Plano Home Real Estate MortgageWhether you’re just out of college, recently married or simply haven’t jumped into the market yet, buying your first DFW home is an exciting prospect. It can also be an expensive one, which is why most people will take out a mortgage to help finance the cost.

If you are planning on engaging with a mortgage lender, you’ll need to have your finances in order. In today’s post, we’ll share a few key reasons why you’ll want to check your credit score well in advance of buying your first home.

Your Credit Score Is A Signal For Lenders

As you know, mortgage lenders have a responsibility to lend to those individuals and families who are at a low risk of default. So when a mortgage lender starts to dig into your financial background, they are looking at your credit history and credit score to help them assess that risk.

Note that having a low score doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad credit. If you’re still in your 20s and have only had a credit card, your score might be low even though you are fully capable of managing a mortgage.Plano Home Loan

Your Score Impacts Your Mortgage Interest Rate

As mentioned above, your credit score helps to signify your risk. If your credit score is in a lower range, perhaps a 640 or 660, you’re presenting a greater risk than someone with a score of 760 or 800. Because of this, the interest rate that you pay on your mortgage will in part be determined by your credit score. Those individuals who present a higher risk pay a higher rate to compensate. And vice versa, if your credit is spotless you can expect to pay a lower interest rate.

You’ll Need Time To Challenge Any Issues

Finally, you’ll need to give yourself some lead time to challenge any irregularities with your credit report. The credit reporting agencies aren’t perfect and they do make mistakes. There may be some old, retired credit card or other debt sitting on your report which is holding the score down. Even worse, there may be some incorrect delinquency or other error which ends up as a big red flag for potential mortgage lenders.

Plano mortgage ratesAs you can see, it’s worth spending the time to check your credit score. You get to check it for free once per year, so take advantage of the opportunity. And when you’re ready to discuss buying your first home, contact Warren Whitaker by phone or text at 972.523.8353 or He will share how to navigate the credit score and mortgage process so you can land the home of your dreams.

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Plano real estateWithout a doubt, it can be both overwhelming and exciting to find your dream Plano home and be able to put the money down for it. However, there are a lot of things to know before signing on the dotted line so you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Instead of going it alone, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you decide to commit to your new home.

A Good Agent Is Important

Many homeowners want to find the right place on their own, but having an agent along to assist you in the process can go a long way towards finding your ideal home at the right price. Instead of risking it, choose an agent that comes highly recommended and has an abundance of experience in the business.

Is The Price Right?Plano Texas real estate

It’s easy to be taken in by a beautiful home, but before putting money down you’ll want to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make sure it’s within reach. You may feel like you can make it work, but paying a too-high mortgage will become a drain over time and may ruin the happiness of your home investment.

What’s The Potential?

When it comes to first-time buying, many potential homeowners go into it with unrealistic expectations. However, demanding too much of your investment can mean you miss out on the gems that have a lot of hidden potential. Instead of saying ‘no’ right away, consider what you can improve for little cost.

Researching The Neighborhood

The focus for many homeowners is definitely the house, but ‘location, location, location’ is a cliche; for a reason. Instead of focusing only on your home, ensure you’ll be living in a neighborhood where you can feel safe and will have access to all the amenities you need.

Plano Real EstateInvesting In An Inspector

A home inspection may feel like a formality, but it’s important to have the right inspector so they will notice maintenance items that can hugely impact your finances. While little items that need to be fixed-up are not a big deal, issues with the foundation or the roof can cause major grievances if they’re not detected.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a home, but by doing your research and being aware of your financial outlook, you’ll be well on your way to a good investment. If you’re currently in the market for a home, please contact Warren Whitaker by phone or text at 972.523.8353 or Warren@Lendhome.comyour local mortgage professional to learn more.

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Plano home loanA monthly mortgage can seem like enough of a financial responsibility on its own, but there are many factors involved in Plano home ownership that affect its fiscal feasibility. If you’re in the market for a house in Plano, and are wondering how your income will stack up against the rest of your expenses, here’s how to determine a home cost that’s reasonable for you.

Determine Your Down Payment

Before you start with anything else, you’ll want to determine the amount of money you can put down so you can estimate your monthly payments. The traditional amount for a down payment is 3.5% to 20% of the home’s purchase price, so if you don’t have anything close to this amount it might be worth waiting a little longer so you can minimize your payments and the amount of interest or mortgage insurance you’ll be paying in the long run. Each person’s situation is different, and there may be programs available with less than 20% down and Down Payment Assistance. This is an excellent question to pose to your trusted mortgage advisor.

