Amerifirst Financial Review: They Take Home Purchase Lending Seriously

Posted on February 24th, 2021

It’s not every day you come across a large-scale independent mortgage lender that has been around since the 1980s, but Amerifirst Financial Inc. fits that description.

The Arizona-based company understands that there’s more to the mortgage business than just refinances, which is why their goal is to be the lender of choice for real estate professionals in all the markets they serve.

This could be a pretty smart strategy if and when interest rates rise and the pool of eligible refinance candidates begins to run dry.

If you’re thinking about buying a home, Amerifirst could be good choice for your financing needs since they’re heavily focused on purchase loans. Let’s discover more about them.

Amerifirst Financial Fast Facts

  • Direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender
  • Founded in 1989, headquartered Mesa, Arizona
  • Offers home purchase financing and mortgage refinances
  • Funded more than $2 billion in home loans last year
  • Most active in Arizona, Colorado, and California
  • Licensed to do business in 43 states and the District of Columbia
  • Also operate several DBAs including AFI Mortgage, Spire Financial, and Truly Mortgage

Amerifirst Financial Inc. is a direct-to-consumer retail mortgage lender, meaning they operate a call center along with branches throughout the country.

The company was founded all the way back in 1989 and is headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, which is just east of Phoenix.

They also have branches in nine states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.

Amerifirst appears to specialize in home purchase financing, with roughly two-thirds of total volume dedicated to home buyers.

The rest can be attributed to mortgage refinances, including rate and term refinances and cash out refinances.

Last year, the company funded more than $2 billion in home loans, with nearly a billion in their home state of Arizona.

They’re also very active in Colorado and California, and have a decent presence in Nevada and Texas as well.

While they’re licensed in most states nationally, they don’t seem to be available in Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, or West Virginia.

How to Apply with Amerifirst Financial

  • You can get started instantly by visiting their website and clicking “Apply Now”
  • They offer a digital mortgage application powered by ICE that lets you complete most tasks on your own
  • It’s also possible to browse their online loan officer (or branch) directory first to find someone to work with nearby
  • Once your loan is submitted you can manage it 24/7 via the online borrower portal

Amerifirst Financial makes it super easy to get started on your home loan application.

Simply head to their website and click on the big “Apply Now” button and you’ll be off to the races.

That will take you to their digital mortgage application powered by ICE that lets you input all your personal and financial details electronically.

Then you can link financial accounts using your credentials to avoid having to scan/upload or track down your documents.

Additionally, you can order your own credit report and eSign disclosures to speed through the more painstaking part of the process in a matter of minutes.

Once your loan is submitted and approved, you’ll receive a to-do list with any conditions that must be met to get to the finish line.

You’ll also be able to track and manage your loan via the online borrower portal, and get in touch with your lending team if and when you have questions.

Those who prefer a more human touch can also visit a local branch and/or browse the online loan officer directory to learn more about the individuals who work there.

It may also be advisable to speak with a loan officer first to discuss loan pricing and available loan programs, then proceed to the online mortgage application.

In any case, they make it really simple to apply for a mortgage and manage your loan from start to finish thanks to the latest technology.

Protect Your Transaction Pre-Approval for Home Buyers

Protect Your Transaction

One perk to using Amerifirst Financial, especially if you’re buying a home in a competitive market, is their “Protect Your Transaction” loan commitment.

It goes beyond both a pre-qualification and pre-approval in that it’s underwritten upfront by a real human loan underwriter.

In fact, the PYT even comes with monetary assurance (up to $15,000, with an additional $5,000 for first responders and teachers), which represents their belief in the strength of your application.

So if the loan falls through and it turns out to be the lender’s fault, you could be entitled to that cash, which can also be shared with the seller. This may strengthen your offer.

Next to a cash offer, they believe it provides the greatest assurance that they can provide financing for your home purchase.

And that could just be enough to give you edge versus other home buyers on a hot home.

It may also give you peace of mind in the process, knowing you can actually get financing when all is said and done.

Loan Programs Offered by Amerifirst Financial

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, streamline
  • Conforming home loans
  • High-balance and jumbo home loans
  • FHA/USDA/VA loans
  • Down payment assistance
  • Green Value Mortgage
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Amerifirst Financial offers both home purchase loans and refinance loans, including rate and term, cash out, and streamline refinances.

You can get financing on a primary residence, including townhomes/condos, along with a vacation home or 1-4 unit investment property.

They offer all the popular loan types, including conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, high-balance and jumbo loans, and government-backed options like FHA, USDA, and VA loans.

They also offer an exclusive loan program known as the “Green Value Mortgage” that offers a reduced interest rate, fees, and discounted mortgage insurance if your property has a green score of 75 or lower.

You may also be eligible to receive up to 3.5% of the purchase price as a non-repayable gift. All the more reason to go green!

In terms of loan programs, you can get either a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or an adjustable-rate mortgage like a 7/1 or 5/1 ARM.

Amerifirst Financial Mortgage Rates

One slight negative to Amerifirst Financial is the fact that they don’t mention their mortgage rates anywhere on their website.

As such, we don’t have any clues about their loan pricing relative to other banks and lenders out there.

The same goes for lender fees, which aren’t clearly listed on their website to my knowledge.

This means you’ll need to get in touch with a loan officer to discuss rates and fees to ensure they are competitively priced.

Be sure to compare their rates/fees with other lenders before you proceed to the application if you want peace of mind on pricing front.

Customer service and competence is always important, especially when it comes to a home loan, but so is cost.

Amerifirst Financial Reviews

On Zillow, Amerifirst has a very impressive 4.98-star rating out of 5 from roughly 900 customer reviews, which is quite impressive given the volume of feedback.

On LendingTree, they have a perfect 5-star rating, though it’s based on just about 30 reviews. They also have a 100% recommended score there.

If you’re looking for more reviews, you can also check out local ones on Google for their brick-and-mortar branches nearest you.

Lastly, the company is Better Business Bureau accredited, and has been since 2014. They currently enjoy an ‘A+’ rating based on complaint history.

To sum it up, Amerifirst Financial could be a solid choice for someone purchasing a home (especially a first-time buyer) thanks to their robust Protect Your Transaction loan approval and variety of down payment assistance programs.

