation as a veteran. For example, disabled vets can apply for an Adapted Housing Grant which will help cover the costs of adapting an existing house or having one constructed to accommodate housing features as needed. Other benefits include different refinancing options to lower the interest rate on your current VA loan and property tax reduction and exemptions for applicable veterans, such as is offered through the New Jersey Dept. Military & Veteran Affairs.

How to Get VA Home LoanSo, how do you get a VA loan? The first place to begin is at the Federal VA website. Here, you can find the resources you need to check for eligibility requirements and what options may be applicable for you.  Once you determine which type of VA loan you want, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) form needs to be completed. You can access this form through the VA eBenefits site, or ask your chosen lender for the form. With your COE in hand you can work with your lender to complete the VA loan application process and get approved for funding.

With all the benefits available through a VA home loan, going through this bit of paperwork is worth the effort in achieving your home dreams. You can also review your options with your Realtor®. The agents at The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty understand all the options available for veterans and their families; we’re here to help every step of the way. Get the conversation started with Matt Haviland, give him a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mail.

What is PMI & Do I Need it to Buy a Home?

What is PMI & Do I Need it to Buy a Home

The world of real estate is full of acronyms. Those who work in the business get used to these ‘call letters’, and don’t often give them much thought. For someone who’s new to the home buying process, the various acronyms can be confusing if not simply overwhelming. Understanding key acronyms and basic definitions is an excellent way to gain the knowledge you need to help you buy with confidence. When it comes to mortgage funding, PMI is an acronym you may hear mentioned by lenders. You may have already asked yourself, “What is PMI, and do I need it to buy a home?”

What is PMI & Do I Need it to Buy a Home?

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance, and is often required for a home buyer to purchase alongside their mortgage if their down payment is below 20%. Whether your down payment is less than 20% because you just don’t have the cash, or you have a reserve but want to save it for home improvements after you move in, PMI allows for a lower down payment towards a house.

Typically, when you purchase an insurance policy, you do so to protect your family and property against loss due to damages. PMI works a bit differently. Mortgage lenders are taking on a risk by funding the purchase of a home. If circumstances arise where you can’t pay your mortgage, the lender faces losing a lot of money should the loan go into default.

To help lessen the risk on a property where more than 80% of the sale price is funded by a loan, PMI is required. While you the home buyer pay for this insurance, either as a separate policy payment or incorporated into your monthly mortgage bill, you won’t receive a benefit if a claim is filed. Your lender will. Essentially, PMI helps balance out the risk to loss ratio of a mortgage for the funding institution.

Even though the beneficiary of any claims would be the lender, there are benefits for buyers to get PMI as well. Namely, if you aren’t able to cover the standard 20% down payment, getting a PMI policy will help you get into a home of your own sooner than saving over the long term.

Many home owners also need to only carry PMI with their mortgage loan for a certain period of time. The key is to watch the market and keep appraised of your home’s value compared to your total mortgage loan amount. With appreciation, your home will rise in value. Once your loan to value ratio has shifted so you owe less than 80% of the property value, you can seek refinancing of your loan to do away with the PMI policy, and possibly get a better interest rate, effectively lowering your mortgage payment as well.

There are different types of PMI policies, each one catering to various needs and situations of the buyer and the lender. Learn more about this common element of mortgage funding with this article by Investopedia. Whether you need PMI or not, when it’s time to buy a home, work with a Realtor® who has a passion in helping their clients find solutions towards achieving their home dreams. Get the conversation started with Matt Haviland. Give him a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an emailThe Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty are here to help you find the right home from start to finish.

Down Payments for a Home – How Much do I Really Need?

One of the first questions asked when someone is planning to buy a home is, “How much do you have to put down to buy a house?” You may think the answer is a simple one, but this is not necessarily the case. The amount of a down payment needed depends on several factors and your own individual situation.

The first thing to consider is what type of mortgage loan you can qualify for. The type of loan will determine what the minimum requirement is for a down payment on a house. If you qualify for a first-time buyer loan program, chances are you will need a lower down payment, good news for those struggling to save for this major investment.

For qualified buyers through the FHA you can buy with a down payment as low as 3.5%, or possibly with a zero-down payment, but there’s a price. If you qualify for this option, you’ll be required to pay for mortgage insurance for a while. Mortgage insurance isn’t for you but for your lender to be able to recoup the losses should you not make your payments. A down payment helps lessen the overall principal amount of a loan. The higher your down payment, the lower the principal funding. The more principal funding a lender provides, the more money they’re putting at risk in a loan.

While you may not need a down payment through an FHA loan, your monthly mortgage payment will include the cost of mortgage insurance from which you won’t directly benefit. This can be a worthy trade-off if saving for a down payment is a challenge. And the good news is, you won’t have to pay for mortgage insurance for the duration of your loan. When there’s a suitable amount of equity built into your property, you can request a review to discontinue the insurance.

