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Shifting Mortgage Loan Products

July 2nd, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had many affects on the mortgage lending industry, but these are not unfamiliar adjustments. The industry had experienced similar overnight changes during early 2008. The difference this time is not a housing bubble, but a global health crisis.

COVID-19 caused immediate layoffs and slowing of the economy requiring mortgage lenders to quickly adjust with lending restrictions, additional verifications and even suspending some products.  This shift in mortgage loan products is to avoid the risk of  payment defaults.  Mortgages that are considered a higher risk are what has seen the most restriction.  These are changes that have been made across all states and the industry as a whole. We anticipate that many of these changes will be short-lived,  but there is no set end date. Changes can happen rapidly, without notice, so we are here to guide you through this shift in the market.

We share this insight with you, not to alarm you, but keep you informed and able to navigate this unique environment with the power knowledge.

  

Where has there been the largest shift?

Increased credit score requirements to 640:  Mortgage markets have shifted to more conservative loans to avoid delinquency is focused heavily on credit score.  Previously, credit scores as low as 581 where allowed on government loans (FHA, VA & RD).  In our current environment the minimum has been set at 620, with most companies moving to 640 and some banks as high as 660.  

The shift in credit score requirements has reduced the number of consumers who qualify, but that makes it more important then ever to understand credit.  We are often able to provide valuable knowledge that can assist in not just a better understanding of how credit scores work, but also provide a path to improving your credit to qualify for a home mortgage. 

Affect on a Home Purchase

Home Purchases continue with the new “normal”:  The new normal includes taking advantage of all the technology that is available to us; phone apps, zoom meetings, secured portals  and digital signatures.   In person meetings are still possible with masks and social distancing.   

The other affect on home purchases is the major rush of buyers to the market.  The spring market was held back with the onset of COVID-19 now all those buyers are joining in the summer market.  This is still a heavy sellers market with homes being sold over list price with multiple offers.   This is not something to be discouraged about, but you do need to be pre-pared and educated on how to strategically deal with this unique market.    (Read More on Purchasing during COVID-19)


Affect on a Home Refinance

Adjustments on Cash-Out Refinances:  Mortgage Refinance numbers continue to surge with interest rates remaining at all time lows.  Other than the change in credit score requirements the primary affect on refinances has been to those wanting cash-out.   The more conservative market has put adjustments on cash-out mortgage transactions, as they can be seen as a higher risk product.  This makes the interest rates on a cash-out mortgages higher than a traditional rate and term mortgage.  Interest rates for cash-out are still very low, but may not seam as attractive as advertised rate and term options.

 

 

 


Buying a Home During COVID-19

April 22nd, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

We are living through challenging times that will one day be found in history books throughout the world.  In Michigan, the Stay at Home Order was just lifted on June 1st.  This order caused non-essential workers to be home more then ever before and many are realizing their current space is too small, their layout is not functional, there is not enough storage, they are sick of paying their landlord or listening to their neighbors through paper-thin walls to name a few complaints.  So, why not use this extra time to look at buying a house that will bring some joy back to being at home?

There is no better time to start looking at options for purchasing a new home, but is it possible to buy a home right now?

Some general facts you need to know before getting started in the home buying process during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • You must be willing to embrace technology.
  • Mortgage Lenders are considered essential and are closing mortgage loans every week for purchases as well as refinances.
  • Every individual situation must be evaluated as there is not a one-size-fits-all option.
  • It is OK to get started by creating a home buying plan, but NOT purchase right away if you are uncomfortable with current conditions. Your safety and confidence are of utmost concern when purchasing a home.

Read the rest of this entry »


Real Talk on Mortgage Forbearance

April 10th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

These are trying times with many Americans facing illness, mental and emotional fears topped off with financial pressures.  It is important to have a clear understanding about Mortgage Forbearance before making decisions.