Amerifirst Financial Pros and Cons

The Good

  • You can apply for a home loan from any device in minutes
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by ICE
  • Lots of loan programs to choose from
  • Discounts for those who purchase a green home
  • Protect Your Transaction loan approval for home buyers
  • Excellent customer reviews from former customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited business since 2014
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage dictionary on site

The Not

  • Not available in all states currently
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website

(photo: nathanmac87)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

8 Steps to Buying a Vacation Home

If you’re like many Americans, you dream of having a beach house, a desert escape, or a mountain hideaway. Perhaps you’re tired of staying at hotels and want the comforts of home at your fingertips.

You’re ready to make this dream a reality. Before you do, consider these steps.

How to Buy a Vacation Home

1. Choose a Home That Fits Your Needs

As you begin your search for a vacation home, carefully consider your goals and needs. Start with the location. Do you prefer an urban or rural area? Lots of property or a townhouse with just a small yard to care for?

Consider what amenities are important to be close to. Where is the nearest grocery store? Is a hospital accessible?

Consider your goals for the property. Is this a place that only you and your family will use? Do you plan to rent it out from time to time? Or maybe you plan to be there only a couple of weeks out of the year, using it as a rental property the rest of the time.

The answers to these questions will have a cascade effect on the other factors you’ll need to consider, from financing to taxes and other costs.

2. Figure Out Financing

Next, consider what kind of mortgage works best for you, if you’re not paying cash. You may want to engage a mortgage broker or direct lender to help with this process.

If you have a primary residence, you may be in the market for a second mortgage. The key question: Are you purchasing a second home or an investment property?

Second home. A second home is one that you, family members, or friends plan to live in for a certain period of time every year and not rent it out. Second-home loans have the same rates as primary residences. The down payment could be as low as 10%, though 20% is typical.

Investment property. If you plan on using your vacation home to generate rental income, expect a down payment of 25% or 30% and a higher rate for a non-owner- occupied loan. If you need the rental income in order to qualify for the additional home purchase, you may need to identify a renter and have a lease. A lender still may only consider a percentage of the rental income toward your qualifying income.

Some people may choose to tap equity in their primary home to buy the vacation home. One popular option is a cash-out refinance, in which you borrow more than you owe on your primary home and take the extra money as cash.

3. Consider Costs

While you consider the goals you’re hoping to accomplish by acquiring a vacation home, try to avoid home buying mistakes.

A mortgage lender can delineate the down payment, monthly mortgage payment, and closing costs. But remember that there are other costs to consider, including maintenance of the home and landscape, utilities, furnishings, insurance, property taxes, and travel to and from the home.

If you’re planning on renting out the house, determine frequency and expected rental income. Be prepared to take a financial hit if you are unable to rent the property out as much as you planned. For a full picture of cost, check out our home affordability calculator.

4. Learn About Taxes

Taxes will be an ongoing consideration if you buy a vacation home.

A second home qualifies for mortgage interest and property tax deductions as long as the home is for personal use. And if you rent out the home for 14 or fewer days during the year, you can pocket the rental income tax-free.

If you rent out the home for more than 14 days, you must report all rental income to the IRS. You also can deduct rental expenses.

The mortgage interest deduction is available on total mortgages up to $750,000. If you already have a mortgage equal to the amount you on primary residence, your second home will not qualify.

The bottom line: Tax rules vary greatly, depending on personal or rental use.

5. Research Alternatives

There are a number of options to owning a vacation home. For example, you may consider buying a home with friends or family members, or purchasing a timeshare. But before you pursue an option, carefully weigh the pros and cons.

If you’re considering purchasing a home with other people, beware the potential challenges. Owning a home together requires a lot of compromise and cooperation.

You also must decide what will happen if one party is having trouble paying the mortgage. Are the others willing to cover it?

In addition to second home and investment properties, you may be tempted by timeshares, vacation clubs, fractional ownership, and condo hotels. Be aware that it may be hard to resell these, and the property may not retain its value over time.

6. Make It Easy to Rent

If you do decide to use your vacation home as a rental property, you have to take other people’s concerns and desires into account. Be sure to consider the factors that will make it easy to rent. A home near tourist hot spots, amenities, and a beach or lake may be more desirable.

Consider, too, factors that will make the house less desirable. Is there planned construction nearby that will make it unpleasant to stay at the house?

How far the house is from your main residence takes on increased significance when you’re a rental property owner. Will you have to engage a property manager to maintain the house and address renters’ concerns? Doing so will increase your costs.

7. Pay Attention to Local Rules

Local laws or homeowners association rules may limit who you can rent to and when.

For example, a homeowners association might limit how often you can rent your vacation home, whether renters can have pets, where they can park, and how much noise they can make.

Be aware that these rules can be put in place after you’ve purchased your vacation home.

8. Tap Local Expertise

It’s a good idea to enlist the help of local real estate agents and lenders.

Vacation homes tend to exist in specialized markets, and these experts can help you navigate local taxes, transaction fees, zoning, and rental ordinances. They can also help you determine the best time to buy a house in the area you’re interested in.

Because they are familiar with the local market and comparable properties, they are also likely to be more comfortable with appraisals, especially in low-population areas where there may be fewer houses to compare.

The Takeaway

Buying a vacation home can be a ticket to relaxation or a rough trip. It’s imperative to know the rules governing a second home vs. a rental property, how to finance a vacation house, tax considerations, and more.

Ready to buy? SoFi offers mortgages for second homes and investment properties, including single-family homes, two-unit buildings, condos, and planned unit developments.

SoFi also offers a cash-out refinance, all at competitive rates.

Got two minutes to spare? That’s how long it takes to check your rate for a mortgage with SoFi.



SoFi Home Loans
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. SoFi Home Loans are not available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

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Source: sofi.com

Can you use a 203k loan for an investment property?

203k loans for investors: A special use case

The FHA 203k rehab loan can be an affordable way to buy or refinance a home and refurbish it with a single loan. 

This might make the 203k loan attractive to investors and fix-and-flippers. But there’s a catch.

These mortgages are limited to ‘primary residences,’ meaning the borrower has to live in the home full time. So they’ll only work for specific types of investment properties. 

But there are ways to legally and ethically use a 203k loan for rentals and investments. Here’s how.

