We understand that it's not just a house, it's your home  


5 Questions You Should Ask Us 

August 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Looking to buy a house for the first time, or ready to buy a new house? One of your first steps is finding a mortgage lender, which is where we come into the picture.

Our mission is to help you find a financial solution that’s ideally suited for your family’s unique needs and situation. But don’t simply take our word for it—put us to the test!

Here are a few questions you might want to ask us:

What kinds of loans do you offer?

When it comes to a mortgage, one size doesn’t fit all! That’s why there are many loan types.

We offer a full spectrum of loan types, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Other types of mortgage loans, including those specifically for active military and military veterans, are also available.

Our commitment to you is to help you sort through the loan types to find the best one for your needs.

How much of a down payment will I need?

The answer to this question is tied somewhat to the type of mortgage you choose. With some types of loans, you may not need any down payment at all.

With other loans, you will need a down payment, which can be as little as 3%. The 20% number you often hear is an ideal target, but usually not necessary to obtain a loan.

What interest rate will I qualify for?

This is a common question, but one we won’t know the answer to until we pull a credit rating for you. Interest rates are set by the market, but your specific rate is tied to your credit score.

It’s also important for you to know that there’s a difference between an “interest rate” and an “APR.” APR, or annual percentage rate, includes all the embedded fees associated with your loan.

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

A national survey related to closing times found that the average turnaround time is 50 days, but your actual experience may vary a little bit.

It’s important to know that the turnaround time is also tied with the type of mortgage loan you’re obtaining. With certain mortgages, such as FHA loans, it can take longer to finalize the loan, since an inspection is required and home repairs may be needed.

What documents will I need to get started?

When you reach out to us about obtaining a mortgage, we’ll guide you through the entire process, including what information and documentation we need from you. But, if you’re looking to get a jump-start, there are some basics to start putting together.

You will need to have proof of your identity, proof of your income and assets, and you will need to provide us with authorization to review your credit reports.

Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

The First-Time Homebuyer's Guide 

July 2021 | By Pat Donlon

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Buying a home for the first time is intimidating and maybe even a little scary in “normal” times. If you’re looking to buy a house right now, it might even feel a little more alarming.

We’re currently in a seller’s market, meaning the odds favor the person selling the home. That’s because there are a limited number of houses on the market right now—and lots of people looking to buy. That makes nearly any house put up for sale a hot commodity.

But if now’s the right time for you to buy your first house, don’t let that stop you! The same basic rules that help guide first-time homebuyers at other times will still hold today.

What You Need to Know

  • Your first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. We can’t tell you enough how important this is, especially when you’re looking to buy a house for the first time. The last thing you need is to fall in love with a house that you ultimately can’t afford. Getting pre-qualified nails down exactly how much mortgage loan is responsible for you, given your financial situation.
  • Look into first-time homebuyer programs. There’s good news: When you’re buying a house for the first time, there are some programs out there specifically for you. These programs can be especially helpful if you haven’t built up a large down payment fund yet, and they can also impact the interest rate.
  • Know the specific type of house you want. This should include both the structure of the house, such as whether you want a condo or single-family home and the must-have features in the home, such as a bathtub or a certain number of bedrooms. Go wider in scope, too—know what neighborhoods will work best for you. Not quite sure what your wants and needs are? It’s OK to look at a few homes without knowing these specs, but don’t start to seriously look to buy until you know them.
  • Work with an experienced real estate agent. When you’re new to the game, you logically want a coach who’s been around for a while. There’s tremendous value in working with a professional who knows the ins and outs of real estate in your area. Ask friends and family for recommendations; they’re often the best resource when it comes to identifying an agent.

Ready to take care of step No. 1 on this list? Get in touch today to start the pre-qualification process!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


Is It Worth It to Buy a Fixer-Upper? 

June 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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The short answer? It can be.

Honestly, it depends on a few factors, including your current financial situation and how quickly you need to move into the home. That means the decision is a pretty personal one and highly dependent on your family’s needs and wants.

But let’s talk through a few pros and cons:

Pro: Fixer-Uppers Are Cheaper

When you buy a fixer-upper home, you’ll typically save some money, at least on the initial purchase price. On average, these homes are priced about 8% below market value.

Con: Renovations Can Be Costly

While your initial investment in the purchase price may be reduced, your total outlay can often be higher. That’s because you’re responsible for fixing up a house that may be rundown or outdated. Your total expense will vary depending on how in-depth repair work is.

Pro: You Have Creative Leeway

When you’re fixing up a home, you have total control of what goes into—or leaves—the house. You can remake it to align with your visions, enhancing it with a new bathroom or kitchen, new flooring, or a patio.

Con: There’s a Lot of Uncertainty

If you’ve ever watched an episode of a home restoration show on HGTV, you know that every home restoration comes with some unwelcome surprises. In most cases, you won’t know exactly what you’re getting into until after you’re into it. That may mean added expenses in the case of challenges such as termite damage or the lack of a weight-bearing wall.

The Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about purchasing a fixer-upper, be thoughtful about the decision. Try to cover all the bases—have a thorough home inspection performed, then nail down what restoration work you’d like to do.

From there, get an estimate on what that restoration will cost. These two pieces together can help you determine whether the total price will be worth it in the end.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


What You Should Know About Home Inspections 

May 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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When it comes to the mortgage application and home-buying processes, there are steps meant to protect the lender and some that give you a chance to ensure you’re getting a place you’ll love. In that latter group is the often-misunderstood home inspection, which is typically optional and not related to the required appraisal.

So, what do you need to know about the home inspection, what can you get from it, and why should you say, “yes,” when you’re asked if you want one?

