February 12, 2018, 9:37 AM
The days of exceptionally low interest rates are likely behind us. Mortgage interest rates have gone up, and industry experts agree that they'll continue to rise. The U.S.Federal Reserve anticipates several rate hikes by the end of 2018.
The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has recently increased two basis points to 4.2%. The Federal Reserve elected to raise interest rates once again in December 2017 and has indicated that there could be more rate hikes on the way in 2018. Since the timing of interest rate hikes can be unpredictable at best, now is the time to lock in a mortgage at the most favorable rate before it's too late.
Why Buying Now Makes Sense
Interest rates will likely continue to rise, but there are several factors in play that put a sense of urgency on buying a home now. Let's assume that the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage zooms up from todays rate as of 2/1/2018 of 4.375%* and to a proposed rate 5.250%* on a $250,000 mortgage. Your monthly principal and interest payments would increase by $125.68.
Higher Rates = Less Buying Power
As rates go up, the amount of home you can afford goes down. For every 1.00% increase in interest rates, your buying power decreases by about 10.00%.
Here it is broken down:
Think of what that buying power could translate to — a better neighborhood or school district, a starter home that requires little to no renovation, a larger space for your growing family? An increase in rates could cause you to lose out on those opportunities.
Borrow Now to Achieve Your Goals
Most people have a goal of home ownership, and homes continue to be affordable despite the gains in recent years. Whether you'd like to be a first-time homebuyer, want to trade up, unlock funds for a remodel, or would like to purchase that second home as a vacation spot, there is no better time than the present to make those goals a reality.
Timing can mean a great deal in real estate, and right now the time is right to take advantage of interest rates before they make another trip north. If you were waiting for late spring or summer to shop for a home or refinance your loan, you might want to move up your timetable for the sake of your wallet.
Different Loan Programs Depending on Your Needs
City Bank Mortgage understands that not everyone has the same goals and financial strengths. The good news is that there are many different mortgage programs available to meet a variety of needs. We feature a full line of mortgage products that includes fixed and variable rate mortgages, FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages, jumbo mortgages, construction loans, and loans that are available for refinancing. Get started with you free loan pre-qualification now, and come home to City Bank.
*The estimated interest rate may vary based on actual rates at the time of application and rate lock. The estimated interest rate and APR were based on rates quoted on 02/01/18, and both are subject to change. Estimated payment includes principal and interest based on a 5% down payment. The mortgage payment does not include taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance estimates. The actual payment may vary based on rates available when you apply, along with other terms of your specific loan. This is not an offer for a mortgage loan. It is only to provide an example of potential terms available for illustrative purposes, and restrictions may apply. Please see one of our Mortgage Loan Officers to apply today. **Conventional - $250,000 purchase price, 5% down payment, using closing cost of $1,310 in APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and 720 credit score.
February 07, 2018, 9:31 AM
What is the Loan Star Program?
City Bank Mortgage is excited to announce the partnership with an organization called Homeownership Across Texas (HAT). Partnered with the Homeownership Across Texas (HAT), City Bank is able to provide grants to help qualified homebuyers reduce the amount of money they pay out-of-pocket to purchase a home. The grants range from 1% to 5% of the amount of the homebuyer’s mortgage loan, and can be applied toward the required down payment and/or closing costs. The Loan Star Program is not a loan, it is a grant, so it never has to be repaid. In addition, there are no additional closing costs associated with the program.
Loan Star Program Requirements
- The credit score your lender uses to qualify you for the mortgage loan must be 620 or higher.
- Your annual income must be below certain limits depending on the county in which the home is located.
- You must complete an eligible homebuyer education course online or in person. Contact a Participating Lender for information about eligible courses.
- You must be approved for a 30-year FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional mortgage loan.
- You do not have to be a first-time homebuyer.
Loan Star Program - Eligible Homes
- A new or existing single-family home that you will occupy as your primary residence.
- The purchase price may not exceed certain limits depending on the county in which the home is located, and the type of loan for which you qualify.
- Conventional, VA, and USDA Purchase Price Limit: $453,100.
- The home must be located in Texas; however, the following communities are not participating in the grant program: Travis County (Austin), and the cities of El Paso, Grand Prairie and McKinney.
Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to participate in this program?
No, this grant program is not limited to just first-time homebuyers.
Where is this program available in Texas?
This program is available to the majority of Texas (excluding Austin, El Paso, Grand Prairie and McKinney). Contact a City Bank Mortgage loan officer today to see if your county is included.
Can I use this for an investment property?
No, this grant program is only for the purchase of a single-family home that you will occupy as your primary residence.
