Frequently Asked Questions
Shouldn’t I go through a bank for my mortgage?
The decision on where you seek financing is yours to make. Banks traditionally are conservative in their lending decisions, and since banks have many lines of business, the process usually takes longer than with a mortgage banker. We typically have more mortgage products and can advise you on which products best fit your financial situation and financing needs. Since mortgages are our only business, we are focused on completing your mortgage transaction and meeting all the timeframes that are stipulated in your sales contract.
What’s the difference between MEP and a bank?
MEP’s sole focus is originating and closing mortgages. Banks typically have many different lines of business. We are experts in home financing and have an origination and operations staff whose average tenure in the mortgage business exceeds 20 years. We know how to structure your deal, present different options, and guide you through the process.
How Long is the Pre-Qualification good for?
Pre-qualifications and Pre-Approvals are typically good for 90 days. After 90 days, a new credit report must be run, and you would need to be “requalified” with current documentation.
Do you have any down payment money programs?
Yes, we offer several down payment assistance programs. Most states have a state housing organization that offers these types of programs like MassHousing, ME Housing, NH Housing, Florida Bond Program, GA Dream Homeownership Program, SC Housing, and NC Housing. Additionally, there are grant programs available through private and public sources such as towns and cities. Most down payment assistance programs have income limits associated with qualification for the assistance.
Do you have first-time homebuyer programs?
Yes, we offer many options for first-time homebuyers, including state programs like MassHousing, MaineHousing, New Hampshire Housing, Florida Housing, GA Dream Homeownership Program, SC Housing, and NC Housing. We also have a three percent down conventional program for first-time homebuyers. If you live in a rural area, you could get a USDA Loan which allows for 100% financing. If you are a Veteran, you can get a VA loan which has 100% financing as well.
Do you have any credit TIPS?
Always pay your bills on time! One late payment on a small charge card with a $25 minimum payment that is 30 days late can dramatically affect your credit score. Minimize the number of inquiries by not applying for multiple new loans or lines of credit. Keep your credit balances on any revolving accounts at 50% or less of the limit on the card and never go over your credit limit on the card as this adversely affects your score. If you have collection accounts or judgments, get them paid before your credit being pulled by your loan officer. Additionally, any disputes or credit freezes need to be removed when applying for your mortgage.
Why is there so much paperwork involved in getting a mortgage? Last time it was so much easier!
Financing a home can be an arduous process. The government has set new guidelines to make sure the lender determines beyond any doubt that you are capable of making your mortgage payments. Our responsibility as a lender is to evaluate your qualification for the mortgage for which you have applied. Many lenders over the last several years were required to take over responsibility for homes that were sold on short sale or sent into foreclosure. No one wants more foreclosures. Now lenders have to double check everything on the application.
What happens if I lock the rate and they go down?
Locking a loan protects you from market movement either up or down. We know that if rates are falling, you are hoping to be able to take advantage of the market improvement. For loans locked in process, the loan must meet certain minimum changes in market rates. If there was a significant market movement then before receipt of your closing disclosure, you could request consideration for a rate renegotiation.
Do you offer a float down option?
We have a float down option with our Lock to Shop program where you can lock in the interest rate for 90 days while searching for your new home and have a one-time float down option when you enter into your sales contract. For loans locked in process and not part of the Lock to Shop program, the loan must meet certain minimum changes in market rates. Before receipt of your closing disclosure, you can request consideration for a rate renegotiation.
Do I have to have an appraisal?
In most cases, yes and an appraisal can only be done by a licensed appraiser. The purpose of the appraisal is to confirm the actual market value of a property.
Why do I need an appraisal if I just had an inspection?
An inspection evaluates the mechanics and structure of the home. An appraisal compares the property to similar recent sales in the area to determine the market value of the home.
What are your closing costs?
Closing costs vary some by state and loan amount. The closing costs typically consist of an origination charge, documentation fees such as the credit report, appraisal, title insurance, settlement charges, recording fees, transfer taxes or deed stamps in some states, prepaid interest and then initial deposits for insurance and taxes into your escrow account.
How much are closing costs?
Closing costs vary by state and loan program. The closing costs on your mortgage may include fees for the application, credit report, appraisal, settlement agent, title insurance, recording fees, points, homeowners insurance, transfer taxes depending on the state in which the property is located, and other fees specific to the transaction. Also, there may be prepaid fees for interest, tax, and insurance escrows. Closing costs vary by state but are generally 2% to 3% of the loan amount plus the escrow for taxes and insurance.
How quickly can you close?
MEP generally closes loans within 30 days, but a lot depends on the specifics of the transaction and how quickly the appraisal is done and if all requested paperwork from you is submitted. We have closed some loans in days, but other more complicated transactions can take longer.
Can we use our own attorney for the closing?
We advise that the loan be closed by a settlement agent that specializes in closing real estate transactions. If your attorney is a real estate attorney in many cases, we can accept them as the settlement agent. This can also vary slightly by the state; for example, in Florida, title companies and attorneys handle closings. In other states attorneys must be present for closings and take an active role in the transaction both before and after the closing.
Do you “sell” your mortgages?
Yes, we sell our mortgages to Fannie Mae or other investors. Your loan will then be serviced either by Mortgage Equity Partners or the end investor.