Calculate Your Monthly BudgetDown Payment Assistance

If your mortgage cost already seems high, it will definitely be worth carefully calculating your monthly expenditures. Instead of a wild guess, take the time to sit down and calculate what your costs are including food, utilities, transportation and any other monthly necessities. Once you do this, it’s also very important to add any debt repayments you’re making to the mix. The total amount of your estimated mortgage costs, debt payments and living expenses should give you a pretty good sense of if your mortgage is viable in the long term.

Don’t Forget About The Extras

Plano real estateWhen it comes to purchasing a home, many people envision that they will be eating and sleeping their new home so don’t pay attention to all of the additional costs that can arise with living life. A new home is certainly an exciting, worthwhile financial venture, but ensure you’re realistic about what it entails. If you’re planning to go back to school or have children in the future, you’ll want to add a little bit of extra cushion in your budget so that you don’t have to put your other dreams on hold for the sake of your ideal home.

It can be very exciting to find a home you feel good about, but it’s important before making an offer to realize the amount of house you can afford so you don’t find yourself in a hole down the road. If you’re starting to consider your options for a home purchase, you may want to contact Warren Whitaker at 972.523.8353 or, one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.

Plano real estatePurchasing a home is often considered an important step in one’s financial life, no matter what point you arrive at it, but there are things you should know about financing your home purchase before stepping into the fray. If you’re planning on buying a home soon and want to avoid some major missteps, here are a few tips that will set you up for success.

Taking The Lender You’re Offered

In the event that you’ve been pre-qualified for a certain amount, you’ll want to find a lender that will make the process towards a home purchase a little bit smoother. Instead of going with the first option that’s offered, do some research and come up with a shortlist of potential lenders that have good reviews and have been around the industry for a significant amount of time. The process will be a lot more comfortable if there’s someone on your side you know you can trust.

Keeping Your Credit History In The Darkplano home loans

Without a doubt, the lender will be looking at your financial history in order to determine the amount of financing you will receive, but it’s still important to be prepared on your end so that you know what to expect. Start by acquiring your credit report so that you can correct any inaccuracies on it and be prepared for what this score will say about your financial viability. When it comes to the financing you’ll need down the road, the right information on your credit report will make a difference in the end result.

Plano home real estateForgetting About The Loan Officer

If you’ve already established who your lender will be, it’s still important to meet with the person who will be handling your loan and make sure they’re someone you can trust. Ensure that you are aware of their qualifications and that they have enough previous experience in their back pocket to provide you with insights that may come in handy. While having a reliable lender is certainly a good start, the right individual to handle your loan will be someone who is licensed and involved with a local, professional mortgage association.

All of the things involved with mortgage financing can be quite complicated, but by finding the right lender and preparing yourself for the tough financial questions, it can be a much easier experience. If you’re starting to consider your options for a home purchase, you may want to contact Warren Whitaker at 972.523.8353 or, one of our local mortgage professionals for more information.

Plano Home LoansWith mortgage bubbles and real estate issues still in recent memory, one might feel that their best option is to buy their next home using cash instead of borrowing the necessary funds or using OPM…Other People’s Money. In today’s article we’ll explore the pros and cons of paying cash for that next Plano house or condo.

The Pros Include A Feeling of Complete Ownership

There’s a feeling of pride and joy that comes with owning a Plano home outright. There are several other reasons for paying cash instead of signing on the dotted line and being strapped to a mortgage. Perhaps the best reason is having 100 percent equity in the home.

The cash will be there to borrow in case of an emergency or to have it work for you in other ways. Having cash on hand is great if a water pipe bursts or Plano Home Loansthere’s a huge car repair bill. In addition, instead of paying a monthly mortgage, that money could be used to start a college fund, to grow savings or to invest.

And, credit problems wouldn’t be an issue since there wouldn’t be a need to check credit history in the first place. The homeowner may be able to negotiate a better price, which may result in a likelihood of a smoother sale, and attract more prospective buyers.

The Not So Great Reasons To Pay With Cash

Buying a home is one of the largest financial investments a person will make in his or her lifetime.

However, buying a home outright most likely means that a significant percentage of cash will be tied up in the house. Less cash will be on hand for savings, college funds, and emergencies like a plumbing malfunction or an expensive car repair.

While paying in cash may result in a mortgage life, if the property value drops for whatever reason, there’s no purchase protection. For instance, if the market value of a $100,000 home loses 10 percent that will be a loss of $10,000. Take this example and apply it to a mortgage down payment. If the Plano Home Loansmarket value falls, there’ll be a loss of $10,000, but the bank would take a loss for the remainder of the property value.

