Speaking with a loan officer should be the first step in your journey of purchasing a home. A good loan officer will walk you through the process, help you establish a comfortable monthly payment, and help you choose a loan program that meets your needs. Preparation is the key to a successful mortgage application. There are questions to ask, decisions to make, documentation to gather and submit. It’s a lot of work but the rewards are priceless. Planning and preparing in advance means you can move quickly—and confidently when making an offer on a home.
My wife, Tracey, is a Senior Loan Officer with Assurance Financial Group located in River Ranch and there are (2) key benefits to working with Tracey on your home loan:
1. You’ll be working with one person, Tracey, through your entire transaction, and you’ll have her direct line. There’s no 1-800 number or an automated operator sending you to 5 different people to get updates on your closing.
2. If it’s 8:00pm on a Sunday night, and we’ve found the right house, Tracey is available at anytime to provide a pre-approval letter that will accompany your offer. It’s a unique benefit of working with the Lasseres!
When considering mortgage loan programs, you have the option to apply for either a conventional loan or a government-backed loan. Government-backed loans, such as FHA, VA and USDA, are insured through the federal government. Conventional loans with a less than 20% down payment are insured through private companies and must conform to guidelines established by the Federal Housing Finance Association.
Conventional loans can require a substantial down payment. Typically, borrowers provide at least 5% down payment, though 3% down payment programs are possible for eligible borrowers. Borrowers with less than 20% down payment must pay private mortgage insurance until certain criteria is reached, such as paying down the loan balance to a specified amount.
Conventional loans must also meet certain credit and financial requirements. Your credit report will be pulled from the three major credit bureaus; both credit score, and credit history, will determine eligibility for a conventional loan. Higher credit scores can influence better interest rates—your Loan Officer will discuss this with you personally. Conventional loans also have specific debt-to-income ratio requirements, and applicant’s employment history, income and debt will be thoroughly examined to meet lender guidelines.
Conventional loan programs offer several repayment period terms—15, 20, or 30 years—with competitive rates for shorter terms. With a fixed interest rate loan, the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan. Adjustable-rate mortgages are also an option. Here, the interest rate is tied to current market rates and changes periodically, depending on the program you choose. With this option, your monthly mortgage payment will go up and down accordingly.
Your Loan Officer will explain all these details in more depth. A conventional loan is a good option for home buyers with better credit, have enough savings for a down payment, and want to avoid mortgage insurance premiums.
An FHA Loan is a great option for home buyers who don’t meet the income, credit, or down payment requirements for traditional, conventional loan programs.
FHA Loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and FHA Borrowers are required to make Upfront and monthly Mortgage Insurance payments. The FHA recently reduced the cost of Mortgage Insurance. However, MI is now for the life of the loan for borrowers that do not meet down payment amounts specified by FHA.
The Department of Housing and Urban Developments makes periodic changes to FHA guidelines and requirements. It is therefore advisable to consult with your Loan Officer for the most current rates and terms on FHA loans.
Other factors to consider:
VA-guaranteed home loans are a fantastic option for veterans and military families. Assurance Financial Group is proud to assist our service members in their pursuit of homeownership.
Like all home loans, VA loans have eligibility requirements and guidelines. Our experienced Loan Officers will work with you to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and guide you through the entire process.
VA Loan Highlights
RD Borrowers are required to make Upfront and monthly Mortgage Insurance payments. On October 1, 2016, RD will reduce the cost of the Upfront Guarantee from 2.75% to 1.0% & the Annual Fee/monthly from .50% to .35%. However, MI is now permanent for the life of the loan. Unlike FHA, RD’s monthly MI is on a declining scale based on the scheduled principal balance (so it goes down each month).
RD Loan Highlights
Simplify the mortgage process by installing the app.
Tracey F. Lassere is a Senior Loan Officer in the Lafayette office of Assurance Financial. A Crowley native, she moved to Lafayette to attend UL Lafayette, where she received her degree in Liberal Arts. Since joining the Assurance Financial team in June of 2007, Tracey has served in many different roles including: Loan Officer, Compliance Manager, Loan Officer Trainer, and Recruiter. Her favorite role, though, is her current one. “I love helping the residents of our community fulfill their dreams of home ownership,” she says. “I strive to make the process easy to understand, fast and efficient. I strongly believe in great customer service.” She is licensed through the National Mortgage Licensing System and Registry in the states of LA, TX and MS. She specializes in purchase & refinance transactions involving Conventional, FHA, RD & VA loans. She is also well versed in new construction & loves to help first time home buyers.
Tracey stays active in her community as a member of Junior League of Lafayette, Krewe of Xanadu, Krewe of Bonaparte, Tri Sigma Alumnae, UL Alumnae Association and RCAF. Her business networks include Realtor Association of Acadiana, AHBA, Professional Women in Building, Louisiana Mortgage Lenders Association, Acadiana Mortgage Lenders Association and BNI/Business Networking International. She is a mother of two and enjoys traveling and playing with her two labs.
Since May 25, 2001 we have grown from two employees to more than 150, from one office to 18, and from one real estate market to 15.
At Assurance Financial, we live and work in the community where you plan to buy your home. We bring in local appraisers whose community knowledge allows them to provide accurate assessments, and our in-house underwriting cuts down on red tape and speeds up processing.
Assurance Financial isn’t a mortgage broker. We’re a mortgage banker. That means we loan our own money, which makes the lending process that much more credible. As an independent banking firm not tied to any other bank or third-party lender, we are able to offer the best interest rates for our customers.