Verify your 203k loan eligibility (Feb 23rd, 2021)


In this article (Skip to…)


FHA 203k loan for investment properties

There’s only one legitimate way to use a 203k loan for an investment property. You can buy and renovate — or construct or convert — a multifamily (2-4 unit) building and live in one of the units.

FHA allows borrowers to purchase 2-, 3-, and 4-unit properties and renovate them using the 203k loan.

To fulfill FHA’s residency condition, you’ll need to occupy one of the units yourself as your primary residence for at least 12 months.

You can rent out the other unit(s), and even use the rental income to cover your monthly mortgage payments.

Benefits of the FHA 203k loan for investors

While this might not be your first idea of an investment property, it can be a foot in the door for first-time investors who want to test out owning and renting properties.

It’s also worth noting that since you’d be buying the property as a primary residence, you get access to lower interest rates.

This means you’d have lower monthly payments and pay less interest overall compared to someone with a ‘true’ investment property mortgage.

Drawbacks

The main downside to this strategy is that you yourself need to occupy one of the units for at least one year.

After 12 months, you could rent out the unit that you live in and move on to purchase other real estate.

But FHA is not for serial investors. Once you use one FHA loan, you likely can’t get another one. You’ll have to secure other financing if you move out and buy again.

Also, keep in mind that you will be living side by side with your future tenants for those 12 months — some may consider this a downside while others won’t mind.

Another downside: FHA loans come with pricey mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) which borrowers are normally stuck with until they sell or refinance into a different loan program.

So there’s a lot to consider before going the 203k investment property route.

But for the right borrower, this could be a great strategy to finance and renovate their own home and a few rental units at the same time.

Verify your 203k loan eligibility (Feb 23rd, 2021)

Can I use a 203k loan if I already own the home?

If you already bought your home, you can use a 203k rehab loan to refinance your current mortgage. This opens up another back door for investors.

You could potentially use the 203k loan to refinance your current home, make renovations, then move after one year and rent the house out as an investment property.

FHA allows you to rent out a home you still own with an FHA loan, as long as:

  • You fulfilled the one-year occupancy requirement
  • You moved for a legitimate reason, like a work relocation or upsizing to a bigger house for a growing family

This would only work for refinancing a home you currently live in and plan to keep occupying for at least a year after the loan closes.

If you already moved and kept your previous home as a rental property, you would not be able to use the 203k rehab loan since the home is no longer your primary residence.

How does the lender know if it’s my primary residence?

Some people make good livings by buying fixer-uppers and then selling them after rehab — aka “flipping” them.

A few might be tempted to take advantage of the 203k program by lying about their intention to live in the home. After all, how can the FHA prove in court what your intentions were when you made the application?

The main argument against this strategy is that lying on a mortgage application can be a felony that could see you in federal court.

Even an email to a contractor mentioning that you don’t intend to live there or other indication of your plans could show up in the court case.

And, repeat FHA buying would not be a viable long-term strategy.

FHA only allows borrowers to have one active FHA loan at a time, except in rare circumstances (for instance, if your work required you to relocate and you needed to buy another home near your new job).

In other words, borrowers cannot move once a year and continue financing new homes with FHA loans.

If you see yourself as an entrepreneur with a rosy future in real estate investing, set yourself up for success by choosing a legitimate financing option that keeps your options open in the long run.

Check your investment property loan options (Feb 23rd, 2021)

About the FHA 203k rehab loan

The 203k rehabilitation loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This mortgage program lets you buy a rundown home — a fixer-upper — and then renovate it using a single loan that covers the purchase price and cost of repairs.

If that involves demolishing the existing structure down to the foundations and rebuilding, that’s fine under 203k loan rules, too.

203k renovation loans are only for necessary repairs to improve the structure or livability of the home. So the funds can’t be used to add luxuries like tennis courts or swimming pools.

And there’s one more important rule: You cannot do the construction or remodeling work yourself. The 203k loan requires you to hire a reputable, licensed contractor, unless you are one yourself and you work full-time as a contractor.

Limited vs. Standard 203k mortgage

There are two flavors of the 203k program: the “Limited 203k mortgage” and the “Standard 203k.”

The Limited 203k used to be called the “Streamline 203k.” As its new name implies, this version is more restrictive about the amount you can spend and the types of work you can do. But it’s also less complicated, hence its former “streamline” moniker.

The maximum repair budget for a Limited 203k loan is around $31,000 ($35,000 officially, but there are mandatory reserve accounts that eat into that sum). And you can’t make any structural renovations to the home.

On the plus side, these loans require much less paperwork and hassle.

The Limited 203k loan is typically best for current homeowners who want to make cosmetic repairs or renovations. It works a bit like a cash-out refinance, except you must spend the money on the home improvements you’ve listed.

A “Standard 203k loan,” by contrast, allows much higher budgets and would be better for home buyers purchasing serious fixer-uppers that need structural repairs.

FHA loan requirements

The basic requirements for 203k loans are similar to those for other FHA mortgages:

  • A 3.5% down payment — Based on your purchase price and rehab budget combined, subject to an independent appraisal
  • Minimum 580 credit score — It may be possible to dip below 580 if you have a 10% or higher down payment
  • Debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less — No more than 43% of your gross monthly income can normally be eaten up by housing costs, existing debt payments, and other inescapable monthly obligations such as child support

Although the FHA sets these minimum requirements, you’ll be borrowing from a private lender. And they’re free to impose their own standards.

For example, some mortgage lenders require a credit score of 620 or 640 for an FHA loan. If one lender has set the bar too high for you, shop around for other, more lenient ones.

Verify your FHA 203k loan eligibility (Feb 23rd, 2021)

What repairs can you do with a 203k loan?

The FHA is putting up taxpayers’ money to guarantee part of your mortgage. So it’s not in the business of writing loans for luxury upgrades.

There are strict rules about the types of home renovations you can do and the amount of money you can borrow.

In fact, the total amount you can borrow for your home purchase and renovation costs is governed by current FHA loan limits, which vary depending on local home prices.

You can find the loan limit where you wish to buy using this lookup tool.

Maximum rehabilitation loan budgets

We already mentioned that a Limited 203k loan gives you a cap of around $31,000 on your rehab budget.

A Standard 203k lets you have as big a rehab budget as you want, capped only by your local loan limit minus the home’s purchase price.