Also, when paying with cash, there is no third party property evaluation to ensure the buyer isn’t overpaying for the home. Banks will send a professional to provide a property evaluation check to verify the correct home value.

Buying a home is a significant personal decision. In today’s tough economy, homeowners are finding ways of cutting back on expenses. Owning a home outright, without the stress of mortgage payments can be extremely liberating. Comminting a large amount of your cash to this large of an investment needs careful planning.  Sit down with Warren Whitaker, 972.523.8353, today before making the decision to use cash to pay for a home.


Plano mortgage ratesIf you’re shopping around for Plano Home Loan, you’ve probably heard about pre-qualification processes – or maybe even received a pre-qualification offer in the mail. Lots of prospective homeowners hold misconceptions about what exactly pre-qualification is and how it works, and it leads them to opt into poor mortgage deals.

But by understanding how pre-qualification works, you’ll be able to find the right Plano mortgage for you – at the best possible rate. So what is mortgage pre-qualification, and what isn’t it? Here are three common pre-qualification myths that you may have heard.

Myth: Mortgage Pre-qualification Commits You To A Specific LenderPlano mortgage.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that being pre-qualified for a mortgage commits them to a specific lender. In truth, being pre-qualified only creates an opportunity for a lender to work with you.

The pre-qualification process doesn’t involve any loan contracts and doesn’t require you to pay the lender. Few homeowners know this, but you’re actually not at all committed to any particular lender until you sign the closing documents.

Pre-qualification is also generally a free process, although some lenders will ask you to pay the $20 fee it costs them to check your credit report. Typically a reputable lender will NOT ask you to pay for a pre-qualification.

Plano Home AppraisalMyth: Rate Shopping Hurts Your Credit Score

Another common myth is that shopping around for the best rate will hurt your credit score as a result of having multiple credit checks done. Some lenders may tell you this is true in order to discourage you from checking out other lenders. But according to FICO, mortgage inquiries aren’t handled the same way that other credit inquiries are.  The credit scoring models allow dozens of mortgage inquiries in a 30-45 window without affecting your credit score.

Mortgage pre-qualification may seem like something you don’t want during a house hunt, but in truth, it’s really just a small gesture lenders make in order to make the mortgage process faster and simpler. If you’ve been pre-qualified for a mortgage, you will still need to go through the standard application process before you’re approved. To learn more about the mortgage application process, or to apply for your new mortgage today, contact Warren Whitaker @ 972.523.8353 or, your trusted mortgage professional.

4 Great Reasons To Make The Largest Down Payment You Can Afford

MortgageIf you’re looking for a new home, you’ve probably heard lots of advice about down payments. About how it’s okay to just have a five percent down payment – you’ll still get approved. About how you should make the down payment as small as possible to avoid cash flow problems.

In truth, you’re actually better off making the largest down payment you can possibly afford. Even if you have to slice up other areas of your budget, save for a few more years before you buy, or take a second job on the weekends, it’ll be worth it in the end. Here are just four reasons why you should make the largest down payment possible.

You Can Avoid Useless Insurance Premiums

Although you can buy a house with as little as a 3.5 percent down payment, it’s in your best interest to make a much larger down payment if you can. Mortgage insurance premiums can be as high as one percent of the loan’s value, which means until you’ve invested 20% – 22%  of the home’s value in equity, you’ll have to pay an extra one percent every year. If you pay at least 20 percent of the purchase price upfront, you’ll be able to avoid having to get private mortgage insurance – so you keep more of your money in your own pocket.

You’ll Pay Much Less InterestPlano Home Loans

The less you have to borrow, the less you have to pay back – for more reasons than one.

When you take out a mortgage, the interest rate applies to the principal amount that you owe – and over time, the interest can run on top of interest, quickly outpacing the original sum. Having a larger down payment means the interest applies to a smaller sum. And that means it accumulates slower and ends up being a smaller amount over time.

You’ll Have More Ammunition In A Bidding War

Offering up a larger down payment is also a great way to make sure you get your dream house, especially if it’s a popular property with multiple offers. The seller isn’t just going to consider who offers the most money – they’re also going to consider which buyer is most likely to get a mortgage. After all, failing to get a mortgage is one of the most common reasons why real estate deals fail.

If you can show that you’re able to make a larger down payment, you’ll have a better shot at getting a mortgage – and that means sellers will prioritize you over other buyers.

Plano Home LoansYou’ll Get A Great Start On Building Equity

Your home equity is equal to the difference between your home’s fair market value and the amount of debt invested into the home. If you don’t have enough equity in your home and home prices in your neighborhood fall, you may find yourself in a situation where you owe more money on your home than it’s worth – a phenomenon known as negative equity. By making the largest possible down payment you can, you’ll have a great head start on building your home’s equity – which may help you profit if you decide to sell in the future.