 Mortgage Forbearance IS NOT Forgiveness

The Care Act has been passed by the government to all for “Federally Backed Mortgages” to request a forbearance on their mortgage payments for up to 6 months, depending on the individual situation.  So what is a forbearance?  A forbearance is an agreement with your mortgage servicer to reduce or delay regular payments for a set period of time.  When the forbearance period ends payments will be due as agreed upon in the forbearance agreement.

For those in a position where you have no ability to pay your mortgage a mortgage forbearance could be exactly what you need to keep your home and manage through this crisis.  It is imperative to explore ALL other alternatives as this IS NOT a handout from the federal government.

The process for which forbear mortgage payments will be made up is going to depend upon the mortgage servicer and their policies.  In some instances once the 6 months are up the next payment will be due as usual as well as ALL 6 payments that were put into the Forbearance.

If you are in a situation where payments will be missed and need help, contact your mortgage servicer because you must request forbearance; it is not automatic.  Make sure to do the following:

  1. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING- Services will have some form of their policy that can be emailed to you direct or through their online portal.  Read this in it’s entirety, understand it and keep a copy.
  2. SEEK TO UNDERSTAND & BE PATIENT- You may need to make multiple calls and remain on long holds but you need to have a clear understanding of all your options.  If you call get someone who is not helpful, call back until you do.
  3. KNOW IF THERE ARE OTHER OPTIONS BEFORE FORBEARING PAYMENTS- The most important thing you need to understand are what your options are at the END of the forbearance.  Can payments be added to your principal balance?  Is a loan modification possible, if so what does that look like?  How will the forbearance be reported to the credit bureaus?  Will there be a lump sum required to pay back the forbear payments?  How long can you extend the forbearance period?
  4. SEEK OUT A LOCAL HUD APPROVED HOUSING COUNSELOR- These counselors are here to help you navigate some of the tough choices that may lay ahead.  This link will assist you in finding a local counselor near you: HUD APPROVED COUNSELOR
  5. TALK TO A TRUSTED MORTGAGE ADVISER- This is what we are here for!  Let us know what you are dealing with and we will help to trouble shoot your situation and provide the best advice on next steps.  We are all in this together and as a lending community we want what is best for you as a homeowner.  Calling us won’t cost you anything and our guidance is always provided as though you are out family.  This is the least we can do during these trying times.

An IMPORTANT Note if you enter into a Forbearance:

  • You will want to monitor our credit report to catch any potential errors as changes in forbearance reporting may not be seamless with the credit bureaus.  While in forbearance your credit should not be negatively impacted.

  Other Great Resources:

CFPB Guide on Corona Virus 

CFPB Video

Q&A Resource from the US House Committee


Policies are changing daily as these situations play out.  We will continue to update this post as more information or options become available.  We cannot help you with forbearance agreements directly, but are here if you have questions or need further guidance.


We’re Here For You

March 19th, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

During these uncertain times, Inlanta Mortgage is here for you.

Like so many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about COVID-19 and how it is impacting our world. For Inlanta Mortgage, that means understanding how it affects our customers, referral partners, employees and communities, and then making the necessary adjustments to our day-to-day operations.

With the state-mandated shut-down of businesses, we want to assure you that Inlanta Mortgage will remain fully operational and working on your loans as we are included in the list of essential businesses providing banking and financial services.

We have taken proactive steps to put your safety as our highest priority, while maintaining the high productivity of our business operations. We are committed to providing you with the same high level of service, and continuing to close loans as we always have – on time and without surprises.

With that in mind, we have made several adjustments to our business:

  • Our Ada office is closed with employees working from their home offices.
  • We continue to assist clients and partners via phone, email, chat, our IMhome app or an online meeting. We are prepared and able to operate as we always have in order to keep all loans on track.
  • We have canceled all large meetings, as well as our community events and seminars, in an effort to do what we can to help prevent the spread of the illness.
  • We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to respond as necessary to keep everyone safe.

We are grateful to have some of the best technology available to keep things moving without interruption.

We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we thank you for your trust and continued loyalty.