Read on to learn about this important safeguard that can protect you from getting in over your head and ensures you know what work you’re likely to face in perfecting your new place.

What Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is a thorough, but not comprehensive, visual examination of the property by a licensed professional. The inspector will look the property over from top to bottom, and even underground, checking for common problems and areas where they typically show up.

For instance, he or she may check the basement to ensure there isn’t an issue with water intrusion, or lingering damage or organic growth caused by previous problems. It’s likely the inspector will also look at home systems, such as the HVAC to ensure it’s in working order and the plumbing system to verify there’s adequate water pressure.

Basically, it’s a check to let you know about common issues that can range from minor things you’ll need to fix to massive red flags that could throw the purchase into doubt, such as a failing septic system or wide-scale black mold growth.

It’s important, though, to understand what the inspection isn’t. For instance, the inspector won’t look inside the walls or floors, so there could be hidden issues there. The inspector can’t predict the future, so there may be issues arise that you didn’t expect, even with this assessment.

The Benefits of a Home Inspection

In most cases, the home inspection is an optional step, one taken or skipped on the preference of the buyer. If you’re debating whether you want to incur the additional cost and delay in your purchase, there are some good reasons to opt for the check.

As we noted, a home inspection could find serious structural or health issues that could present a danger to your family and which may make you decide to back out on the sale. Certainly, that’s worth the investment. In most cases, however, the findings are minor and may come down to just best practices and things you can do to make the place more comfortable.

One real benefit of a home inspection is the findings can sometimes be used as a negotiating tool to push for a lower purchase price based on the expected costs of remedying issues found. Even if that isn’t the case, it does at least ensure you come into the purchase with a full and clear understanding of what you’re getting into. Knowing you’ll have to replace that fuse box or address the lingering damage from a sink leak that’s been repaired beats being surprised by those problems later.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage are dedicated to helping you find the right funding for your home purchase and walking with you every step of the process. Call us today and get a partner in the mortgage business!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Tax Breaks for Homeownership

April 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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From renovations to repairs, there can be times when it feels like owning a home is nothing but a way to spend money, but there are regular reminders of the benefits. Making your payments on time can help you build your credit and you can borrow against the equity, to name just a couple.

Then there are the annual benefits that come at tax time, with several deductions available for those who own their homes. From when you buy the property through the term of your loan and even for as long as you own the residence, you may be able to get reductions in your overall tax burden. Here are a few of the ways you can do that.

First, the Details

The standard deduction, the minimum amount every taxpayer gets, is $12,400 for single filers, $18,650 for heads of households, and $24,800 for those married and filing jointly for 2020. Increases in the standard deduction mean that about 70% of tax filers take it, with their itemized deductions adding up to less than the applicable standard deduction.

We point that out first to give context to the fact that everything we’re going to cover here is a deduction, which means you get them when you itemize. If your deductions don’t add up to more than the standard one, you likely won’t get the benefits listed here. Now, the good stuff.

Deductions for Homeowners

The actual process of purchasing a home doesn’t open the possibility for much tax benefit, but there is a common deduction available to those who open a mortgage. Those who get a home loan with points, which may also be called loan original fees or be considered an upfront on mortgage insurance, can deduct that expense. There are some requirements borrowers must meet, including that the loan must cover their primary residences and the points were normal for the area.

The real tax benefits of homeownership show up for most people as they pay off their loans. For instance, there is a deduction for private mortgage insurance that can help those who have that extra cost added to their monthly premiums. While the PMI deduction briefly disappeared after 2017, it’s back now and can even be retroactive, so make sure you look into this possibility.

While not everyone who has a home loan pays PMI, everyone with a mortgage pays interest, so it’s a good thing the mortgage interest deduction is available. It allows filers to deduct all their mortgage interest payments on debt below certain thresholds. For most people, this is the most significant tax benefit of owning a home.

If you’re ready to get all the benefits of owning a home, Trusted American Mortgage can help you secure the perfect loan for your situation. Call our experts today and let us get you started on the road to homeownership!

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Key Documents You'll Need For A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter 

March 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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When they’re done signing for a mortgage many people feel they’ve put their names on most of the paper in the immediate area and it’s true, there’s plenty of paperwork in the process. Included in that is the documentation you’ll need to provide as part of the process.

If you’re thinking of buying a home soon and want to give yourself a head start, you may want to start tracking down and collecting all those documents.

From the readily accessible, such as identification, to the ones you may have to dig up, including your tax returns, here’s what you may need to provide as you go through the application process:

Identification: We’re starting easy here since you probably have a state-issued identification card and know where it is. Your loan officer will let you know exactly what proof you need here, since it may include more than just your driver’s license, but that and a passport, if you have one, are a good start.

Rental History: You may need to provide documentation of the apartments or other places you rented, but not everyone will so you may want to check with us on this one before you start tracking down old landlords.

Proof of Income: You’ll need to be able to show you have a steady income that is sufficient to make the payments on the amount of debt you’re seeking to incur. This may require multiple pieces of documentation, including a couple pay stubs and your most recent W2. If you have other sources of income, such as trusts or freelance work, you’ll need to provide documentation of those, too.

Tax Returns: The idea here is the same, mainly about proving your ability to make the payments. You’ll likely need to provide at least the last two years’ worth of returns. You’ll also be asked to sign an IRS Form 4506-T that gives us permission to request information from the agency.

Documentation of Assets: Another in this series that’s all about creating a picture of your financial situation, this can include retirement savings, stocks, property and anything else that can show your holdings.

