The Mortgage ABC’s: Refinances

“Do you do refinances?” is a question many clients ask. Yes I do! What is a refinance? Refinance means, literally, to “finance again.” If you finance your home with a purchase loan, you replace it when you refinance. Below are the most common reasons to refinance.

The Most Common Refinances

  • Lower the interest rate and monthly payment on the loan
  • Remove mortgage insurance
  • Lower the loan’s term in order to pay it off faster and reduce over interest
  • Consolidate debt, or take cash out for home improvements
  • Remove a borrower from the loan, such as in a divorce situation

Clients often time have the opportunity to accomplish several of these goals at once. I’ve had clients reduce their term, pay off debt, remove mortgage insurance, and lower their interest rate, all in one transaction! Contact me at any time if you’d like a free mortgage analysis of your current loan, or have general questions about a refinance!

The Mortgage ABC’s: Loan Programs

“What loan programs are available to me?” This is a question I often get from borrowers when they are shopping for a new home, or thinking about a refinance. The answer depends on many variables. Below is a summary of current loan program options available in today’s market.

Loan  Programs Overview

  1. Conventional Loans are available for primary residences, second homes, and investment properties. Conventional loans offer down payment options. Mortgage insurance is required for down payments less than 20%.
  2. Government Loans are available for primary residence only. Low or no down payment options, and mortgage insurance is required, except on VA loans.
  3. Portfolio Loans are held by individual lenders and are available for primary residence, investment loans, and sometimes second homes. Higher down payment and credit scores are typically required.

For the full scoop, check out my video below!

Mortgage ABC’s: How to get Pre-approved

“How do I get pre-approved?” is probably the most common question I get from new clients. In the first of my “Mortgage ABC’s” video series I answer this very question. Contrary to the myth, getting pre-approved doesn’t require a mountain of paperwork, or a lot of time. A pre-approval can be done in three simple steps, typically in less than 24 hours!

3 Steps to get Pre-Approved

  1. Complete a loan application online, in person, via email, or over the phone
  2. Pull a credit report. I will call you to do this after I receive your application.
  3. Verify income. This can be done with one pay stub if you are a salaried.


For more, check out my video blog below!

Credit Reports and Your Mortgage

The credit reports we use for mortgage lending are not like other credit reports you might get online, or from another creditor. Lenders are required to pull a tri-merge credit report including all three bureaus- Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. The reports contain the complete information needed by underwriting to make a determination about whether the borrower can repay the mortgage they’re applying for. Lenders credit reports also use specific fico models for scoring that don’t match what other creditors use. Some of the questions I often hear are:

  • Can I use my free credit report for my mortgage?
  • Will my credit score for my mortgage be the same as the one I received at the car dealership?
  • If I have to pull my credit report more than once, will my score go down?

Tune into the latest edition of Straight Talk with Sofia for the answers!

What to Consider When Buying your First Home

When buying your first home there are so many things to consider . How much should you put down? How much should you save? Do you want to buy a single family home or a condo? Should you buy a fixer upper or move in ready home? Below is a great, quick video that covers some of the common questions first time homebuyers have. For the big questions, call me!

First time home buyer's home
Buying Your First Home

Mortgage Rates Declining

PMMS Chart - decline in mortgage interest rates
Decline in mortgage rates


Freddie Mac published data on Thursday reflecting the decline in mortgage interest rates to a seven-week low amid economic uncertainty.

The 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.89% while the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%.

It’s possible that mortgage rates could continue to hold at low levels in the near term.

The major factors that determine what interest rate a borrower ultimately receives include but aren’t limited to credit score, loan-to-value amount and property type.

I always ensure that my clients understand how mortgage interest rates work. There is a misconception that you can only obtain the interest rate that the lender offers you. In many cases you can buy down the interest to lower it or take a higher rate to obtain a lender credit that can help alleviate some of the burden of bringing in cash to close your loan.

In any case, it is important to consult with a mortgage expert on what interest rate scenario makes the most sense for your home purchase or refinance scenario.

Please let me know if you have any questions and I’d be happy to help!

Contact me via phone at (425) 610-8366 or email at

Invest or Pay off Your Mortgage? A Case Study

Invest, or pay off your mortgage? It’s a common question when a homeowner finds himself with extra cash.

I love this article about a real scenario concerning a homeowner with a chunk of money, and whether or not to pay it off. Many factors come into play here including age, other debts, income, retirement, and more. If you find yourself in a scenario like this your financial advisor is a great place to start, but when it comes to your specific mortgage questions, call me! The most satisfying part of my job is helping my clients to make sound financial decisions when it comes to their mortgage. I love to see homeowners on track to financial freedom. Let me know how I can help you today!

Invest or pay off your mortgage?

Seattle: Warm Weather and Hotter Real Estate

This Seattle Times article, packed with interactive and informative info graphics, highlights the real estate market phenomenon occurring in the Puget Sound area. Check out the “House sales by sub market” tool to see the data specific to your area.

After a record breaking spring, King County had its hottest month of July since monthly records began in 2000 with prices growing more than $100,000 in just a year.

This may be a harsh milestone for buyers but is opening up new doors for those looking at refinancing to drop costly monthly mortgage insurance or tap into the newfound equity to consolidate debt or make upgrades to their home. Interest rates continue to remain at historically low levels but may start to increase as we close out 2017.

King County home prices grow $100,000 in a year for first time; West Bellevue jumps 41 percent

Rent or Buy? What to Consider

Is it better to rent or buy a home? It’s a question that most adults will ask themselves at one point or another. Before deciding which is the best option for you, consider the following factors.

There are several components to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy.  Things like your personal situation, taxes, investment opportunities, financial stability and long-term goals all play a role in whether renting or buying is more beneficial. Continue reading “Rent or Buy? What to Consider”