Your total loan amount can be up to 110% of the property’s future value when complete.

But an appraiser will pore over your plans to make sure the final value of the home — after your projects are completed — will match the amount FHA is lending you.

What you can spend your rehab budget on

The Limited 203k is mostly intended for refreshing a home that’s a bit tired. So you can do things like:

  • Replacing flooring and carpeting
  • Installing or replacing an HVAC system
  • Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom
  • Fixing anything that’s unsafe
  • Making the home more energy-efficient

But you can’t use the money to do structural work, such as moving loadbearing walls or adding rooms.

The Standard 203k is very different.

You can do all the above and almost everything else, including serious construction work. Heck, you can even move the house to a different site if you get the FHA to approve your plans.

The 203k loan process

Limited 203k loans are pretty straightforward. Indeed, they’re easier than most to qualify for and set up.

But a Standard 203k isn’t like that. It may be your best path to your dream home. But there will be some extra hoops to jump through compared to a traditional mortgage.

Here’s the basic process to apply for and close an FHA 203k loan.

  1. Find your best lender — You can save thousands just by comparison shopping among multiple lenders. They aren’t all the same! Make sure the ones you consider offer FHA 203k loans and are experienced in delivering them. You’ll want a lender familiar with the specifics of 203k loans to make sure the process goes smoothly
  2. Get pre-approved — Pre-approval shows you your exact budget as well as your future interest rate. And you’ll get a chance to resolve any issues that arise in your application
  3. Find the home you want — This is the fun bit. But download the Maximum Mortgage Worksheet PDF from HUD’s website because that will help you assess whether your plans are affordable
  4. Find a 203k consultant — A 203k loan consultant will visit the home site, inspect the building, and then prepare a document outlining the project’s scope and specifications, along with a detailed cost breakdown for each of the repair tasks. He or she also prepares lender packages and contractor bid packages, along with draw request forms for stage payments
  5. Find a licensed contractor — Some lenders maintain lists of approved contractors. And your consultant may help you find a reputable one. Make sure candidates have proven records for projects similar to yours and are familiar with FHA 203k jobs. Many contractors add serious delays to 203k approval because they can’t seem to complete the paperwork correctly
  6. Have the home and project appraised — The lender will set this up for you
  7. Begin work — Once the appraisal is approved, the lender should let you close. And your contractor can then begin work, drawing on funds in an escrow account

Limited 203k loans require the borrower to live in the home while repairs are completed. So if it’s a new home purchase, you’ll have to move in within 60 days, which is the norm for FHA loans.

Standard 203k loans, on the other hand, might include structural repairs that render the home unlivable while construction is going on. In this case, the home buyer is not required to move in right away.

Rehab loan alternatives for investment properties

FHA 203k loans aren’t the only way to buy and renovate a home with one loan. Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation and Freddie Mac’s CHOICERenovation products can do much the same thing.

Since the HomeStyle and CHOICERenovation loans are conventional mortgage loans, they won’t charge for private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you put at least 20% down. This can save home buyers a lot of money on their monthly mortgage payments.

However, like the 203k loan, these programs are only available for primary residences.

If you’re buying a ‘true’ investment property — meaning you won’t live in one of the units yourself — these loans aren’t an option.

But investors have other renovation loans to choose from.

Traditionally, you would buy a home with a mortgage and then borrow separately — perhaps with a home equity line of credit or home equity loan — to make improvements. Then you could potentially refinance both loans into one later on.

Another option is using a cash-out refinance on your investment property or primary residence and putting the cashed-out funds toward repairs or upgrades.

Of course, all these types of loans require you to have enough equity built up to cover the cost of repairs.

And if you choose to draw from the equity in an existing investment property, you’ll pay higher interest rates.

But the upside is that there are no rules about how the funds can be spent. So if luxury upgrades are on your agenda, this could be the way to go.

Explore all your options

FHA 203k loans are only available to a select group of investors: Those who will buy a multi-unit property and live in one unit themselves.

For real estate investors looking to fix-and-flip or build a large portfolio of investment properties, an FHA loan isn’t the right answer. But there are plenty of other financing options out there.

Be sure to explore all your loan options before buying or renovating a home. Choosing the right program and lender can help you achieve your goals and save money on your project.

Verify your new rate (Feb 23rd, 2021)

Compare top lenders

Source: themortgagereports.com

How Much Is Capital Gains Tax on Real Estate? Plus: How To Avoid It

Capital gains tax is the income tax you pay on gains from selling capital assets—including real estate. So if you have sold or are selling a house, what does this mean for you?

If you sell your home for more than what you paid for it, that’s good news. The downside, however, is that you probably have a capital gain. And you may have to pay taxes on your capital gain in the form of capital gains tax.

Just as you pay income tax and sales tax, gains from your home sale are subject to taxation.

Complicating matters is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect in 2018 and changed the rules somewhat. Here’s what you need to know about all things capital gains.

What is capital gains tax—and who pays it?

In a nutshell, capital gains tax is a tax levied on possessions and property—including your home—that you sell for a profit.

If you sell it in one year or less, you have a short-term capital gain.

If you sell the home after you hold it for longer than one year, you have a long-term capital gain. Unlike short-term gains, long-term gains are subject to preferential capital gains tax rates.

What about the primary residence tax exemption?

Unlike other investments, home sale profits benefit from capital gains exemptions that you might qualify for under some conditions, says Kyle White, an agent with Re/Max Advantage Plus in Minneapolis–St. Paul.

The IRS gives each person, no matter how much that person earns, a $250,000 tax-free exemption on capital gains from a primary residence. You can exclude this capital gain from your income permanently.

“So if you and your spouse buy your home for $100,000, and years later sell for up to $600,000, you won’t owe any capital gains tax,” says New York attorney Anthony S. Park. However, you do have to meet specific requirements to claim this capital gains exemption:

  • The home must be your primary residence.
  • You must have owned it for at least two years.
  • You must have lived in it for at least two of the past five years.
  • You cannot have taken this exclusion in the past two years.

If you don’t meet all of these requirements, you may be able to take a partial exclusion for capital gains tax if you meet certain exceptions (e.g., if your job forces you to move before you live in the home two years). For more information, consult a tax adviser or IRS Publication 523.

What’s my capital gains tax rate?