Gift Letters: Not everyone will need to think about this, but if you’re getting help from friends or family to make your down payment, you’ll probably be asked to provide a letter that shows the money is a gift. Many loans have restrictions on using borrowed funds, even those that come from close family members, for the down payment, so you’ll need to be able to show you aren’t expected to repay the money.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the documentation you may need to provide during the mortgage application process. Our experts at Trusted American Mortgage can let you know what will be required.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage


Homebuyer Goals for 2021

February 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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With mortgage rates at historic lows, this may be the best time ever to get into the real estate market.

If you’ve set a goal of finding that home of your dreams in 2021, we have some suggestions of other aspirations you may want to set for the year. In these suggestions, you’ll find a good amount of homework and some explanation for why you should start saving now for that down payment if you aren’t already.

Research the tax savings. Homeownership is part of the American dream and the IRS incentivizes purchasing property by offering tax deductions and credits for homebuyers. Most of these, beyond a deduction for points, if you pay those at closing, are for after you purchase, including discounts for interest and private mortgage insurance payments. So, either these are benefits you think about for long-term return or you make the move to buy a home early in the year so you get more starting with your 2021 taxes.

Save toward that down payment. First, let’s cover some realities. While the rule of thumb for down payments is 20%, partly because that makes it easier to get some loans and can help lower your interest rate for others, most Americans don’t hit that mark. And that’s OK. Still, whether you’re just shy of that mark for your dream home or you haven’t started putting money away for the down payment, it’s a good idea to set money aside for the down payment. Not only is it required in some cases, but it can also reduce your monthly payments and how much you pay overall.

Get to know the options for assistance. Whether you need help making any down payment or getting to the 20% target, there are assistance programs that can help you get there. From grants to loans, there are plenty of options for making it to the mark you need. The Federal Housing Authority has a page listing down payment assistance options, and your states or municipality may have a similar catalog.

Figure out what you can afford. The long-standing rule of thumb is housing should take 30% of your income, though obviously there’s nothing wrong with staying below that. That mark works for most situations, but it may be more than some people can handle or want to take on with their future financial goals in mind. Figure out what’s manageable for you and make sure you stick to that budget as you cruise the market.

Learn about the different types of loans. Finding the right loan for you means educating yourself about the available mortgage options. Weighing fixed vs. variable rates, FHA vs. VA, and all the rest can be a bit confusing. Fortunately, you have friends in the industry right here.

If you’re ready to start weighing your options, the experts at Trusted American Mortgage are ready to help. Contact us today for the answers and other assistance you need.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

It's Easier To Watch Your Credit
January 2021 | By Patrick Donlon

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You likely know your credit report, which documents your credit history and gives an overall rating of your ability to handle debt, is an important part of the mortgage application process. If you’re wondering how you can keep an eye on this important report, we have good news: It’s easier than ever right now!

In normal times, you can get a free copy of your credit report once per year thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. But these aren’t normal times, and the credit bureaus have agreed to give you access to your reports every week for free.

The move is intended to help people struggling in the crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic keep watch on their financial situations.

How to Get Your Weekly Credit Reports

To ensure this powerful free resource is available to every American who needs it, the process for requesting those reports has been made as easy as possible. All you have to do is go to the AnnualCreditReport.com website used for those yearly reports in other times and complete a credit report request. You’ll have to submit the form for every week you want to receive the report.

The bureaus said they’ll provide the free weekly reports through April.

How Do I Protect My Credit Report?

You should always be careful to protect your credit scores and reports to ensure you’re in the best standing possible when you need to apply for new credit. That means ensuring you make the required payments on time and keep a good balance between your income and debt, among other things.

If you’re having trouble doing those things right now, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk your credit report will take a hit and increase the chance you’ll be able to stay ahead of what you owe. These recommendations come from the Federal Trade Commission:

  1. If you’re worried about making your payments, reach out to the organizations you owe. You may be able to negotiate payment plans that will make it easier for you to meet the responsibilities, delay payment or provide missed payment forgiveness. You should have information on your financial situation ready when you call.
  2. Watch your credit reports to ensure your creditors adhere to those payment agreements or temporary forbearance and don’t report payment issues to the bureaus if they’ve promised not to.
  3. Notify the credit reporting agencies immediately if you notice issues or inaccuracies on your reports. To get those resolved, you may also need to work with the companies or organizations that relayed the discrepancies to the bureaus.

The experts at Trusted American Mortgage want to help ensure you get the best home loan for your situation. If you need advice or guidance, we’re here to help.

Copyright © 2021 Trusted American Mortgage

Tips for Selling a Home in the Winter

December 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Winter may be the perfect time for you to sell your home. There are typically fewer homeowners looking to sell, which could open the door to your place selling faster than it would in a time when there’s a lot of stock on the market.

It could also present an opportunity to push motivated buyers to pay a little more than they would otherwise.

It’s important to recognize part of the reason fewer people look to sell in winter is that spring often provides a more-favorable market and the farther into winter it gets, the harder it may be to sell.

Buyers often seem to hibernate as the weather gets colder, which further fuels that spring boom as they come out of hiding. Still, if you need to sell now, there’s no reason to believe it will be impossible.

After all and as we already pointed out, there are good things about selling a home in winter. If your situation demands you sell your place during PSL season, here are some tips for improving your chances.

Winter Home Sale Tips

First things first, the name of the game in winter home sales is staging.

The National Association of Realtors says staging is the single most important part of selling a home in winter, which shouldn’t be a surprise because that group of industry experts believes staging is critical in all home sales. So, these tips are really all about staging your place to increase your chances of selling it.