Buying a house isn’t easy, but making the largest down payment you can afford will give you a great financial head start on home ownership. Want to learn more about how to afford the home of your dreams? Contact Warren Whitaker @ 972.523.8353 or, your local mortgage professional today for practical advice to help you maximize your down payment.

Plano home loansFHA loans are designed to help individuals take advantage of the benefits of Plano home ownership, and these loans have low down payment requirements. However, for borrowers who choose to make a down payment that is less than 20 percent of the sales price, the borrower will be required to pay a mortgage insurance premium with a monthly mortgage payment or a financed mortgage insurance premium option.

Mortgage insurance is in place to minimize the risk that the lender takes when making a low down payment (less than 20%) loan, but it does result in a higher monthly mortgage payment for the homeowner. Recently, the FHA has announced a lower rate for FHA mortgage insurance premiums, and this will help home buyers save money.

A Closer Look At The Reduced Premium

In January 2015, the FHA announced that the FHA premium rate would decline from a current level of 1.35 percent of the loan value to 0.85 percent. ThisPlano home loans has the potential to save home buyers hundreds of dollars per year in reduced mortgage payments, making home ownership more affordable. In fact, the FHA stated that it believes this reduction will help as many as 250,000 home buyers who currently do not qualify for a mortgage to purchase a home.

Calculating the Savings For You

The mortgage insurance premium is in place on low down payment loans until the home equity has accrued to at least 20 percent of the home’s value. This equity is essentially built up between principal reduction with regular monthly payments and increasing property values, but homeowners typically will need to prove that the equity is present before the mortgage insurance premium can be removed from the monthly payment.

Plano Home LoansAs a home buyer, it is important to know that you may be responsible for the mortgage insurance premium for several years or longer. Therefore, this reduced premium can result in considerable savings for you over time. You can use an online calculator to determine your actual savings and to calculate your monthly payment based on the new rate.

If you have not qualified for a mortgage in the past due to the addition of a mortgage insurance premium, you may consider contacting Warren Whitaker @ 972.523.8353 or about your current options. The reduction in the premium rate will help many to qualify for the loan amount that they need, and you can speak with a representative about your financing needs and to request an estimate for your mortgage payment.

Plano Mortgage, Plano Home LoansFor many of us, our home is the biggest asset we’ll ever own. But most of us don’t know very much about homebuying, and that can hurt us. Here are a few blunders to avoid:

Thinking of your home as a guaranteed good investment.

Buy it because you like it and need a place to live, but know that real estate markets can be fickle, especially in the short run. According to Yale economist Robert Shiller, between 1890 and 1990, home prices adjusted for inflation were virtually unchanged. In general, homes are not the best path for an investment or to wealth.  A home IS a place to build and live a life.

Focusing on the cost of the home more than the cost of the loan.

Mortgages are huge purchases of money and their terms can vary widely. Be smart about which kind of Plano Home Loan serves you best (fixed-rate or Plano Mortgage, Plano Home Loanadjustable-rate, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years, etc.).  Consider lender and title fees ~ what does it cost to obtain the rate you desire?  Ask your lender to provide a Loan Summary to compare a rate(s) that does have points and fees versus one that does not.  Compare your total out-of-pocket costs and the monthly payment.  Remember, the lower the rate, the higher the costs.  How many months does it take to see the advantage of the higher out-of-pocket/lower rate?

Buying more house than you can afford.

Sure, a bigger home may be appealing. But will each mortgage payment be a struggle?  What you can “afford” is subjective and dependent on your point of view and definitely the point of the Plano mortgage lender.  With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, today, all lenders are required to determine your Ability-To-Repay (ATR).   Click here to review the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau – What the new Ability-to-Repay Rule Means For Consumers.  Always get pre-approved for a home mortgage before shopping and focus on what you can afford.  The key to a successful home search and home loan is education.  Consider taking a Home Buyer Education courses that is offered through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Click here for a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency that can provide advice on buying a home.

Being too fussy in your home selection process.

Don’t rule out various types of homes without checking them out and truly considering them. Don’t let an outdated bathroom, shag rug, or paint color put you off, as those can be changed. A home’s location does matter, though, as does its layout and room sizes.

Plano Mortgage, Plano Home LoansAvoiding real estate agents.