For capital gains over that $250,000-per-person exemption, just how much tax will Uncle Sam take out of your long-term real estate sale? Under the new tax law, long-term capital gains tax rates are based on your income (pre-2018 it was based on tax brackets), explains Park.

Let’s break it down.

For single folks, you can benefit from the 0% capital gains rate if you have an income below $40,000 in 2020. Most single people will fall into the 15% capital gains rate, which applies to incomes between $40,001 and $441,500. Single filers with incomes more than $441,500, will get hit with a 20% long-term capital gains rate.

The brackets are a little bigger for married couples filing jointly, but most will get hit with the marriage tax penalty here. Married couples with incomes of $80,000 or less remain in the 0% bracket, which is great news. However, married couples who earn between $80,001 and $496,600 will have a capital gains rate of 15%. Those with incomes above $496,600 will find themselves getting hit with a 20% long-term capital gains rate.

  • Your tax rate is 0% on long-term capital gains if you’re a single filer earning less than $40,000, married filing jointly earning less than $80,000, or head of household earning less than $53,600.
  • Your tax rate is 15% on long-term capital gains if you’re a single filer earning between $40,000 and $441,500, married filing jointly earning between $80,001 and $486,600, or head of household earning between $53,601 and $469,050.
  • Your tax rate is 20% on long-term capital gains if you’re a single filer, married filing jointly, or head of household earning more than $496,600. For those earning above $496,600, the rate tops out at 20%, says Park.

Don’t forget, your state may have its own tax on income from capital gains. And very high-income taxpayers may pay a higher effective tax rate because of an additional 3.8% net investment income tax.

If you held the property for one year or less, it’s a short-term gain. You pay ordinary income tax rates on your short-term capital gains. That’s the same income tax rates you would pay on other ordinary income such as wages.

Do home improvements reduce tax on capital gains?

You can also reduce the amount of capital gains subject to capital gains tax by the cost of home improvements you’ve made. You can add the amount of money you spent on any home improvements—such as replacing the roof, building a deck, replacing the flooring, or finishing a basement—to the initial price of your home to give you the adjusted cost basis. The higher your adjusted cost basis, the lower your capital gain when you sell the home.

For example: if you purchased your home for $200,000 in 1990 and sold it for $550,000, but over the past three decades have spent $100,000 on home improvements. That $100,000 would be subtracted from the sales price of your home this year. Instead of owing capital gains taxes on the $350,000 profit from the sale, you would owe taxes on $250,000. In that case, you’d meet the requirements for a capital gains tax exclusion and owe nothing.

Take-home lesson: Make sure to save receipts of any renovations, since they can help reduce your taxable income when you sell your home. However, keep in mind that these must be home improvements. You can’t take a deduction from income for ordinary repairs and maintenance on your house.

How the tax on capital gains works for inherited homes

What if you’re selling a home you’ve inherited from family members who’ve died? The IRS also gives a “free step-up in basis” when you inherit a family house. But what does that mean?

Let’s say Mom and Dad bought the family home years ago for $100,000, and it’s worth $1 million when it’s left to you. When you sell, your purchase price (or “basis”) is not the $100,000 your folks paid, but instead the $1 million it’s worth on the last parent’s date of death.

You pay capital gains tax only on the difference between what you sell the house for, and the amount it was worth when your last parent died.

What if I have a loss from selling real estate?

If you sell your personal residence for less money than you paid for it, you can’t take a deduction for the capital loss. It’s considered to be a personal loss, and a capital loss from the sale of your residence does not reduce your income subject to tax.

If you sell other real estate at a loss, however, you can take a tax loss on your income tax return. The amount of loss you can use to offset other taxable income in one year may be limited.

How to avoid capital gains tax as a real estate investor

If the home you’re selling is not your primary residence but rather an investment property you’ve flipped or rented out, avoiding capital gains tax is a bit more complicated. But it’s still possible. The best way to avoid a capital gains tax if you’re an investor is by swapping “like-kind” properties with a 1031 exchange. This allows you to sell your property and buy another one without recognizing any potential gain in the tax year of sale.

“In essence, you’re swapping one investment asset for another,” says Re/Max Advantage Plus’ White. He cautions, however, that there are very strict rules regarding timelines and guidelines with this transaction, so be sure to check them with an accountant.

If you’re opting out of the rental property investment business and putting your money in another venture that does not qualify for the 1031 exchange, then you’ll owe the capital gains tax on the profit.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Source: realtor.com

What Is a 1031 Exchange – Defer Taxes on Like-Kind Real Estate

When you hold an asset such as an investment property for longer than one year and sell it for a profit, you pay capital gains taxes on that profit.

Maybe. Or maybe not, if you use tax loopholes like a 1031 exchange to postpone paying capital taxes indefinitely.

In fact, many real estate investors use 1031 exchanges to continually roll profits from each property into ever-larger income properties, never paying a cent in capital gains taxes until the day they decide to sell off their portfolio. A day that never comes for some lifelong investors.

As you explore ways to lower your taxes as a real estate investor, add 1031 exchanges to your tax-shrinking toolkit.

What Is a 1031 Exchange?

Not-so-creatively named after the section of U.S. tax code that details it, 1031 exchanges allow investors to “swap” one property for a similar property without paying capital gains taxes on the sold property. It initially applied when two parties swapped properties with one another, but nowadays 1031 exchanges are mostly used when investors sell off a property then use the proceeds to buy another from a different seller.

Investors defer or postpone paying capital gains taxes until they sell a property without buying a new replacement property.

Historically, citizens could perform a like-kind exchange on any type of personal property, such as franchise licenses, aircraft, and equipment. However that changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which no longer allows 1031 exchanges for personal property. Only real estate qualifies under the new tax rules.


The Real Estate Strategy Behind 1031 Exchanges

When you first start investing in real estate, you probably don’t have much cash. You might buy a small rental property that generates $150 a month, and set about saving up more money.

After a few years, you’ve saved up more cash and built some equity in your rental property. You decide to upgrade to a three-unit property that generates $500 per month.

So you sell your single-family rental, and combine the proceeds with your savings to buy the new three-unit property. With a 1031 exchange, you defer paying capital gains taxes on your profits from selling the single-family rental.

A few years later, you repeat the process, selling the three-unit property and buying a six-unit property that cash flows $1,000 per month. Again, you defer paying capital gains taxes on the three-unit building you sold by using a 1031 exchange to roll the profits into the new purchase.