  1. Don’t go heavy on the decorations. It can be tempting to go full holiday extravaganza, but remember you want to present a blank canvas potential buyers can paint their personalities on, so keep it light. We’ll cover a few of the exceptions.
  2. Think scents. Psychologists tell us scent is one of the strongest parts of memory, so create ways for people to use it in recalling your place. Set a candle on a warmer (Exception 1: Consider warm, cozy fall scents) or use an air freshener.
  3. Think curb appeal. This one’s always important, but you should make sure your lawn and other elements visible from the road look nice, so rake those leaves and lay some new mulch in the garden.
  4. Use that fireplace. If you have one, of course. Lighting a fire in the living room can create the impression of it being a warm space for coming cold days and nights.
  5. Set the table. This is exception two: Put potential buyers in mind of family time and happy holidays by setting the table and adding some subtle decorations.
  6. Go cozy. As the weather turns cool and potential buyers think of the cold days to come, a home draped with blankets and pillows will help them picture hibernating in the house.
  7. Light it up. Battle the growing dark of the colder months by leaving blinds and curtains open and turning on the lights.

If winter is moving season for you, Trusted American Mortgage wants to be your financing partner to help you fund the purchase of your new home!


Should I Buy a Short Sale Property? 

November 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Short sales were a common part of the real estate landscape a decade ago as the number of properties in distress following the financial crisis that began in 2008 skyrocketed. Thankfully, the market settled down and short sales are rare now, but they’re still out there, which can be good news for buyers.

What Is a Short Sale?

Short sales are an agreement between the lender and the property owner that allows for the property to be sold for less than the remaining loan. In some cases, the lender agrees to forgive the remaining debt, which is part of why short sales are often a better option for property owners than a foreclosure. Another advantage is it doesn’t inflict as significant a hit on the credit record.

Sellers who qualify for this type of relief are already well behind on payments, typically to a point from which it’s unlikely they’ll ever catch up, so drawing the sale out could cost the lender money. Additionally, short sales are approved when the real estate market surrounding the property are in such a slump that the house is worth less than the remaining mortgage balance.

Should I Buy a Short Sale?

There’s a lot to consider if you think about purchasing a short sale property. Here are a few:

  1. If it seems unlikely the market will recover anytime soon and you’re looking to only be in the property a short time, you should know that may mean the property not only never appreciates in value but actually continues to lose value. If you intend to live in the home, you should also think about whether the neighborhood is one you want to spend your time in.
  2. Short sales can be an opportunity to get a great deal, particularly in areas that are likely to recover. This is a hard thing to predict and may be unlikely depending on the status of the neighborhood. That’s part of why short sales were so popular in the Great Recession; many properties qualified because every market took a significant hit, so buyers got a bargain that grew in value.
  3. Properties disposed of in short sales typically don’t sit empty for months or years prior as those that go through a foreclosure process do. That time being vacant isn’t good for homes, and it’s only made worse by the fact homeowners who can’t afford to pay their mortgages are also unlikely to be able to cover the costs of maintenance. Combined with potentially lengthy terms in the possession of banks, which typically don’t do much upkeep, this can leave foreclosure properties in bad shape. Still, short sale properties are typically sold as-is, which means you don’t get any improvement concessions.
  4. Despite the name, short sales can take months and even more than a year, which is not a favorable timeline if you’re looking for a home to move into soon.

Trusted American Mortgage has the expertise to help you through financing your real estate purchase. If you’re ready to find your first or next home, let us help you!

What Sellers Should Know About Staging 

October 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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For those who haven’t watched HGTV or visited an open house lately, staging is a bit of home-seller marketing that involves dressing your place up before potential buyers look around. The intention is to put the best face on the place to help convince people to buy.

Part of staging is making the house feel livable so potential buyers can imagine building their lives in it, while the other part is just making the house look nice and maybe high-end to help ensure you get the best offer for the property.

Is Staging Worth It?

Short answer: yes. A 2019 report from the National Association of REALTORS provides strong evidence of the value of staging.

Here are just a few of the findings from its survey of buyers’ agents:

  • 40% said buyers’ decisions to make an offer were impacted by staging.
  • 83% said buyers found it easier to visualize staged houses as their future homes.
  • 25% said staging increased dollar value offered from 1 to 5%.

Who Does Staging & What Does it Entail?

There are three common options for staging a home to get it ready for showings: DIY, sellers’ agent, and independent firm.

The latter has the advantage of having a store of items for staging, from vases and lamps to furniture and appliances, and may even keep premium items such as hot tubs that can help boost home value. This option can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Sellers who opt to have their agents do the work typically pay the cost for it as part of the agent’s overall fee. Agents who offer the service also keep a store of supplies for the purpose, though it’s usually not as extensive as what a professional stager would have.

Some agents may stage a house and leave it set up that way until it sells, while others will put the effort in only for open houses.

The DIY option may just be the most common, particularly for those who currently live in the houses they’re selling. Since their belongings are already there, they don’t have to bring in a lot of supplies but may need to get some enhancements to help the place look its best.

If you opt for DIY staging, here are some things you may want to do:

  • Clean up—This one seems obvious but getting a house ready to sell means a thorough cleaning beyond what you might otherwise do.
  • Reduce clutter—Remember, you want people to be able to envision themselves (and their things) living in your home. Making that possible may mean you need to stash your personal pictures and knick-knacks and you might even want to rent a storage unit and put furniture and other large items you don’t use regularly in it.
  • Brighten up—Adding lamps, putting LED bulbs in fixtures, and letting in natural light can give the home an attractive, vibrant look.
  • Set the mood—Make the home feel welcoming by playing soft music, lighting candles, and using a scent diffuser to ensure it smells great.
  • Cover up issues—We’re not talking about putting rugs down on problem spots on the floor; we just mean drape a blanket over stains on the couch and put a decoration over mars on furniture.
  • Decorate a little—Put some vases of fresh flowers out, hang a wreath on the door and decorate furniture with attractive, seasonal pillows. It’s all about making your place look its best.