Download Our IMhome App


For additional information about COVID-19 and actions you can take to help protect yourself, please visit a trusted resource such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

 

 


Refinancing Traps to Watch Out For

February 1st, 2020 by Inlanta Staff

Refinancing can be tricky, but a little preparation before starting the process can help you to avoid mishaps along the way. Here are some common traps that you many run into while refinancing your home and tips to avoid falling for them.

The automatic payment trap

Did you know it can take up to two weeks to have automatic payments canceled? If your payments are made this way, be sure to turn it off before closing. You don’t want to pay for the same month twice!

The missed or late payment trap

Believe it or not, lots of people think they don’t have to keep making payments once they apply to refinance. Missing a payment could damage your credit and even preclude closing. Just be careful regarding your very last payment, as it should be made in time to assure it’s credited toward your payoff balance.

The tax escrow trap

The funds in any existing escrow account will typically be held until after the current loan is paid off. Since this money will not be available at closing, you need to be able to establish a new escrow account and/or pay any upcoming taxes from savings or the new loan proceeds.

The insufficient funds trap

The tax escrow trap can contribute to this, and so, too, can many other factors. For example, a low appraised value could limit your loan amount. As many loans are set up to cover all closing and escrow funds, it’s important to know that any necessary or unexpected adjustment could change the cash to close requirements accordingly.

We want you to be aware of these potential pitfalls before they have a chance to occur. Of course, we will work with you and on your behalf to prevent and avoid them. If you’re looking to refinance, or are already going through the process, feel free to Contact Us! We’re always happy to help.

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5 Questions to Ask your Bank BEFORE applying for a mortgage

September 9th, 2018 by Ima Admin

Make sure to ask your bank these 5 questions before applying for a mortgage.  We know the many great services they offer, but we specialize ONLY in mortgages, which gives you an upper hand.

#1: Will I be pre-approved or pre-qualified?

As we’ve stated in this previous article, being pre-approved and pre-qualified are two different things and the latter doesn’t have any value when the rubber hits the road. The purpose of a pre-qualification is to give a general idea of what to expect, but nothing is concrete until the more in-depth analysis of the pre-approval process. At Inlanta, we do a lot of the legwork during this step to give you more buying power when it comes time to make an offer.

#2: What does your loan process look like from beginning to end?

Since we are doing an in-depth analysis of your financials upfront the loan process moves smoother and quicker.  With your income and assets evaluated from the beginning we are able to streamline the mortgage process and get your loan into our processor right away and on to underwriting.  During the underwriting stage you will most likely be requested for a few clarifying documents to complete the process.  The underwriter may also request some updates to the appraisal report and purchase agreement.  This is done just to make sure everything matches exactly.

You are looking for a mortgage loan process that is smooth and flows cohesively.  Many times the person you originally speak to has no control on what the process looks like or what is happening.  That can be frustrating for all involved.

Learn More About Inlanta’s Loan Process

#3: How long does it take to close my loan?

This is a much bigger question than it appears.  We will start of with the standard answer; most mortgage transactions take 30-45 days.  There are an overwhelming number of variables that can cut this time frame down to 10 days but also as many that could extend the loan to more than 45 days.

Generally speaking, Inlanta closes mortgage transactions in 20 days.  The reason why we are able to close faster is because of our upfront work to truly pre-approve our clients as well as Inlanta’s commitment to work off of your purchase contract date.  We will try to do what is needed to get you to the closing table on your agreed upon date.  This does take your cooperation to provide all the documentation and paperwork that is requested by the deadlines given to keep everything on track.

#4: Do you use an appraisal management company?

This seems like a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an important question to ask.  All appraisals are not created equal.  An appraisal management company is a third party who has a large number of appraisers signed up to work for them as contractors to insure they are not unduly influenced by the mortgage lender.  These appraisers have to do more appraisals to earn the same amount of money and many times will accept orders outside of their area of familiarity.

There is an additional option to have a separate internal appraisal desk that manages the ordering of appraisals to ensure the appraisers are local and complete a thorough report. The biggest benefit of using a local appraiser rather than an outsourced one is that he or she will have first-hand knowledge about the area and neighborhood.  Additionally, the appraisers can be vetted more thoroughly.