Then you do it again to buy a 15-unit apartment building that generates $2,500 per month. Then a 30-unit complex, then a 50-unit complex, and then you retire with $15,000 per month in net rental income.

In short, you keep snowballing the profits of your real estate to trade up to ever-larger buildings with greater cash flow. All without paying a dime in capital gains taxes as you upgrade from one property to the next.

Pro tip: Have you been thinking about purchase a rental property? Roofstock gives you the ability to purchase turnkey properties all over the United States. Learn more about Roofstock.


1031 Exchange Requirements

To qualify for a 1031 exchange, both you and your real estate deal have to meet certain criteria. That criteria starts with the simple rule that investments must be “like-kind,” meaning both properties involved must be investment properties.

Keep the following in mind before you commit to any 1031 exchange plans.

Available to Investors Only — Not Homeowners

Like-kind exchanges are not available to homeowners, only to real estate investors.

Before you cry foul about how real estate investors get unfair tax breaks, this rule exists for a good reason: homeowners don’t need it. They already benefit from the homeowner exclusion, which exempts them from paying capital gains taxes on the first $250,000 of profits ($500,000 for married couples) when selling their home.

In other words, most homeowners don’t pay capital gains taxes when they sell their home anyway.

Equal or Greater Value

To capitalize on the 1031 exchange tax break, the new property you buy must cost at least as much as the property you sold. Otherwise, investors could scale down their portfolios without paying taxes either.

If you buy a replacement property at a lower price, you get taxed on the difference in value. More on taxable “boot” shortly.

Applies to Income Properties, Not Flips

The 1031 exchange was designed for long-term investments, not rapid house flipping. Specifically, the IRS rules state that you can’t exchange properties “held primarily for resale.”

Like-kind exchanges help you postpone or avoid long-term capital gains taxes — which apply to assets held for at least a year — not regular income taxes on short-term profits. If you want to use a 1031 exchange, hold your property for at least a year before selling it.

Time Limits

There are two time limits you need to remember when doing a 1031 exchange.

After you sell your old property, you have 45 days to declare a new replacement property. Known as the 45-day rule, you have to submit the details about your upcoming property purchase to a qualified intermediary (middleman — more on that shortly). The IRS does recognize that sometimes deals fall through however, so they allow you to specify up to three potential properties.

This raises the second time-based rule: the 180-day rule. You have up to 180 days to settle on the new property after you sell your original property.

Note that the clock starts ticking on both time requirements from the day that you close on selling your first property. The 180-day rule starts then, not when you declare your new property or submit your property options, as the case may be.

Qualified Intermediary Must Hold Funds

When you do a 1031 exchange, you can’t touch the profits from the relinquished property. You need to pay a disinterested third party — a qualified intermediary — to hold the money for you in escrow between when you sell one property and buy another.

In fact, the qualified intermediary must actually buy the new property on your behalf, and then transfer the deed to you afterward. There are no licensing requirements to become a qualified intermediary, but you can’t use a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. You also can’t use someone already serving as your “agent,” such as your real estate agent, accountant, or attorney.

Some banks, such as Wells Fargo, offer to serve as a qualified intermediary on your behalf, but beware they charge a fee.


Boot, Debt, and Cash

If you have cash left over from the sale of your old property that doesn’t go toward buying the new property, the qualified intermediary returns it to you 180 days after you closed on selling the old property. Known as “boot” based on the old English word meaning “something in addition to” — today rarely used outside the expression “to boot” — the IRS taxes this surplus cash as capital gains.

Straightforward enough. But beware that boot covers not only the cash you receive, but the difference in debt levels.

Say you sell a property for $300,000, of which $200,000 goes toward paying off a mortgage, and the other $100,000 goes to the qualified intermediary to help fund the replacement property (ignoring closing costs for simplicity). The boot principle applies not just to the $100,000 in cash, but also to the $200,000 in debt.

Remember, to avoid capital gains taxes on the sold property, you need to buy a replacement property of equal or greater value. You can’t go out and buy a property for $100,000 just because that’s your cash payout after selling the old property. Or rather, you could, but you’d still owe Uncle Sam capital gains taxes.

To avoid any capital gains taxes, the new property must cost you at least what you sold the old property for — in this case, $300,000.


How Depreciation Fits In

Real estate investors can depreciate the cost of the building and some closing costs for the first 27.5 years they own a property. In other words, depreciation refers to a tax deduction that the taxpayer spreads over multiple years rather than taking all at once. They can also depreciate the cost of any capital improvements, although the period varies.

When investors sell a property, they have to effectively pay the IRS back for the depreciation deductions they took. Known as depreciation recapture, the IRS taxes you at your regular income tax rate for it.

Fortunately, you can dodge depreciation recapture just like capital gains taxes using a 1031 exchange. That is, if you swap two like-kind properties that both have buildings on them. If you buy a piece of raw land with no building on it, you still owe depreciation recapture because it’s the building that’s depreciated. Speak with a tax professional because these quirks can quickly cause confusion and tax errors.


1031 Exchanges and Personal Use Properties

The IRS makes it clear: 1031 exchanges exist for investment properties, not personal residences. Still, the real world is a messy place, and sometimes property owners change the use of their properties.

Converting a Second Home Into a Vacation Rental

Imagine a scenario where you own a vacation home, and aren’t particularly interested in paying capital gains taxes upon selling it. So you start renting it on Airbnb as a vacation rental.

The IRS allows you to use a 1031 exchange to defer capital gains taxes when you sell it, if you meet two conditions:

  1. For each of the last two years (measured as 12-month periods, not calendar years), the property was rented at fair market pricing for 14 or more days, and
  2. You limited your own personal use of the property to the greater of 14 days or 10% of the number of days that it was rented at fair market pricing within each 12-month period.

Note that you must use the property primarily as a rental for at least two years before you can do a 1031 exchange on it.

Converting a Rental Into Your Residence

The reverse also holds true if you want to convert the new property into your primary residence in order to take advantage of the $500,000 homeowner exclusion.

After you perform a 1031 exchange to swap one investment property for another, you can’t move into the new property for at least two years. Specifically, the property must be fair-market rented for at least 14 days in each of those two years, and you can’t use the property yourself for more than 14 days in each of those years or 10% of the days it was rented.