Military veterans and active personnel can qualify for a VA loan, which will waive the down payment completely if you don’t have the funds to put down. These loans are provided through various lenders but backed by the US Dept. of Veteran Affairs. As such, if you don’t have a down payment you won’t have to include mortgage insurance. If you or your spouse has been a part of the military, this is an option worth looking into.

So how much of a down payment do you have to have for a house if you don’t qualify for a special program loan? The standard answer is 20% of the sale price. For a $100,000 home, this would mean you need $20,000 for a down payment. This is a sizable sum which can be a challenge for even the savviest saver. If you don’t have the full 20% however, not all is lost. Some lenders are willing to go as low as 5%-10% for a down payment, provided you pay for mortgage insurance to help lessen the risk to the lender.

To help avoid this extra expense though, you may be able to achieve the 20% down payment through a grant. While most grants are geared towards lower incomes and first-time home buyers, there are options for those in-the-middle-income buyers as well.

Learn more about down payments with this Bank Rate article. If it’s time to buy a home, get the conversation started with Matt Haviland; give him a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mail. Matt and his team are passionate about helping their clients achieve their home dreams; The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty are here to help you find the right home from start to finish.

How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?

How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?

You’re ready to buy a home. You have stable employment, and make good money, so you should be able to easily get a loan, right? Not so fast. Lenders all use credit scores to help determine your ability to pay your debt before they take a risk on lending you money for a new home. Credit scores can vary from 300-850. That’s quite a range, so what should your credit score be to buy a house?

How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?

A credit score is calculated using a software program created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO. Understanding how your FICO score is used will help you understand the importance of a good score. Mortgage lenders use your score when determining your reliability towards making timely payments. This helps establish not only your approval or denial, but also what interest rate will be offered if approved.

According to Nerdwallet, excellent credit scores are considered to be 720 and up, and fair or “average credit” scores fall between 630-689. Credit scores falling below the average or fair range often result in the denial of credit to the borrower or credit offers at a much higher interest rate. Various things can impact your score, but most important is when you pay your bills, if they’re on time or not. Also, if you have a large number of late payment fees applied to your accounts or any of them in collections, your score will be lower.How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?

Credit scores are reported by three agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. All three agency reports are pulled by lenders to help determine your overall credit score. These scores usually vary slightly from one another. Lenders will use the median score to determine a borrower’s overall FICO score. For example, if your reports come back with a 680, 705, and 720, the lender will use 705 as the number to determine your eligibility as a borrower.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans require a minimum credit score of 580 to qualify for their 3.5% down payment option which is popular with first-time home buyers. You might be approved for an FHA loan with a score lower than 580 but the minimum down payment required will be 10% in those circumstances.

How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?Raising your score quickly can help you get approved for a loan or to get approved for a better interest rate. Even slight differences can greatly affect the rate you’re offered. According to payment history contributes 35% to your credit score. In order to avoid paying late payments, set-up auto payments or reminders for yourself so everything is paid on time. Reducing the amount of debt owed is important as well, though not as simple to change. Pull your credit report to determine where the highest interest is being charged and focus on paying off those accounts first for the greatest impact. When reviewing your credit report make sure it is accurate. Dispute any discrepancies for debt you don’t owe or that you’ve already paid. If you make these changes you should see your score start improving each month.

Matt Haviland with The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty offers a complimentary credit score check and credit evaluation by filling out this form on the Mortgage Help page or their website. Complete the form for your evaluation today. If you would like more information, please give Matt a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mail. When you’re ready to buy your first home, Matt and his team are here to help from start to finish.

Grocery Store For Sale

Pleasantville NJ Grocery Store Business For Sale

Investment Business For Sale

Do you know anyone who would like to own their own Grocery Store?   This 7,000 square foot specialty grocery store is available for sale.  The store specializes in south asian cuisine.  The store currently brings in about $85,000 a month in income.  All fixtures and equipment are included.  High traffic location and centrally located.  Contact me for more details.

The Good Life Goes on After 55 in The Village Grande at English Mill

Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey's best 55 and over community.

If you’re approaching retirement and looking to enjoy the good life with more time for your active lifestyle, you’ll want to check out The Village Grande at English Mill. Located in Egg Harbor Township, this adult only, 55+ community has it all, from finely appointed homes to community amenities and events throughout the year; there’s always something going on at The Village Grande.

Originally built between 2006-2017, there are six different floorplans, with each property boasting its own upgrades and features which were available at the time of construction. As a premier, developed community, home features may include security and high-tech options, extended patios, screened-in porches and year-round sunrooms. All properties have at least 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a 2-car garage. These single-family homes range from 1,558- 2,261 square feet on one or two levels.

The Village Grande at English Mill is six miles from I-76, about an hour drive to the Philadelphia International Airport, making the location ideal for anyone who loves to travel or has frequent visitors, but also wants to live outside a major metro area. The Village Grande is conveniently located near a wide variety of entertainment and activities, such as New Jersey beaches, casinos, and theme parks. Other exciting attractions are just a short drive away in nearby Atlantic City and Ocean City. Everyday needs and local fun are easily found in Egg Harbor Township as well. Convenience is just one reason The Village Grande is the perfect place for active adults to call home.