If you want to get a better idea on what an appraisal management company is and how it came about; read this from NAR:  NAR Issue Brief: Appraisal Management Company Q&A

#5: How and when will I be communicated with?

You will be communicated with every step of the way. The mortgage process is complicated, but having all parties involved work together as a team will keep it from being difficult. Keeping everyone in the loop, whether it’s by phone, email, or text, is key to achieving this, and rest assured that Inlanta Mortgage Grand Rapids will do our part to make sure everyone involved is on the same page.

 

Already have a pre-approval?  Take a minute to check your quote.



3 Tips for Choosing the Right REALTOR and Best Mortgage Lender

August 16th, 2018 by Inlanta Staff

Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions of most people’s lives.  When the right REALTOR and Best Mortgage Lender are chosen the process becomes much smoother and you experience a “dream team”.  This team will be one you can trust with not only your financial information but more importantly, they will educate and guide you through the ins and outs of the home buying process.

The mission of the Inlanta Mortgage is to be the Best Mortgage Lender that you trust to not only take care of your home financing but also your family, friends, and community.  Our Ada, MI team prides themselves on being well connected with many REALTORs across Michigan to provide seamless service to all involved.

When choosing your “Dream Team” consider the following 3 Tips:

  1. Experience is invaluable, but not everything.  You want to have a team that works with you as much as for you.  Choose a team that is real and that you can relate to.  You will be spending quite a bit of time with your REALTOR and your Mortgage Lender must be relatable with your best interest at heart.
  2. Passion will make the difference.  Passion for not only real estate, but also you as their client can be the difference between your transaction being successful or not.  You want your REALTOR to tell you honestly what their professional opinion is with your long-term goals top of mind.  Furthermore, you want a Mortgage Lender that will go out of their way to assist in getting your offer accepted and communicate consistently with all parties.  You want to hear the passion in their voices!
  3.  Support makes for a seamless process.  Everyone will tell you that there is nothing simple about buying a home.  Once you find the perfect house and get your offer accepted, it will feel like the mortgage company wants everything short of a blood test 🙂 But, if you are working with a REALTOR and Mortgage Lender who have adequate support and knowledge the process can move along without anyone missing a beat.  In the best situation, each member is focused on what they do best and control of your transaction is in the hands of your Loan Originator to ensure you close on time without issues.

Let us Help You Put Together Your Dream Team.  Who can we connect you with?


REALTOR to Purchase a HomeREALTOR to Sell my HomeInsurance AgentFinancial Advisor

 


Tax Time Down Payment

February 5th, 2018 by Inlanta Staff

Should you be using your Tax Refund for your Down Payment on a new Home?

In preparation for purchasing a home saving for the down payment can be the most challenging piece to the puzzle. Typically there is some sort of down payment or out of pocket expense for the home buyer. The average down payment is 3.5% – 5% of the purchase price of the home.  This makes tax time the perfect opportunity to maximize available funds for the down payment on a new home.

An IRS tax refund is a great, acceptable source for a down payment on a new home.  Even a small refund may be enough to provide you with an ideal amount toward a down payment.  The first step would be to begin the mortgage pre-approval process by either applying online, downloading our phone app to apply or simply give us a call: (616) 918-6564.  You can begin with the pre-approval right away, even before your tax return has been filed.

Being pre-approved will give you the insight to how much home you can afford as well as how much of a down payment will be required based on the best mortgage product for you.  There is not a “one-size fits all” solution, your personal situation must be taken in to account to be provided with the most suitable options.

Yes, NOW is the best time to use your Tax Refund towards a Down Payment.

Monthly mortgage payments can cost less than renting an apartment or house and your payments, as well as any improvements to the home, are building your equity, not your landlord’s.  More importantly, it is ideal to purchase a home now because there is less competition, sellers are motivated to sell, interest rates are still low (though interest rates are projected to increase throughout the year) and you can close quickly, before the spring market.