If you’re ready to sell your current home and find your next one, Trusted American Mortgage is here to finance your move. Give us a call today and let’s get started on finding your dream home!

What Does the Phrase “Record-low Mortgage Rates” Mean? 
September 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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If you pay attention to internet or satellite radio ads, you may think mortgage rates are perpetually at or at least near all-time lows. They promise at any given moment you can purchase a home or refinance an existing loan for less than ever possible before.

The truth is rates really are at historic lows right now and there’s a lot of good stock on the housing market. But what does that mean, and how do you know when it’s really true?

Follow Freddie

That’s Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, which was created to increase the supply of money available for mortgage lending.

The agency keeps a record of average commitment rates for 30-year mortgages that date back to 1971, the year after it was founded. The 3.16% rate it showed for June was, indeed, the lowest ever recorded.

In fact, the rates for April (3.31), May (3.23), and June each set new records, besting the previous low mark of 3.35 set in November and December 2012.

Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate mortgages also hit an all-time low in Freddie Mac’s data in June, coming in at 2.60%. That beats the previous record of 2.66, also set in the last two months of 2012.

And Freddie’s sister Fannie Mae expects the hits to keep on coming, projecting an annual average rate of 3.2% for 2020. Just how low is that? The previous annual low was 3.65% in 2016, while that number has been as high as 16.63%, the all-time high set in 1981.

What Does All This Mean to Me?

What it means is this is a great time to buy a home because you’ll pay less in interest every month and significantly less over the life of the loan. The Washington Post points out that means a $300,000 loan issued in late June would come with a monthly payment of $1,298 with principal, interest, and estimated taxes and insurance included.

That’s well below the $1,448 the paper says the same loan would have cost a year before. Over the life of the loan, that difference could save this hypothetical borrower $54,000.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the great rates available right now, talk to one of the knowledgeable and helpful loan experts at Trusted American Mortgage today!


Questions to Ask When Considering a Home with a Well 

August 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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In urban areas, homes with wells are virtually unheard of, but in some rural parts of the country, they are more common than those on municipal or public supplies.

According to the EPA, an estimated 13 million U.S. homes rely on a well, which is roughly 10% of the total.

So, home buyers outside cities may run into some properties drawing water out of the ground, rather than a main. If you find yourself in that situation, here are some questions you might want to ask to ensure you have the whole picture before you make the purchase.

How was the well sunk? Most modern wells are drilled, a process that creates a cleaner hole that is easier to plumb and less likely to become contaminated.

How old is the well? Wells require maintenance and have expected lifespans. In most cases drilled wells last decades, though groundwater sources can shift and leave the well dry.

How long was it projected to last? Contractors who sink wells sometimes provide an estimated lifespan based on the flow rate of the source aquifer, expected submersible pump life, and stability of the drill, among other factors.

How deep is the well? The depth of a well can tell you a lot (for instance, how susceptible the well might be to surface contaminants), and the current owner should be able to answer this.

How much water is it rated for? This can be dictated by the available flow from the tapped aquifer and the capacity of the pump. The number is typically in the 3–5-gallon range.

Does the well meet codes? Local and state codes may dictate how the well can be sunk, how deep it must be, and what the water quality should be.

When was the well water last tested and what were the results? You should insist on receiving logs of that check. The EPA recommends testing well water annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.

If you are concerned about the well, you may want to request water quality testing and inspection as a condition of your purchase of the home.

When you’re ready to buy your next home, contact the experts at Trusted American Mortgage to walk with you each step of the way.


What is the Difference Between a Buyer's Market and a Seller's Market? 

July 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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If you have ever purchased or sold a home, you are probably familiar with the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market.” But have you ever stopped to consider what those phrases actually mean?

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to take a few minutes to break it down for you. Read on as we share some insight.

Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market

It’s probably fairly common sense to know that the two phrases mean one market is beneficial for home buyers and one is beneficial for home sellers. But how so? And what do these types of markets mean for people looking to buy or sell a home?

First things first, let us put a definition with the phrases:

buyer’s market describes a time period when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.

seller’s market describes a time period when there are fewer homes for sale than there are buyers looking for homes.

What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Sell

If you are not quite sure whether the time is right to sell your home, you want to consider whether you are in a seller’s market time period. When it’s a seller’s market, that means your home will be a hot commodity, because there are so many people looking for homes.

That often translates to bidding wars, where multiple potential buyers bid against each other to become the lucky winner of your home. That translates to a higher sale price for you—and potentially more money in your wallet.

On the other hand, if it is a buyer’s market, you may want to reconsider selling your home, if possible. Your home will be one of many options, making it less likely that it will sell in a timely manner and for the price you would like.

What the Markets Mean for You If You are Looking to Buy

If you are looking to buy a home, ideally, you would wait until it is a buyer’s market. During that time period, there will be more options out there to look at and more price points available.

That means you will be more apt to find a home within an affordable price range that also meets your needs and wants.

During a seller’s market, on the other hand, you could end up paying much more than you anticipated due to an overabundance of competition—other buyers looking for homes.

When you are ready to buy a home, we are here for you! Give us a call today to get started.


Pandemic Mortgage Relief 

June 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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With unemployment claims at record levels in March and April as a result of the coronavirus-triggered economic slowdown, searches for “mortgage relief” also hit all-time highs, according to Google Trends data. Fortunately for those struggling to make payments, federal regulators ordered lenders to offer flexibility to more than half of all borrowers.

The mandate gives those who have lost their incomes the opportunity to petition their lenders to reduce or completely pause payments for as long as 12 months. It only covers loans guaranteed by government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but that includes most of the outstanding loans in the U.S.