Can I use this grant for a refinance?
No, this grant program is only for purchase transactions.
Why do I have to attend a homebuyer education course?
A homebuyer education course is a requirement of the grant and must be completed before closing. The course is designed to ensure all participants are familiar with the processes and requirements of homeownership. The course can be taken in person or online. Visit with your City Bank Mortgage loan officer for more information.
Is the max county income limit for the borrower or the entire household?
The income limit is based on the county you are buying in. For example, the income limit for Lubbock county is $90,720 for qualified applicants. The qualified income may be less than the total actual household income.
Please visit with your City Bank Mortgage loan officer if you have questions in regards to the income requirements in your household.
* This is not a commitment to lend. All loans are subject to credit approval, terms and conditions may apply. Must meet all qualifications and complete the Homebuyer Education course before closing. Subject to change without notice.
January 17, 2018, 9:18 AM
Coming on the heels of one of the most significant victories in Texas Tech men’s basketball history, City Bank is making a $25,000 donation to the Red Raiders Athletics Department to help offset any expenses the nationally ranked team encounters during its quest for the Big 12 championship.
Immediately following No. 8 Tech’s rousing 72-71 defeat of No. 2 West Virginia last Saturday at United Supermarkets Arena, joyous students stormed the court in support of their team. The action resulted in Tech receiving a public reprimand from Big 12 officials and a $25,000 fine.
“While we support Texas Tech in its efforts to make certain game-day operations provide a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone involved, we also understand the outright excitement and spontaneity that a breath-taking victory over a highly ranked team can have on a university’s students,” said Cory T. Newsom, City Bank’s President and CEO. “We see it at universities across the country on a weekly basis. Supporting your team is a big part of the college experience.”
“We agree with (Tech Athletics Director) Kirby Hocutt,” Newsom continued, “in that Texas Tech has a strong game day staff and a plan to handle basketball games at United Supermarkets Arena, and there have been hundreds of events without incident. We know he has reviewed Saturday’s situation and has made the necessary adjustments to assure that the safety of players, officials and fans will not be compromised.”
The Red Raiders, who are 15-2 overall and tied for first place in the Big 12 at 4-1, own victories over five Top 25 teams this season. They remain ranked No. 8 in the country in the latest Associated Press poll and return to action Wednesday night in Austin against the University of Texas. The Red Raiders don’t return home until January 23 when they host Oklahoma State.
January 03, 2018, 3:00 PM
Whether you're on a tight budget or not, no one likes to pay more for something than is absolutely necessary. It may seem like a lot of work to comparison shop before every little purchase, which is why it's a good idea to have some ready-made tactics on hand that can save you money nearly every time.
Saving doesn't come naturally to everyone, so cutting spending as you go through the month is one sure way to make more room in your budget. From large screen televisions to clothing items, there are almost always ways to save some cash. Here are just five ways that you can save money on nearly any purchase.
1. Look for Coupons and Promotions
You can get some significant discounts with coupons, but finding coupons can be time-consuming. There are some time-saving solutions to this conundrum. The first is to just do a web search for coupons when you are ready to make a purchase. If you're buying online, you can often find discount codes to enter into a shopping cart. Another idea is to have one email account that you designate as your "coupon" account. Sign up for coupon and company newsletters with that email address and then pull what you need when you're ready to shop.
2. Buy Used, Refurbished, and Older Models
A great way to save money on major purchases, particularly electronics, is to purchase used, refurbished, or older models. Let's assume that you want to buy a new flat screen television. Instead of buying the latest model, purchase last year's model. You can also buy refurbished and used laptops, appliances, and even sporting goods. If you're purchasing used electronics, however, ask for a limited warranty or guarantee.
3. Price Compare and Use Price Matching
If you are an online shopper, there are browser extensions that you can use to compare prices so that you know the best deal is at hand. One of those is called Honey, which will also search the web for various coupon codes. Amazon shoppers can use an add-on called Camelcamelcamel that will track prices on favorite items. Finally, major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Best Buy will price match if you can prove that you've found a better deal elsewhere.
4. Purchase Discounted Gift Cards
Have you ever received a gift card to a store or restaurant that isn't your favorite? Other people have too, and you can buy unwanted or unused gift cards at a discount on different websites. For example, you might find a $100 Best Buy gift card for $95. The discounts vary depending on the retailer.
5. Look for Cash Back Opportunities
There are several ways that you can earn cash back with your purchases. One is by using certain payment methods such as a cash-back credit card. You can also earn cash back through a shopping portal, such as Ebates. When you sign up with a site like Ebates, you click to make purchases through their links and will receive cash back into your account. You can then use those rewards dollars to make future purchases.