Inlanta Mortgage – #1 Independent Mortgage Broker in WI

January 18th, 2018 by Ima Admin

number 1 mortgage lender grand rapids mi depicted by charts and world

The Inlanta Grand Rapids Mortgage team is proud to share the news that its parent company, Inlanta Mortgage WI, has been named the #1 Independent Mortgage broker in Wisconsin, where the company is headquartered.

“Our team is delighted to celebrate Inlanta’s 25th Anniversary with the news that our parent company closed the highest number of loans in its home state,” said Grand Rapids Inlanta Mortgage branch manager Jonathan Arnold. “The news comes amidst our local growth in the Grand Rapids market as a premier independent mortgage company. It’s my personal mission to become the go-to lender for Michiganders.”

As an independent mortgage banker, Inlanta offers a larger variety of loan options such as VA, USDA, and FHA, than is typically offered by most lenders. The Grand Rapids Inlanta team is also able to serve the entire state of Michigan, including underserved rural markets whereas many lenders only focus on the larger loan amounts in bigger metro areas.

About Inlanta Mortgage

Headquartered in Pewaukee, WI, Inlanta Mortgage was established in 1993. The company has grown to over 40 branches in 20 states and over 250 employees. Inlanta Mortgage’s mission is to be the home financing partner that you trust to serve your family, friends, and community. Their team of dedicated mortgage professionals is committed to delivering an exceptional experience using honest and ethical lending practices.
Inlanta Mortgage was named a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplace in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Inlanta has been consistently recognized as one of the “50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For” by Mortgage Executive Magazine and one of the country’s “Top Mortgage Employers” by National Mortgage Professional.

Grand Rapids Mortgage Branch

Locally, Inlanta branch manager Jonathan Arnold has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Michigan Mortgage Lenders Association and was named top producer of all Inlanta branches for the third year in a row last year. Arnold’s teammate, Katrina Cole, was also acknowledged as a “40 Under 40” to watch by the MMLA, for which she serves as President of the West Chapter. Arnold is regularly called upon to share his expertise in the Grand Rapids residential real estate market for investors and homeowners who want to navigate the burgeoning real estate market.

For a jump on the spring market, download this Grand Rapids Real Estate Buyers Guide:

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5 Reasons You Should Purchase Your Home Over the Holidays

November 13th, 2017 by Inlanta Staff

1. Less Competition

The holidays are a busy time and combine that with the ever-changing cool Michigan weather and you will find less Real Estate transactions taking place.  The advantage of fewer people shopping for a home is less competition and multiple offer situations.  For an upper hand make sure to get a copy of Inlanta’s 5 Secrets to Winning in a Tight Real Estate Market.

 

2. Sellers Are Motivated

People who are selling their home during the holidays tend to be more motivated.  If the home has been on the market for some time prior to the holidays they may be even more eager to sell.  Use this urgency to your advantage to negotiate a fair offer with the sellers.

3. Interest Rates

Interest Rates remain low making owning your dream home more affordable than rent! Interest rates fluctuate daily and long-term projections are mixed, so it is best to take advantage of these rates now. To give you an idea, on average a one percentage point increase in interest rates can reduce your overall purchasing power by eleven percent.  Make sure you know all your mortgage options and how to choose the best mortgage.

4. Streamline Closings

With the end of the year in sight, everyone is looking to get things wrapped up quickly. There are fewer transactions during the holidays leaving a perfect window of opportunity to close on your purchase as soon as possible.  The mortgage process does not have to be complicated; take a look at our 10 Step Guide to the Mortgage Process.

5. Potential Tax Advantages

At this time if you itemize your taxes you may be able to deduct points, property tax, and mortgage interest. This advantage varies depending upon any other deductions you may have for the year. As you may know, there are many discussions on tax changes that may be coming, so we always advise that you consult with a tax professional to know how a home purchase can benefit you.

So what does all this really mean to you?

If you are looking to purchase a home over the holidays the homes that are for sale have motivated sellers, there are fewer buyers to compete with, interest rates are still great and you should be able to close your loan quickly; potentially with tax advantages.  So what are you waiting for?  Get Started Today