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Insider Mortgage Tips: An Interview with Cameron Bishop of RANLife Home Loans

By Cameron Bishop

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

RANLife is a national lender that focus on building communities. We keep and service a lot of our loans not only providing the lending for your home but also building a long term relationship with each homebuyer. We focus on creating customers, for life.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We offer all loan types including Conventional, FHA, USDA, VA, 1st time homebuyer programs, reverse mortgages, cash out refinances etc.

How important is it to document my finances?

Very important. Underwriting looks at budgeting and overdrafts can effect outcomes of loans. It your documenting your finances, chances are your credit is better and you will be able to provided needed documentation for either your income or any debts that are in question.

How do I know if it is a good time to refinance? Is it a good time presently?

It's a great time presently. Rates have been lower than in recent months. We are still in the 4's and on some programs you can get into the 3's. Historically speaking this is still record lows. Most analysts expect things to raise in the near future. At some point they will have to go back up. Take advantage now.

What are some bargaining tips I can use when shopping for mortgage lenders?

Two things you should focus on are the total monthly payments and the service. One common mistake is focusing on rate. It's not about the rate, it's about the loan program. It's very possible to have a lower interest rate and a higher payment. MIP is a big factor in your total payments. Sometimes the best rates have the highest mortgage insurance. At the end of the day, it's about what you pay for your house. People associate a lower rate with a lower payment but it's not always the case. A rate is just one of the factors to lower the payment. Compare the total payments, not the rate.

The other is the service. What most people don't realize is that the sellers of the home pay for your lending fee's. It's typical that they pay roughly 3% in closing costs. So many buyers focus on the costs of a lender, but as these fee's are covered anyway they should really look at service. How fast your lender is can save you allot of headache in moving costs, stress and logistics and even allot of costly rate lock extension fee's. A quick lender is worth their weight in gold.

What are some of my rights as a borrower? How can I use these to my advantage?

There many rights you have as a buyer but a key one is the right to review your final settlement statement 24 hours before closing. If you ask for this, your lender must give you 24 hours to review it. It's helpful to see all the fee's and your bottom line and review it prior to marching into the signing. If there are any issues you can talk about them in advance. Too many feel rushed at the very end of the process and there is no need for this if they understood this rule.

Why are many people reconsidering FHA loans? What programs should I consider instead?

FHA has raised the cost of their monthly mortgage insurance premiums. Conventional loans require an extra 1.5% in down payment (5% compared to FHA's 3.5%) but they also do not charge you the 1.75% that FHA does for thier funding fee. Essentially if you don't come up with the extra down payment FHA will charge you that and then some. Many people are seeing how saving the 1.5% can not only put them in a better equity position but the monthly payment is cheaper due to the lower loan amount and the monthly MIP costs. It's well worth the extra down payment. For those with good credit there are also options to get rid of the monthly MIP costs with a conventional loan, without putting down the 20%! With FHA their monthly MIP premiums remain for the life of the loan with their 30 year fixed loans.

What are some of my options if I have poor credit?

Ranlife will give you a credit repair plan. We also have a loan program that will allow one borrower to have a 580 fico score. For many lenders 640 is the lowest they can go. Currently we offer all loans with a 620 limit and have some exceptions to go down to 580 for one borrower.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

My direct office line is 801-478-4526 and my email is cameronb@ranlife.com . Please feel free to call with questions about your situation and potential options for you or your family.

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