If you lost your job and/or your income as a result of economic changes related to the coronavirus, there are some things you should do to ensure your home is protected while you look for work:

How to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief

  • Reach out to your mortgage servicer as soon as you know you likely will not be able to make a payment. Do not wait until the due date or, worse yet, just stop making payments without communicating with your lender.
  • In most cases, you will only need to explain your situation to a lender representative, who will then work with you to determine whether you qualify for relief and how much you might get. You should be ready to provide some details—potentially including how much income you lost, what your monthly bills look like and your overall financial picture—on this call.
  • Collect paperwork to document your hardship, which you may be asked to provide to your lender to support your claim. This may include notice of termination, unemployment documentation, and records of monthly expenses.
  • Have an idea of how you might be able to get back on track with payments when you are in a better financial position. This may mean paying more each month for a set period to catch up to where you would have been without the pause or reduction or extending the term of the loan. Your lender may dictate how this ground will be made up; otherwise, a representative should be able to help you decide what plan best fits your situation.

If you have other questions about home funding, please reach out to Trusted American Mortgage agents today!


Warmer Weather = Home-Buying Time 

May 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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The weather is getting warmer. The birds are chirping. The sun is out. And potential homebuyers are on a mission!

Have you been thinking about putting your home on the market? Our team of professionals at Trusted Home Mortgage wants you to see why the summer season might just be the perfect time to sell your home.

Prepare Now to Get Ahead

More than 5 million homes were sold in the United States in 2019. That adds up to a lot of competition when it comes to the housing market!

Fortunately, if you are one of the many homeowners looking to sell your home this summer, our team is here to offer you tips on how you can help get your home sold sooner rather than later:


Many people want to sell/buy in the summer because it gives the perfect opportunity to close on a home and move without interfering with the start of school.

When people buy in the summer, it gives their family an opportunity to become familiar with the neighborhood, as well as new schools and other extracurricular activities they might be interested in like new churches and sporting events.

So, as part of your prep work in this area, you want to make sure you can identify for potential buyers what is available in your area. Provide quick reference points for schools, churches, restaurants, entertainment venues, and other oft-needed organizations.

Sparkling-clean Spaces

Summer is also a great time to sell—particularly this year—because you have likely just completed a comprehensive spring-clean. Your home is sparkling and sanitized, making it easier for potential buyers to see the opportunities your house offers to them.

Take this one step further by decluttering your space and leaving visible only what is necessary. Buyers, after all, want to see their own dreams within your house’s walls, not your reality.

Curb Appeal

While you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, we all do, which is why it is vital for your home’s curb appeal to be on point when putting your home on the market. You want to give prospective homebuyers the wow factor as soon as they pull up your driveway.

Seize the opportunity now to clean up your outdoor spaces and give them a good shine. Work on your own or with a landscaper to boost your curb appeal with a lush lawn and decorative flowerbeds. You can even add little touches like a new coat of paint to the front door, providing a literal good first impression.

Are you ready to see yourself in a new home this summer? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!


Take the First Step to Buying a Home, Get Pre-Approved!

April 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Is 2020 the year for a new home? You have come to the right place! Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to find the home of your dreams.

But first things first, you want to make sure you take the steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before going on a house hunt. Learn why:

Why Is It Important to Get Pre-Approved for a New Home?

Before you get the itch to start looking at homes currently available on the market, it is important to make sure you are not jumping the gun. Rather, the first step in the home-buying process is that of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

But why?

You want to make sure you know how much home you can afford. There is nothing more disappointing than going house-hunting only to find that the houses you are looking at are out of your price range.

Therefore, get a better idea of how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you go house-hunting. That way you will not be disappointed if you find a home and, then, it ends up being out of your price range.

If you do find a home you love, you can be one step ahead of other potential homebuyers by having a pre-approval letter in your hand. When you go in to make an offer on a house that you love, the sellers can know that you mean business.

In addition, this can help sellers feel more comfortable in accepting your offer since they do not have to worry about whether you can get funding for a new home since you are already pre-approved for a mortgage.

Are You Ready to Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan?

Now that you know why it is important to get pre-approved for a home mortgage before looking at houses, set up an appointment with us to get started on the pre-approval process. Just make sure you bring the following documents with you:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • W-2s from the previous two years
  • Asset information
  • Driver's license or passport
  • Social Security number

It is not just a house. It is a home! Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to learn how we can help you get started in finding your dream home sooner rather than later.


 Home Sweet Home 

March  2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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Whether this is your first time buying a house or your fifth, the same outcome is always desired, you want to find a house that you can turn into a home!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can turn the house of your needs into the home of your dreams with some simple touches. Let's look at some ways you can add your own style into your house in order to make it more of a home:

Bring in the Greenery

What makes the best gift? A houseplant! Not only can houseplants help to improve the air quality inside your home, but they can also help add warmth and comfort for both your loved ones and your guests!

Paint the Walls Red

Well, not necessarily red. But don't be afraid to go outside the box when painting the walls of your home to fit whatever meets your style.

Whether you go for Pantone's Color of the Year in the dining room or beige in the living room or pink and white stripes for your daughter's bedroom, you want each room to have its own meaning, while also having a flow that is all your own.

The Writing is on the Wall

Along with painting the walls, do not be afraid to also add some of your family pictures, favorite quotes, and other favorite artwork to the wall to really spice things up inside your home.

When you are surrounded by photos of your loved ones, even when alone, you can feel as though you are in the comfort of your own home surrounded by the people you love the most!

Artwork, mirrors, and other home decor can also help to give life to the walls of your house in order to help make it a home.

Are you on the search for a new house that you can turn into a home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help you get started!