If you wait those two years and use the property as a rental, you can then move in, but you must live there yourself for at least two years before you can take advantage of the primary residence exclusion. So yes, you can theoretically roll your capital gains into an eventual residence and dodge the first $500,000 in taxes on them, but it involves a lengthy multi-step process to pull off.


Does a 1031 Exchange Make Sense for You?

Deferred exchanges work marvelously for a specific type of investor looking to roll their gains into ever-larger properties with greater cash flow. Even if you fit that description, however, they don’t always make sense.

First, it could be unnecessary. If you take capital losses elsewhere one year, they offset your capital gains. For example, say you sell some stocks for a $30,000 loss, and you sell your rental property for a $35,000 gain. The IRS would only hit you with capital gains taxes on the net gain of $5,000 — hardly a tax scenario to spill tears over.

For that matter, you can actively harvest losses to offset your capital gains.

You should also consider your own cash needs. Sure, it’d be nice to avoid capital gains taxes, but if you need the money for another use rather than buying a new investment property, that could take precedence.

For instance, say you sell a property for a $35,000 gain, but you incur $20,000 in medical expenses. Or you desperately need a new roof, or you need to pay off your degenerate brother-in-law’s debts to the mob so he doesn’t swim with the fishes. You get the idea: tax optimization is great, but only to the extent that it fits with your other financial needs.


Final Word

As real estate tax perks go, 1031 exchanges fall on the more complex end of the spectrum. Don’t approach them cavalierly, and speak with a financial professional before attempting your first one.

Still, they offer a fantastic opportunity to scale your investment portfolio without having to pay capital gains taxes along the way. If you hope to generate ever-growing income from real estate investments, consider swapping out your lesser cash-flowing properties for greater ones and deferring capital gains taxes for another day.

Source: moneycrashers.com

How to Buy a Home in Logan, Utah

Whether you’ve lived in Logan all your life and are ready to look for your first home or you’re looking to relocate to this charming Northern Utah town, there are a few things you should know about becoming a Logan homeowner. If you’re wondering where to start, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the home buying process in Logan, Utah.

Check Out the Market Performance

Buying a home is a big decision and a big investment. Many Utah cities have high-performing markets right now, so how does Logan compare?

The median home price in Utah was $384,000 at the end of 2020. In comparison, Logan’s median price is $234,737. The affordability of Logan homes is great news for buyers hoping to enter the market for the first time. Anyone hoping to use their Logan home as an investment property should be similarly happy to know they don’t need quite as much cash upfront as they would in some of Utah’s pricier locations.

Although Logan prices are currently lower than the average in Utah, home values are forecasted to increase by as much as 5.7% in 2021, so you can feel confident about your investment.

Get to Know the Logan Culture

Before you become a Logan homeowner, you should get an idea of what it’s like to be a resident. Many people love Logan for its small-town charm, paired with some big-city amenities.

For many residents, Logan culture revolves around outdoor life. You’ll rarely find locals who haven’t been to Logan Canyon or Bear Lake. Because of the easy access to all kinds of outdoor activities, Logan locals are used to stunning sights that many people have to drive hours to reach.

In addition to the outdoor attractions, the city’s arts and culture scene is thriving. The Utah Festival Opera brings world-class talent to Logan every summer. There are also multiple dance companies and numerous theater performances, making this a perfect city for art lovers.

Utah State University also makes Logan a great place for owning rental properties. Whether you’re planning on making your home a rental property right away, or you have ideas of finding tenants years down the road, you’re unlikely to have any issues finding renters from Logan’s large student population.

If you’re already a Logan resident, you may feel like you know the city quite well, but there are regulations you may not be aware of that are unique to homeowners. If you’re planning on being a landlord, it’s important to be aware of rules about maximum occupancy, which vary by neighborhood. Be sure to look up the regulations in your prospective neighborhood before you make your purchase.

Determine your Financing Options

One of the first steps in becoming a homeowner deciding how you’ll finance your home. While some buyers make their purchase without a loan, it’s more common to work with a lender to finance your house.

While finding the right lender might not be the most exciting step in the home buying process, it’s the step that’s likely to have the biggest impact on you long term. If you go with a lender whose rates are too high, you could end up wasting thousands of dollars each year in paying extra interest.

Be sure to shop around to find a lender with a good interest rate who’s also easy to work with. Homie Loans™* has a guarantee that they can beat any other lender’s rates, and if not, they’ll give you $500 cash.**

Choose an Agent Who’s Got Your Back

If you’ve already started the search for an agent, you’re likely aware of how many options there are. While real estate agents aren’t too hard to come by, truly expert agents can be, and these are the types of agents who make all the difference.

Expert agents know how to negotiate prices to get you the price you’re looking for. They also know how to build a compelling offer so you get the house you want, even if you’re facing some competition. These agents also understand the ins and outs of the local Logan market.

It’s important to find an agent not only knows the intricacies of the industry but also who clicks with you. This agent will be a top-notch communicator, and they’ll be able to understand the details of your dream home. They’ll use this knowledge, combined with their local expertise, to find you a house you feel great about.

It may sound like an agent who is so highly skilled would be too good to be true or else they’d cost a fortune to work with, but at Homie, we have some of the highest performing agents in the industry. They’re ready to work with you without breaking the bank. In fact, when you work with a Homie agent, you get top-quality service and a $2,500 refund when you close. If you’re ready to work with a Homie pro to buy your Logan home, click here to get in touch!

***Subject to terms and conditions.

Learn More About Utah Real Estate!

Guide to Buying Rental Properties in St. George, UT
How to Buy Rental Properties in Park City, UT
What’s the Best Time to Sell a Home in Utah?

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Source: homie.com

762: A Five-Year Plan for Building Wealth Through Real Estate with Ben Riehle

Want to build lasting wealth fast? If so, you won’t want to miss this Real Estate Rockstars with agent and investor Ben Riehle! On today’s show, he shares his five-year plan for building wealth via investment properties. You’ll hear how to start saving for your first investment property, where to find excellent real estate deals, and more. Plus, Ben shares insightful tips on building successful real estate companies (he owns three), advice on maintaining top-of-mind awareness with past and potential clients, and other strategies for agents looking to bring in more business.

