Mortgage Mike Tag

When it comes to growing money, time is your best friend. Unfortunately, the biggest problem most people who are saving for retirement face is that they start too late in life to achieve a comfortable retirement lifestyle. As a result, the cycle of beginning late continues from one generation to the next.  As parents, we can end the pattern and set our kids up for success. But it starts with education and action.

The Power of Compounding Returns

Compounding interest is essentially earning a return on your past returns. Having this process continue year after year is what creates most of the wealth from people who have a lot of money in their retirement accounts.

The Rule of 72 is a method for estimating an investments time to double. In its simplest term, an investment growing at 7.2% will double every ten years. As an example, $100,000 becomes $200,000 in 10 years, $400,000 in twenty years and $800,000 at year 30. This assumes no additional monies invested.

It is through compounding interest and the power of money growing exponentially over time that you can make the greatest impact on the financial future of your children.

An Example

Assumptions:

10-year-old child

Goal:  Retire at age 65 (55 years from today)

Have $48,000 per year retirement income (in today’s dollars) at the time he / she retires

(This means he / she will need $11,887 per month in future dollars to equate to what $4,000 buys us today – based on a 2% annual inflation rate)

Investment averages 7.5% annual return

Needs investment to last until age 100 (35 years) – Balance will be $0 at age 100

To meet this goal, all that you need to commit to is investing $232 per month until the child retires at age 65. By starting young, this achievable goal can be accomplished. You will set your child up for financial success in a way that he / she can easily sustain. This is how legacies begin.

The Hardest Step is the First

A two-inch piece of metal can hold a train back from starting down the tracks. However, once in full motion, a train has the strength to break through a steel wall. Both good and bad habits are generally difficult to start. However, once in full motion, they are hard to quit. Saving is nothing but a habit that needs to be developed. Once mastered, the pain of breaking the habit of saving is greater than the pain of maintaining the discipline.

I encourage you to make room in your budget to help start the habit for your children. Once they are old enough to earn money, encourage them to continue to the habit. It will be much easier for them to continue growing a retirement account than it will be for them to start one.

Even if it’s only $40 per month, it’s much better than nothing at all. Over time, increase the amount contributed. Watching it grow and knowing that you are helping to build a legacy that will out-live you will inspire you to maintain the habit and increase the amount you contribute as time goes on. Once your child makes enough income to continue this goal, pass the responsibility on to him / her. It will be one of the greatest life lessons they will be taught.

What to do Next:

I encourage you to visit our website at citycreekmortgage.com, click on “Tools” and then “Retirement Calculator”. Run a scenario for yourself and then do one for your kids. By playing with longer timelines, you’ll clearly see the benefit of starting early. Then, call your bank or a trusted financial planner to help set up the accounts and get rolling!

Happy 20th Birthday City Creek Mortgage

Who would have guessed that a couple of kids who met in their teens would marry, build a business, and work together for over 20 years? Every statistic out there says it’s almost impossible—and they’re right! Some days, “hard” is a laughable understatement.

But as we look back over the last two decades at all the families we’ve helped, all of the teammates we worked alongside, all the loyal referral partnerships we have built, and at all the challenges we’ve faced, we are grateful to our core.

Your stories fuel us. Our mission is to help you build beautiful lives just as you have helped us build ours!

Saying THANK YOU for choosing us doesn’t begin to communicate our appreciation. But thank you nonetheless.

When it comes to paying down a mortgage, budgeting is a very important area for homebuyers. Failing to stay within a budget may risk missed payments or other issues that can reflect badly on their financial profile, while those who are diligent and disciplined will leave themselves in good shape – and if you go the extra mile, a mortgage can even become a fantastic financial asset.

At City Creek Mortgage, we’re here to help you buy a home that becomes a positive investment for you in the long run. One strategy for doing so? Making one extra mortgage payment each year as part of your budget. Let’s go over the various formats you can use while doing this, plus how this practice will benefit you over time.

Ways of Doing It

There are a few different ways of making an extra yearly mortgage payment:

  • Boosting each monthly payment: Take your extra payment amount, then divide it by 12. From here, just add that amount to each monthly payment – be sure to specify that this additional amount is to be applied to your principal balance, not interest.
  • Bi-weekly payments: Instead of making one monthly payment, take that same amount, divide it in half, and then pay that amount every other week instead. Over the course of the full year, this will result in you making exactly one extra payment toward your principal amount, due to the fact that most months are slightly longer than four weeks.
  • Single lump sum: Spend the year budgeting and saving up a full additional monthly payment, then determine a date when you send it in full. Again, specify that this extra payment is meant to go toward principal only.