With countless amenities featured, there’s something for everyone at The Village Grande at English Mill. The Grande Club is a 10,000 square foot clubhouse which is the center of community life, including public and private events. The Club has a beautiful ballroom for any special occasion; residents can take full advantage of the facilities to celebrate that special birthday or anniversary.

In addition to space for events, the Grande Club features a fitness center with an indoor lap pool for year-round exercise, plus two saunas and locker rooms. Other amenities include meeting rooms, a lounge and catering kitchen, two card rooms, an arts and crafts studio, library, and billiards room. There’s also an outdoor pool with a sun deck open for seasonal use. Beyond swimming, residents enjoy the use of two tennis courts, two bocce ball courts, and a putting green. Add in scenic walking trails around two beautiful ponds, and you can see just how good life is at The Village Grande.

There’s never a shortage of ideas for what to do next at The Village Grande at English Mill. For those who enjoy the socializing offered by a 55-plus community, there are a number of interesting ways to connect and have a great time with your neighbors. Holiday celebrations are always big events with breakfasts, dinners, and parties inspired by the 4th of July, Halloween, Grandparent’s Day and more.

Sports-minded residents can enjoy fishing, cycling, jogging and tennis clubs. Keep your mind and your body active and intrigued with the walking or travel club, or mornings with Thai Chi and water aerobics. For hobbyists, there’s a selection of clubs and regularly scheduled activities to choose from. Take your pick of arts & crafts, computers, book clubs and gardening, just to name a few.

You’re also free to enjoy purely social clubs like Dine Around, the Women’s Club and a Veterans Club. Join tea parties, day trips around the region and a variety of different card and game nights – Pinochle or Canasta anyone? There’s something for everyone – maybe you’ll find something new to enjoy! Check out the full list of clubs and active lifestyle groups for what may spark your interest.

The different home models in The Village Grande range in floor plan and square footage. Two of the original model plans, the Deerfield and Eden, are properties with an extra room, ideal for a den or guest space. If you’re looking for more room, you’ll want to watch for these properties to come on the market. These properties are also priced in the mid-range of the market. Whether you want a single story or two-level home or are seeking a listing with some extra bells and whistles from when The Village Grande and English Mill first came available, you’ll want to work with an agent who knows the community. Matt Haviland has been working with buyers and sellers in this 55+ community for many years now and is familiar with the different floor plans and special features you may be looking for. If you like this community, you’ll also want to take a look at The Village Grande at Little Mill which boasts the same great floor plans and amenities in Egg Harbor Township.

For more information on The Village Grande at English Mill or its sister property The Village Grande at Little Mill and living in Egg Harbor Township, call Matt Haviland with The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty today at 609-338-3773 or via e-mail to find out how he can help you.




Can I Buy a House in Atlantic County with No Money Down?

Atlantic County Real Estate

Many people continue to rent for fear of the unknowns of home buying. We’ve shared some information on several great programs for first-time home buyers in our last post. But what if you don’t have a down payment? There are some programs which allow no money down, but certain criteria must be met.

Can I buy a house in Atlantic County with no money down?

USDA Loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These loans are also known as rural housing or rural development loans as they provide help with the purchase of houses located in certain rural areas and include zero down payment mortgage options for borrowers who qualify. Criteria for qualification includes household income, number of people living in the home and other factors such as approval of the property you are purchasing by area and size among other parameters.

USDA offers a helpful tool on their website to easily calculate the numbers you enter to determine your eligibility. Two types of single-family home loans are available with USDA, Single-Family Direct Home Loans and Single-Family Guaranteed Loans. Both programs have specific requirements for potential buyers which are outlined on the website. You can also search an address for eligibility to determine if a property in a small town or rural area of Atlantic County is covered. For example, just south of Egg Harbor, Corbin City is an area where there may be eligible homes due to its rural designation.

VA Loans programs assist active military members and veterans through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These loan programs don’t require private mortgage insurance and they have no down payment mortgage options. While these loan programs are provided by private lenders and mortgage companies, the VA guarantees a portion of the loans to get the borrowers the best rates possible. This program is also available to surviving spouses of military personnel and veterans as well.

Can I buy a house in Atlantic County with no money down?The New Jersey HomeSeeker Program now offers $10,000 down payment assistance grants for residents of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Passaic and Union Counties. This grant is available for first-time homebuyers who qualify and obtain first mortgage financing through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency’s (NJHMFA) Homeward Bound mortgage program. Contact our office to see if you qualify.

For more information on no down payment mortgage options, check out this information from Investopedia.  As always, Matt Haviland with The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty offers free consultation for first-time homebuyers. Contact Matt today at 609-338-3773 or via e-mail to find out how he can help you.