Sometimes, saving money on a large purchase just takes a bit of patience. Unless you're buying the hottest item on the market today, most products and services go on sale at some point. Remaining diligent with these money-saving tips will allow you to find deals on your favorite items and create additional wiggle room in your spending budget each month.
December 04, 2017, 3:51 PM
As consumers in the age of the Internet, we are flooded with choices no matter what it is we seek to acquire. Need a new car loan and you have real world and online lenders; looking for clothing, shoes, electronics, and just about anything else, and you will find it online. This has even extended to mortgages and you can go to the Internet and find many online mortgage providers. Should you use them? That is the focus of this article.
What Experts Say About Real World and Online Lenders
Online mortgage providers appeared in the 1990s and have gone through periods of boom and decline. Are these somehow better than local lenders? If you look at sites like the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), they say that you will want to go for a loan where you are most comfortable and where you can get the best rates. They advocate that you always shop around as it "will help you get the best financing deal…You’ll want to compare all the costs involved in obtaining a mortgage. Shopping, comparing, and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars."
Pointing out that online mortgages are often convenient because they don't require normal bank hours and that they might extend a wider range of products, the FTC never formally advocates online over local lenders.
Face to Face Meetings Yield Better Results
In fact, experts do say that face to face meetings can be a much more comfortable approach to obtaining your mortgage, and that most real world banks have just as many or as competitive options where mortgages are concerned. Negotiating is far easier in a real world setting and that getting all of the important cost information is often best done when sitting down with your lender and reviewing the matter on a point by point basis. You can find out about rates, points, fees and all of the other details easier when dealing directly with the lender's agent.
Work With Local Lenders to Get the Right Loan
In other words, transparency, options, negotiation and finding the right loan for your needs may be much easier when you work directly with a representative at a local lending institution. At City Bank, or representatives are happy to work with you through every possible facet of finding a mortgage. From down payments and identifying the right sort of loan, to calculating monthly fees and closing costs, we have answers when you need them. To find out if which loans you qualify for and which are the best solutions to your home buying needs, get in touch with your local, real world lender.
October 26, 2017, 10:08 AM
Mortgage rates are still low, and there is no guarantee that we won't see some rate hikes from the Fed in the coming year. There are many reasons that someone might want to refinance their home, some more common or obscure than others.
One thing that all homeowners need to consider is that there are costs involved with refinancing a home. As long as you are going to be in the home for a sufficient period, your new loan could recoup those costs through savings. Here are just ten reasons why you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage.
Lower your interest rate. Obviously, if interest rates are lower than when you originally took out your loan, you will probably get a better deal refinancing. This may not be the only way to benefit from refinancing, however.
Shorten/extend your term. Some people want to pay off their mortgage faster, so refinancing with a shorter term mortgage, such as a 15-year fixed, is a good choice. Or life’s circumstances may have changed where you want to extend your term and slow down the amortization.
Lower your payment. If you are just looking to free up monthly cash flow, you can refinance and do this in several ways. You can lengthen your payoff term or choose an interest-only loan.
Convert your loan. When you refinance your mortgage, you can convert your current loan from a variable rate to a fixed rate loan or vice versa.
Cash out equity. If you have equity in your home, refinancing can allow you to take out that cash to use for any reason you see fit. If you want to remodel or pay off some debts, this could be the solution.
Combine first and second mortgages. A common reason for refinancing a mortgage is to combine a first and second mortgage into one loan with more favorable terms.
Drop your PMI. If your home increases in value enough, you may be able to drop your PMI. Refinancing could allow you to both drop PMI and get a more favorable rate.
Remove a person from a loan. If you are getting a divorce or just otherwise want to buy someone out that is listed on a loan, refinancing can help you accomplish this.
Access special programs. At times, the government will produce special programs allowing for the refinancing of certain loans. These are often time-sensitive. If you qualify for one of these programs and it's to your benefit, you should apply.
Your buyer profile has changed. Assuming your original loan was just after a bankruptcy or foreclosure, your credit may now be significantly improved which would qualify you for more favorable loan terms through refinancing.
Refinancing Your Mortgage with City Bank
If you're interested in refinancing your current mortgage, find out how City Bank's competitive loans can help you meet your goals. City Bank Mortgage is an independent community bank that offers a full line of mortgage products including FHA, VA, USDA, fixed rate, adjustable rate, construction loans, and jumbo mortgages. Complete an application now or contact us to discuss your mortgage needs.