Why Do It?

If you have the financial flexibility to use any of the methods detailed above, you should absolutely consider it. Benefits might include:

  • Generating equity: The higher a percentage of your home that you “own” (that you’ve paid off, in other words), the more equity you have in it. This means that you get more profit if you choose to sell, and equity can also be used as a way of creating additional financing for home improvement or other areas. Extra yearly payments build equity faster for you.
  • Paying less interest: As we noted above, you’ll be ensuring your additional payments go toward your principal loan balance. This will lower the amount of interest you pay, as interest is generated as a percentage of the principal amount remaining. Over the life of the loan, you can save thousands of dollars this way.
  • Paying off early: Through a single extra yearly payment, you’ll likely pay off your mortgage several years earlier than you would have otherwise. This frees you from monthly payments faster, plus as we noted, saves you interest.

For more on how making extra mortgage payments benefits you, or to learn about any of our mortgage loan services, contact the pros at City Creek Mortgage today.

As those who have been through it before can tell you, buying a home comes with a few basic processes. These processes naturally have expected time periods in which they’re completed, and while these can vary a bit within each situation, there’s a general range you can expect heading into the mortgage and homebuying process.

At City Creek Mortgage, we can do a few things when it comes to these processes while you’re buying a home. We can help familiarize you with them, for starters, but we can also offer tips on shortening certain areas for buyers who may need to close a bit faster than normal. Why might you need to close faster on a mortgage loan, and how can you go about making this happen?

Why Close Quickly?

There are actually a number of reasons why you might need to close sooner than normal if you’re a buyer. They include:

  • You’re relocating to a new city, perhaps with date requirements for a new job.
  • You have a baby or a new pet on the way and require more space in a bigger home.
  • Your first home is for sale or has already sold, and you need a second home.
  • You’re a home flipper who has identified a hot market and is looking to capitalize on it.
  • You’ve done your research on mortgage rates and expect them to rise in the near future, so are hoping to close before this happens.

Typical Process Time Periods

The general homebuying process can vary in length depending on a few factors, including the market, the home you’re looking for, and the areas you’re searching in. You can generally plan for at last a month of searching for a home, then between another 30 and 60 days for the mortgage closing process to be completed. Basically, expect a standard homebuying process involving a mortgage to take between three and four months.

Tips for Shortening the Process

This doesn’t always have to be the case, however. There are some basic things you can do to help speed up the process, including the following:

  • Pre-approval: Pre-approval is an official process where you provide your lender with significant documentation, including credit information and other important financials. You go through the underwriting process as well, and get a detailed estimate of the price range you’ll have available to you based on the mortgages you qualify for. Pre-approval allows you to both save time and bolster your initial purchase offers in many cases.
  • Great realtor: If possible, look to a local expert in a realtor who knows your area. They can help you find great homes, and also can negotiate for you.
  • Planning and flexibility: Do as much advanced planning as you can before ever starting the process. Consider the things you’re prioritizing in your search, whether this is neighborhood quality or home amenities. Prepare your paperwork in advance, plus ensure financial areas like your credit score are in good order. At the same time, be prepared to be flexible and meet the needs of your lender or underwriter quickly to help move the process along.

For more on getting a mortgage closed out quickly, or to learn about any of our mortgage services, speak to the staff at City Creek Mortgage today.

One of the greatest injustices of the mortgage industry is the high commission some loan officers receive for originating a home loan. In many cases, it equates to 1.5% (or more) of the total amount of the mortgage. That’s a $4,500 paycheck for closing a $300,000 loan! And where does the money for those high commissions come from? Through an increase in your interest rate. This is wrong and unjustified, in my opinion.

My personal mission for City Creek Mortgage is to eliminate the over-compensated loan officer by educating consumers about why most companies charge such high interest rates. A loan officer on salary or a lower commission rate can save the consumer money—in most cases, a lot of money.

I’m NOT saying loan officers shouldn’t have the opportunity to make a great income. I believe that the ethical model is to earn a little off a lot of loan closings vs. a lot off a few. A higher-volume team with salary-based loan officers can provide a great living for employees as well as lower interest rates for borrowers.

If you’re shopping for a home mortgage, don’t be afraid to ask your loan officer about their personal commission rate. If they stumble over their answer, be careful. Look for a salaried loan officer and I bet you’ll find a better deal.