Make Liv
ing in Your Home Easier When It's for Sale  

February 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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When you are selling your home, it can be difficult to also live in it. You want everything to stay just right in case the next visitor to your home is the potential buyer!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to know how you can make your home livable while trying to sell it in 2020.

Let's take a look at ways you can do just that:

Start Packing Now 

You are going to sell your home one day, so why not go ahead and start cleaning out each room? You can start making bins of what you want to donate, sell, throw out and move.

When you start clearing out your home, you can move items you're going to keep into a storage area and get items you're discarding or selling out of the house entirely. This will help ensure your house remains as clutter-free as possible even while you're still living in it!

Rent a Storage Unit

Now that you've decluttered, you probably need to clear some of the items you'll be keeping out of your home. Doing so will help make sure that potential buyers can visualize themselves in your house rather than simply seeing all your stuff.

One thing that may make things easier for you and your family is to move items and furniture that's not deemed essential into a storage unit or other available storage space.

Organize Your Showings

While you want your home to be available and ready for potential homebuyers to see, it's still your house! You need to have some boundaries around when you will be in the house and when it will be available for buyers to view.

Work with your Realtor to determine days and times that your house can be shown and when it should be off-limits.

By knowing the days and times your home will be shown, you will be better able to work around that schedule. You'll be able to ensure that your house is cleaned for visitors when needed but can feel more comfortable to truly live in the space on days no one will be stopping by.

Are you needing to move from one home to another? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!

Copyright© 2020 Trusted American Mortgage


3 Resolutions You Can Make for Your Home | Trusted American Mortgage

January 1, 2020 | By Patrick Donlon

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It's the start of a new year and the time many of us start implementing resolutions for the year ahead. Why not add one or two to the list related to your home? After all, it's a big investment, so you want to make the most of it!

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to learn how you can best care for your new home by establishing strong resolutions for 2020. Consider adding these resolutions to your list:

Make a List of Home Improvement Projects

While you do not have to take care of every home project all at once, you do want to have a running list of to-dos in order to keep your home improvement projects streamlined.

After making a list of everything you want to accomplish, you want to start listing them from highest priority to lowest priority. That way you can ensure the most important home tasks get taken care of as soon as possible, such as HVAC issues and electrical upgrades.

Make Your House Your Home

There is having a house, and then there is having a home. Although one might think these two terms are the same, they are actually very different. A house is just that, a house. But a home is so much more.

When you walk into your home, you want to be able to take a deep breath and just feel instantly at ease knowing you are safe and sound. Through home decor, home security and other ways, you can be sure to turn your house into a home in the new year!

Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient

Your electric bill comes once a month. Wouldn't it be nice to see that bill as low as possible?

Let's take a look at ways you can start making your home energy-efficient today:

  • Unplugging unused electronics
  • Turning off unnecessary water
  • Sealing all windows
  • Using energy-efficient lightbulbs
  • Turning off lights when not in the room
  • Lowering your thermostat

Then, you can use the savings of your electrical bill each month to put toward your home improvement projects on your resolution list. It's a win-win!

Are you on the search for a new home? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!

What's Trending in Home-buying for 2020? | Trusted American Mortgage

December 1, 2019 | By Patrick Donlon

Everyone is always wanting to stay on top of the latest trends, and who can blame them?

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to inform you on the latest trends happening within the housing and mortgage market as we enter a new year!

Whether you are in the market for a new house or not, you have probably heard the phrases buyer's market and seller's market in passing. But what do these really mean?

In previous months (and years), it has certainly been a seller's market, which basically means the seller has the upper hand when negotiating the sale of a home. However, the tables are turning a little bit, which means it is becoming more of a buyer's market. That means the buyer will now have more of the power when it comes to negotiating the cost of a home.

Are you looking to sell your home in 2020? Sooner is better than later, especially since things could change within the new year. Some economic experts believe a recession could hit by 2021 and the effects could start to appear in later 2020. So now may be the time to look to sell.

A third trend to watch for in the mortgage industry is the ability to refinance. People refinance a home for a number of reasons, including:

  • Obtaining a lower interest rate and mortgage payment
  • Reducing PMI
  • Moving from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage
  • Buying out an ex-spouse

Even if you recently bought a home, you should still consider checking out the current refinancing rate, as you could still take advantage of a great deal in 2020!

Remember, trends are always changing, including in the housing and mortgage market. While these are some of the trends now, you never know what will happen throughout the next year! Take advantage of what you can now so that you don't regret missing out later.

Are you on the search for a new home in the new year? Check out our Trusted American Mortgage website today to find out how we can help!


Home for the Holidays! | Trusted American Mortgage
November 1- By Patrick Donlon

Can you believe we are already entering November? Where has this year gone? It always seems each year passes by faster than the next.

However, now it really is crunch time when searching for a new home just before the holidays. Our team at Trusted American Mortgage is here to help you find the perfect home just in time to celebrate the holidays with loved ones.

Be Settled in a New Home for the Holidays

While house hunting can be fun, during this time of year, you also want to be able to decorate it for the holidays! Therefore, you might want to consider ways you can find your new home fast so that you have plenty of time to celebrate it before the holiday season begins.

With the pressure on, let's take a look at ways you can find the perfect home:

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The first thing you want to do before you start the hunt for the perfect house this holiday season is to go ahead and get pre-approved for a mortgage. The last thing you want to do is waste time looking at homes you cannot afford.

Therefore, take care of this first step before moving forward in the homebuying process.

Get All the Documentation Ready

When you find the right home, you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row in order to make the home buying process as efficient as possible, especially around this time of year when you have no time to waste!