Ok, this MIGHT be true if you are an experienced home seller and you understand the current real estate market, understand real estate sales contracts, understand the legal ramifications of disclosure when selling a home.  Yes, you might save a few thousand dollars by going it alone – but a skilled and experienced agent can advise and guide you toward properties that “fit” your wish-list. As a buyer, you do not pay a fee to use a buyers agent.  As part of a listing agreement, the seller is paying a commission to the listing AND buyers agent to “sell” their home.  Do you really think a seller is going to lower his price to sell a home without real estate agents?  Quality agents are invaluable when making one of the largest decisions of your life.

Parts of this article from Fool’s School.


Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make

TLC “10 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Top five homebuying mistakes

Common Home Buyer Mistakes

Ten common first time home buyer mistakes

Common Mistakes of the First-Time Homebuyer

10 Rookie Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

10 Worst First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes

12 Steps To Improve Your Credit


Ok, that’s it!  You heard your neighbors argue for 2 hours through the paper-thin walls.  You need a change and a place to call home, a place to call your own, a place where your kids can actually play in the “back yard”…Not the thin strip of grass between your apartment and the parking lot.  But you have an obstacle in front of you…your credit score is less than 620, which is the minimum credit score needed to obtain a FHA home loan.

 Here are 12 ways you can start to improve your credit score:

Step 1.  Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus by going to  This is a FREE service and does not provide your credit score.  You have to pay to get your credit score, but there are ways to get your FICO score without costs.  Reason – You gotta know where you stand and have a direction and plan.

Step 1.1 Get a copy of your credit scores.  Take a look at my article – Where is the only place you can get a real FICO score for no charge?  Reason – You gotta know where you stand and have a direction and plan.

Step 2.  Review each trade line (that’s the industry term for each credit account) for accuracy.  Study this closely and confirm current balance and maximum credit limit.  Reason – Incorrectly reported information on your credit report can be detrimental to your credit score for DECADES.

Step 3.  Keep your balance on each trade line to less than 30% of the maximum allowable credit limit.  Example, if your credit limit is $1500, make sure you pay down and keep your balance below $450.  Reason – The credit scoring system optimizes your credit score when the balance is less than 30% of the credit limit.

Step 4.  Ask your existing creditors to increase or expand your credit limit – if possible.  When you request an increase, they will sometimes present you an offer of a limit increase without a credit inquiry — take it. If your credit STINKS, it’s a roll of the dice your creditor will expand your balance and of course your payment history with them must be flawless.  Reason – As related to tip #3, by increasing your credit limit it can help get to your max 30% balance.

Step 5.  Do not close good credit accounts or trade lines that have been paid on time.  Reason – The credit scoring system and you need all the “good” credit available.

Step 6.  Do not open any new credit accounts.  Reason – The credit scoring system is looking for a history of payments, and when it is less than 6 months old, the scoring system will not recognize the new account

Step 7.  However…If you do not have any good credit or need additional credit accounts, consider opening a “Secured” credit card through a large bank.  A Secured card means you place a $250 to $750 deposit with the bank and you borrower against it.  Also look into obtaining credit from a department store or gasoline company.  Reason – You need at least 5 trade lines to maximize your credit score, however, the credit scoring system is looking for accounts that are at least 6 months old – so get started NOW.

Step 8.  Ask your Mom or Dad or family member to add you as an authorized user on their credit card.  Reason – You need at least 5 credit accounts to maximize your credit score.

Step 9.  Pay your bills on-time and do not “skip” a payment.  Reason – Really?

Step 10.  Charge less and use cash or your debit card.  Reason – Again, really?

Step 11.  Be patient!  You didn’t get to this point overnight and the remedy most likely will take 3 to 12 months or longer.

Step 12.  Seek professional help!  When it comes to paying off or settling collection accounts, past due accounts, judgments you need a professional to guide you through the maze.  Could you do it yourself?  Maybe – but most likely not.  There are a lot of rules and LAWS that the average consumer is just not prepared to handle on their own.  Be careful of the many so called “Credit Repair” companies and don’t buy the online hype about results.  There is no such thing as credit repair”.  However, credit validation, is a legitimate and proven strategy that can help you take control of your credit history and credit future

What is Credit Validation?

  • Detects, corrects or deletes inaccurate items using proprietary software
  • Direct communication with the 3 credit bureaus
  • The credit validation specialist will obtain their own Tri Merge Color coded Credit Report
  • Requires only ONE valid gov’t issued photo ID
  • 45-135 day process – no monthly fees
  • FTC Compliant

Take a look at the video below.


Improve Credit Score: Tips to Fix Poor Credit & Raise Your FICO Score

9 fast fixes for your credit scores – 1 – debt management – MSN Money

10 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Instantly – ABC News

How to Raise Your Credit Score Fast – Quick and Dirty Tips

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score – Improving Your FICO Score

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