As a bit of a contrarian, whenever things start to look too good, I begin to question the future. And given the strength of the market since the housing meltdown reversed, now is a prudent time to begin closely watching home value appreciation for any signs of a bubble.

I’m not saying I believe a correction in home values is imminent in the near term. It will happen at some point, but no one can say when with any certainty. But any time you see unsustainable growth in the housing market, you are witnessing a bubble, and as I’ve heard it said, “Whatever can’t continue must end.” I would rather consider the prospects of a housing bubble forming within the next two to four years than ignore the potential impact entirely. But I’ll let you gauge the risk yourself.

As part of the last housing crisis, indicators of our downfall began in 2005. However, consumers continued to purchase homes at a rapid pace until 2007—and even into 2008—before it was abundantly clear that we had a big problem. Had people known what to look for in 2005, many could have avoided a disaster.

I monitor five key points relative to the ongoing strength of the housing market:

  1. The median home price in relation to consumer confidence.
    • In 2006, consumer confidence hit an all-time high, and we’re at a similar point right now. Historically, when consumers feel confident, housing prices increase. However, as the recent trend in consumer confidence has not led to a relative increase in home values, we can anticipate either a drop in consumer confidence or an increase in housing prices.
  2. The number of people purchasing homes with cash.
    • When the market is hot, more people pay cash for their homes. We’ve recently seen a drop in the number of cash buyers, indicating a potential slowing in the housing market.
  3. The housing affordability index.
    • With both mortgage interest rates and home values on the rise, the housing affordability index has taken a sharp dive to a level unseen since 2009. Homes have become less affordable.
  4. The percentage of homes that increase in value month over month.
    • Although residential housing values have increased, there are many areas where prices are flat or even declining. The peak of a housing cycle is generally reached once the percentage of homes rising in value ceases to increase. The peak in our current cycle was reached in February 2017, and although this indicator could turn positive once more, it is reflective of the situation in 2005–2006.
  5. The percentage of household income that goes toward housing expenses.
    • Growth is no longer sustainable once the average percentage of household income spent on mortgage or rent payments exceeds 25%. Currently, in 20% of the major housing markets, payments average more than 25%. This is the highest percentage we have seen in a long time.

I’m not predicting a housing crash. I believe now is still a great time to buy a home, especially if you plan to live in it for a while. The relative price difference of owning versus renting overwhelmingly supports buying a home. Markets will always go through cycles. My intention is to educate and point out some of the indicators of a bubble. Maybe my thoughts will help deter buyers whose sole objective is to own a home for its appreciation value; at some point, this kind of short-term investment will no longer be an attractive option. However, the long-term reasons to buy remain firmly in place, especially with the average 4.5% growth rate on real estate. When you do the math, owning a home is a no-brainer.

With home values climbing to record highs, many have rushed to their bank to take out a line of credit against their homes. For some it has been to make home improvements or consolidate debts. For others it was to take a vacation or purchase a car.
Recent changes have made home equity loans less favorable. For one, home equity loans no longer provide a tax deduction. Secondly, most have variable rates that are moving higher with each rate hike the Federal Reserve makes. Given new tax laws and the outlook for continued Fed rate hikes, the cost of borrowing against a home equity line of credit is increasing.
In most cases, I’m not a fan of home equity lines. If they help solve critical financial issues, they are wonderful. However, most are used to spend money that a family would otherwise not need to spend.
If you have a small balance on a line of credit, focus on paying it off as quickly as possible. Make minimum payments on your primary mortgage until the balance of the credit line is paid. Then take the amount your budget is used to paying and apply that as a principal reduction to your mortgage. That will help you pay off your home faster.
If you have a large home equity line balance, consider at what point it makes sense to consolidate that into your primary mortgage. The blended rate of a home equity loan and your current mortgage is often higher than the current rates to refinance. If you need help determining what is best, we are here for you.

At City Creek Mortgage, we’re here to be more than just mortgage pros. Our experts are indeed experienced and well-trained in every area of helping you get the best mortgage rates, but they’re also here to help you with several parts of the actual homebuying process.

Especially for first-time buyers, there can be a few unexpected costs that arise during the purchasing process – often due to red flags a more experienced eye might have caught in advance. Here are some of these red flags to keep an eye out for, either during the home inspection or simply throughout the process.

Pests or Insects

Pests may seem like just a nuisance to some, but they can also be a sign that the home has already undergone structural damage. Many pests, such as termites, can cause huge amounts of damage to a home in a fairly short period of time – if you see signs of these around, how do you know the foundation of the home isn’t already in bad shape?