The following are documents homebuyers need when purchasing a new home, such as:

  • Federal tax returns for the past two years
  • Supporting information (e.g., W-2, 1099, or other tax forms) for the past two years
  • Two months' worth of statements from any checking and savings, 401(k), retirement, and other accounts
  • Pay stubs for the past month

Prepare for Your Move

Although you may not be sure of where your new home will be, you do know that there will be a move. Therefore, start planning for your move now so that when the time does come to begin moving into your new home, you already have a head start on packing!

Also, go ahead and do some of the legwork, like determining the steps to take to get cable and internet set up, gas turned on, and other such tasks.

Are you looking for a new home just before the holidays? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to learn how we can help!


Is It Time to Refinance Your Home? | Trusted American Mortgage

August 1, 2019 by Parick Donlon

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Refinancing your mortgage can certainly save you money. However, before you pull the plug on refinancing your home, our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants to make sure that you time it just right to benefit most.

Let's take a look at some things to consider when it comes to determining whether you should refinance your mortgage:

Is It a Better Interest Rate?

You want to make sure that when you refinance your mortgage that you are able to obtain a better interest rate. Now only can the interest rate help with lowering your monthly payment, it can also help you save money throughout the lifetime of your home loan.

Therefore, you want to make sure you are improving your interest rate in order to improve your overall finances in the end!

In order to know if your interest rate is going to be better, you also need to be aware of your current credit score. If your credit score is higher than what it was when you first bought your home, then there is a good chance that you'll receive a better interest rate offer this time around.

However, if your credit score is lower than when you first became a homeowner, then you might want to rethink refinancing.

Do You Have Upcoming Expenses?

This is where you consider whether your financial needs merit refinancing to free up more money.

Are you in need of cash to help cover your child's college tuition or are you looking to make big improvements to your home?

Then, refinancing your mortgage might be the best (and cheapest) way to free up the money you need for a big expense.

Will You Ultimately Save Money?

The ultimate goal of refinancing in most cases is to save money in the long run. So carefully consider the details of any mortgage refinance offer to determine whether it will help you do that.

You'll want to examine not just the interest rate and new monthly payment, but also the total amount due, and whether that represents an actual savings over your current mortgage. A mortgage loan officer will be able to step you through all the details so you can make an informed decision.

Are you looking to refinance your home? Give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call today to learn how to get started!


Home Loan Pre-Approval: What Is It & How to Get It | Trusted American Mortgage       September1-Pat Donlon

*There is no place like home, Dorothy

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage completely understands the need and desire to want to go house-hunting as soon as it is decided that you are in the market for a new home.

However, have you ever found something you loved and then realized at the end that you couldn't afford it? It quickly puts a damper on the entire experience and makes it hard to move forward to find something you love even more.

Therefore, rather than going in blind when house-hunting, know how much home you can afford by getting pre-approved for your mortgage before starting the search for your new home!

Things to Know About Getting Pre-Approved

Finding your dream home should be fun! So, take the risk of being disappointed out of the equation by getting pre-approved before you start hunting.

What is this pre-approval, you might ask? Well, it essentially tells you how much of a loan a bank is willing to provide to you. This will provide you with clear parameters on what you're able to afford, and what you are not.

The first thing to know, though, is that just because you get approved for a $300,000 home mortgage, it doesn't mean you need to buy a $300,000 home! It's very important that you truly understand the costs of homeownership, above and beyond just the monthly mortgage. Make sure to set yourself up for success!

How can you obtain the best possible terms for your loan? It's all about credit.

First, you want to make sure that your credit score is ready for a home mortgage. The higher the credit score, the better the interest rate on your home loan. Start taking steps to improve your score by making all payments on time, not closing old accounts and paying off your credit accounts monthly when possible.

In addition, you also want to make sure your debt-to-income ratio isn't too unbalanced. If most of your income is going toward paying off debt, that won't reflect positively when applying for a mortgage. So, work to pay down some of the debt prior to house-hunting, for best results.

Are you in the market for a new home? Before you start house-hunting, give our team at Trusted American Mortgage a call to discover how much home you can afford.


It's Time to Talk Closing Costs! | Trusted American Mortgage
October 1 -Pat Donlon

It never fails. You think you have everything you need to buy a home and, then, bam. You completely forgot to factor in the closing costs.

Our team at Trusted American Mortgage wants you to be as prepared as possible when it comes to buying a new home by making sure you include closing costs within your budget.

How Low Can the Closing Costs Go?

Of course, one thing you want to make sure you do is lower the closing costs as much as possible. Let's take a look at a few ways you can make certain you get the best price possible when it comes to closing costs on your new home.

What Will the Seller Pay For?

Just because you are paying for some of the closing costs of the home, it doesn't mean the seller isn't responsible, too. Although the seller usually pays for the real estate agent commissions, they are also usually responsible for paying for some of the closing costs.

In fact, in some markets, buyers can have the upper hand in sometimes asking the sellers to pay for all closing costs as a way to seal in the deal. However, this is only in some cases.

What If You Don't Have the Cash to Pay Closing Costs?

Are you unable to pay the closing costs associated with your new home? You can sometimes roll the closing costs into your overall mortgage payment, which can end up saving you money at closing.

However, because you are paying interest on your closing costs when putting it with the rest of your mortgage, you might actually be spending a little more in the end. Yet, this is a great way for you to have the closing costs paid for when you don't have access to the cash needed at the time of closing.

How Can You Be Better Prepared for Closing Costs?

When saving for your mortgage, you can also start saving for your closing costs. This way you will not be surprised when the time comes to discuss and pay closing costs so that you can still get the keys to your dream home!

Are you looking for more information about closing costs?  Call 303-558-1500 0r email: manager@trustedamerican.com


Warmer Weather = Home-Buying Time 


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