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Assurance Financial Review: So Fast You Can Apply During Halftime

Posted on February 11th, 2021

Today we’ll check out a mortgage lender based in the south by the name “Assurance Financial,” which is headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Aside from being fans of LSU, they also say you can apply for a mortgage during halftime, which is handy if you’re a sports fan.

They’re able to get things done quickly because they’ve employed the latest cutting-edge technology, and they do everything in-house. Let’s learn more.

Assurance Financial Fast Facts

  • Direct mortgage lender that operates online
  • Offers home purchase financing, refinances, and construction loans
  • Founded in 2001, headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Licensed in 43 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded more than $1 billion in home loans last year
  • Does most of their business in home state of Louisiana

Assurance Financial is an independent, direct-to-consumer full-service residential mortgage banker that offers home purchase financing, mortgage refinances, and construction loans.

This means you can apply for a home loan directly from their website so you don’t need to leave your couch.

But while the company mostly operates online, they do have physical branches in eight states nationwide to serve customers locally.

They’ve been around since the turn of the century, which is a lifetime in the mortgage biz, and funded more than $1 billion in home loans last year.

At present, they’re licensed in 43 states and the District of Columbia, but not currently available in Arizona, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, or Utah.

Much of their business came from their home state of Louisiana, along with Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia.

About 70% of total volume comes from home purchase loans, with the remainder mostly refinances and some HELOCs.

How to Apply for a Mortgage with Assurance Financial

abby

  • You can call them, have them call you, get in touch with a loan officer, or use their digital assistant Abby
  • Their digital mortgage offering is powered by leading fintech company Blend
  • It allows you to complete most of the process electronically from any device
  • They handle the entire loan process from start to finish in-house to ensure turn times are quick

One great thing about Assurance Financial is the ability to apply for a home loan from any device using the latest technology.

They’ve turned to Blend to get that done, and go a step further in simplifying things by bringing in their digital assistant Abby.

The character is actually based on their “very real” Post Closing Manager Abby Widmer.

You can apply with “Abby” in as little as 15 minutes and get helpful tips and guidance along the way so you know what you’re getting into and what to expect.

But if you want a real human to help you right off the bat, you’re also able to peruse the online loan officer directory on their website.

There you can enter your location to see which loan officers are licensed in your state, then get access to their contact information if you want to discuss pricing and loan options first.

Regardless of how you apply, a licensed loan officer will step in at some point to get you approved and help you fund your loan.

Either way, it’ll be super simple because you can complete the app online and link your financial accounts and tax returns using your credentials instead of having to scan or fax paperwork.

Additionally, you can eSign all those pesky disclosures and manage your loan from their online portal 24/7. You’ll also get status updates and a to-do list to stay on track.

As mentioned, they also have branches in eight states if you prefer to do business in-person, including Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Loan Programs Offered by Assurance Financial

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term and cash out
  • Construction loans (one and two-time close options)
  • Conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Jumbo loans
  • Non-QM loans
  • Down payment assistance programs
  • Manufactured home loans
  • HELOCs
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Assurance Financial has a very wide range of loan programs available, and lends on all property types, including single-family homes, condos/townhomes, and even manufactured homes.

You can get financing for a primary residence, vacation home, 1-4 investment property, or even a new build if you’re constructing your dream home.

If you’re an existing homeowner, you can take advantage of a rate and term refinance or a cash out refinance if you want to take advantage of a lower rate and/or your accrued equity.

With regard to loan types, you can get a conforming loan backed by Fannie/Freddie, a government-backed loan such as an FHA or VA loan, or even a jumbo loan.

They say they also offer non-QM options and down payment assistance programs for first-time home buyers, along with home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage options are available in a variety of loan terms.

Assurance Financial Mortgage Rates

One drawback to Assurance Financial is the fact that they don’t list their mortgage rates online or elsewhere.

As such, it’s unclear where they stand in the loan pricing department. It is recommended that you speak to a loan officer to get pricing first before diving into an application.

That way you can be assured that they’re competitively priced relative to other lenders out there so you don’t waste your time.

Also be sure to inquire about any lender fees they may charge, such as an application fee or loan origination fee.

Once you know these things, which together make up the mortgage APR, you can accurately shop your home loan with other lenders to ensure they’re good on price.

Assurance Financial Reviews

They seem to really excel when it comes to customer service, so much so that someone living far away from their corporate headquarters might be tempted to use them.

On SocialSurvey, they have a 4.94-star rating out of 5 from nearly 15,000 customer reviews, which is impressive for both the rating and sheer volume.

Similarly, they’ve got a 5-star rating out of 5 from more than 7,000 reviews on LendingTree, with a 100% recommended score.

They are rated excellent in every category, including interest rates, closing costs, responsiveness, and customer service.

On Zillow, it’s the same deal, a 4.99-star rating out of a possible 5 from almost 100 reviews, which while a smaller sample size is on point with their other ratings.

Lastly, they are a Better Business Bureau accredited company (since 2003) and currently hold an ‘A+’ rating based on customer complaint history.

In summary, Assurance Financial has incredible customer satisfaction ratings, the latest technology, an excellent website, and tons of loan programs to choose from.

Assuming they also offer great pricing, they could be an excellent choice for your home loan needs, whether you’re a first-time buyer or an existing homeowner.

Assurance Financial Pros and Cons

The Pros

  • Can apply for a home loan directly from their website
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • Also have a digital assistant to help you along the way
  • Their website is very modern and easy to navigate
  • Lots of programs to choose from including jumbos and non-QMs
  • Excellent customer reviews from past customers
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company
  • Physical branches in some states
  • Free mortgage calculators and mortgage guides online

The Cons

  • Not licensed in all states
  • Do not list mortgage rates or lender fees on their website

(photo: Stuart Seeger)

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

SoFi Is Now Offering Investment Property Loans

Online bank SoFi, in the headlines recently for its plan to go public, has also quietly begun making its mortgage loans available to investors. So reports The Motley Fool.

Like other digital platforms, SoFi’s mortgage application procedure is fully online, with the ability to link up with other financial institutions to access the proper documents.

A difference from other platforms is that SoFi offers conventional mortgages only, not VA or FHA loans, though the latter don’t apply to investors regardless.

Read the full article from The Motley Fool.

Source: themortgageleader.com