Foundational Issues or Major Repair Problems

Down similar lines, check the entire foundation during your inspection. The primary issue to look out for is cracking, particularly any larger cracks that may cost thousands to repair. The basement is the best starting point here.

Nasty Odors

You want to be on the lookout for abnormal smells – both of the positive and negative variety. There’s obviously a problem if the entire home smells like raw sewage, but some sellers will look to cover up a major odor issue with air fresheners or other compensation. Be on the lookout for over-the-top use of these kinds of products or any other signs of covering a major odor issue.

Fresh Paint

It’s normal for many sellers to include a fresh coat of paint throughout the home as part of the sale process – this isn’t anything to worry about. On the other hand, if you notice patches of paint in certain individual areas either inside or outside the home, this could be a sign of a repair that went wrong that the seller is trying to cover up. If you notice any inconsistency here, make sure it’s inquired about.

Mold

Not only can mold signal a leak or other moisture issue in the home, it’s a health risk to humans. Removing mold can be costly and a lengthier process than you might think, so if you see even token signs of it, be thorough in your investigation.

To learn more about telltale red flags at a property, or for information on any of our mortgage or refinance programs, speak to the staff at City Creek Mortgage today.

Real estate agents have a responsibility to do what is best for their clients. However, this doesn’t always happen. Getting a mortgage is a significant decision for a homebuyer. In many cases, the real estate agent will pressure clients to use their preferred lender. Unfortunately, a referral is often made to a lender that is financially or professionally supporting the real estate agent, rather than because it is the most cost-effective solution for the homebuyer.

The Truth Behind Mortgage Rates
One of the reasons other lenders have higher rates than we do is due to the level of compensation the loan officer is making. If a loan officer wants to make more money,
they simply sell their clients a higher interest rate. When this happens, the client pays more than they need to. Clearly, a real estate agent who wants the best for their clients would not want to add this additional financial burden to people they care about.

For example, a client recently called into City Creek Mortgage to compare the loan offer they received from their real estate agent’s preferred lender. The client was looking to borrow $350,000. When I shared with the client that there was enough income in the rate they were being quoted to purchase a brand-new Toyota Corolla, they were upset. Generally, we can save most clients between 20-50%. In this case, it was much more.

Lenders Who Serve The Agents
Most mortgage lenders market their services to real estate agents under the premise that they will help them grow their businesses. A business model that is designed to provide the benefit to the real estate agent generally comes as a cost to the homebuyer. For example, there are some mortgage companies that have several offices in a community just to provide the convenience to their real estate partners. Clearly, the agent’s convenience provides no value to the homebuyer. However, the homebuyer is the one paying the price each month in the form of a higher mortgage payment.

A Consumer-Focused Model
I believe the right business model for a mortgage company is designed with the homebuyers’ best interests in mind. At City Creek Mortgage our promises and guarantees are to our clients, not to real estate agents. We are a low-cost provider that is designed to keep more money in the pockets of hard working Utah families. For 20 years, this has kept our clients coming back and referring their family and friends to us for their mortgage needs.

If you need help evaluating the price offering of another lender, we can help you. We can estimate the amount of commission income priced into the loan and compare that
to what is priced into a loan offering with City Creek Mortgage. We do what is best for the homebuyer, with the long-term goal of squeezing out the margins in a mortgage industry and eliminate the over-compensated loan officer. As a result, we are the most feared second option by our competitors.

Help us get the word out. When you hear that your family and friends need a mortgage, have them call us. By simply having salaried loan officers and a commitment to make less off each loan, we save people a lot of money. We are Utah’s best mortgage choice and appreciate your continued support.

City Creek Mortgage was recently introduced to the foundation, Cars 4 Kids,
created by Luxe Auto Spa. We experienced an unforgettable 3-day drive through
the back roads of Utah’s breathtaking scener y and meeting some of the
most generous people ever. This drive ended at The Ronald McDonald House
where thousands of toys were donated to the children and families that stay,
while their loved ones are being treated for life-threatening illnesses.

CougarCars4kids
The stories shared and the relationships formed have been priceless. If you are interested in joining us for either
a 1-3 day drive in September or learning more about The Magic Room at The Ronald McDonald House that houses
all of the amazing toys for the kids, you can check it out at Cars 4 Kids Foundation on Facebook, c4kdrive.org
or email analee@c4kdrive.org. Star t your engines!
Love to see you there! Mike & Tobi