Should I Get a Loan from a Bank or a Mortgage Lender in Utah?

When it comes to obtaining financing for your home, you may be wondering if you should use Utah mortgage lenders like Integrity First Lending or big banks.

While banks are everywhere, it can be challenging to get a home loan from these institutions, especially for first-time home buyers, because they employ a more rigid lending process. Lending or mortgage companies, on the other hand, are more lenient, with some even allowing those who do not have good credit to get a loan.

Getting a Loan from a Mortgage Lender

Advantages of Going to Mortgage Companies

Home lending companies are focused on mortgage loans. Thus, the application process tends to be more straightforward and approval is faster. But there are more benefits to getting a loan from such organizations.

  • More choices: Most representatives of these companies are certified and trained in home financing courses to educate their customers better and help them make informed decisions.
  • More options: They offer more flexible payment schemes to suit the needs and budgets of those in the market for a home.
  • Faster closing: If you are in a hurry to settle, going through lenders will be faster than going through banks.
  • Convenience: Most lenders have set up an application form on their website, so you can easily sign up wherever you are. At Integrity First Lending, our three-step process is available online and all you need to do is follow the simple steps to apply.

What Should I Look for When Comparing Mortgage Lenders in Utah?

Finding the right lender ultimately depends on your needs. To make sure you don’t miss out on any details when shopping around for one, here are a few things you can consider:

Interest rate: See that the lender offers an interest rate that suits your financial situation and your ability to pay off the loan over time.

Fees and points: Apart from interest rates, consider the other expenses you will have to pay, such as underwriting fees and mortgage points (the fees paid to the lender should there be any reduction in interest rate).

Down payment: Different lenders have different down payment requirements. The amount can change depending on the terms of your loan. Talk to a trusted representative to be sure of the numbers.

Closing costs: Lenders typically charge for this, so be sure to ask the representative you are talking to in order to avoid any surprises.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This serves as added protection for the lender when the borrower can afford only a low down payment.

Need more convincing? Get an accurate estimate of what your monthly payments will be with this home loan calculator in Utah from Integrity First Lending.

Why You Should Use a Home Loan Calculator in Utah

Many factors come into play when computing your mortgage. However, some of these elements, such as PMI, can easily be overlooked if you don’t make a conscious effort to keep track of them. Good thing there are now home loan or mortgage calculators in Utah available online, such as the one on the Integrity First Lending website. Now, you can quickly get a close estimate of how much your monthly payments will be, no matter which stage of the financing process you are in.

Computing your monthly payments beforehand allows you to get a better grasp of what your current financial capacity is and what the different terms and rates available to you are. Using a mortgage calculator will also enable you to make a better-informed decision on which payment arrangement will benefit you more and determine which ones you can afford.

Home Loan Calculator

What Is the Purpose of a Mortgage Calculator in Utah?

This tool takes the guesswork out of computing your future home loan payments. It can be used by those looking to refinance their loans, first-time homebuyers or those considering a reverse mortgage, as it allows you to check and compare your options quickly and easily.

All you have to do is provide the figures and information it asks for, and it does all the calculations for you. However, remember that its accuracy is dependent on the data you feed into it.

Are Home Loan Calculators in Utah Accurate?

Yes. But you have to be selective about which one to use. Integrity First Lending’s mortgage calculator gives you an accurate estimate of your estimated home loan payments. To get a correct assessment, you need to know how much the down payment, purchase price, interest rate and term are.

Down payments may vary, depending on the terms and conditions you have agreed upon with our loan officers. Or, if you haven’t talked to your lender yet, you can input your estimated amount. You can enter the cost of the property you are looking to buy and how much you can afford for the purchase price

Get in touch with us for updated interest rates. This should also help you decide on the term that will best fit your needs. If you already have a specific period in mind, you may input that information into the calculator.

For expert help on home loans, Integrity First Lending has got you covered. We have a team of highly trained and honest mortgage professionals in Utah who always have your best interests in mind. They are committed to helping you figure out the best plan for you so you can get closer to owning your dream home.

Buying a House in Utah With No Down Payment: Is It Possible?

Buying a house is a dream for many, but not everyone can afford to finance it. Fortunately, there is a way for you to buy a house in Salt Lake City with no down payment. How? You have to work with the best mortgage lenders in Utah.

Integrity First Lending empowers aspiring homeowners by providing them flexible financing options to purchase their dream property.

Buying a House in Utah With No Down Payment Is It Possible

How Can I Buy a House if I Don’t Have the Down Payment?

The standard for down payments is at least 20% of the purchase price. But if you can’t afford this, you can still buy a home, as long as you meet the requirements.

VA Loans require no down payment. They are available to war veterans, spouses of deceased war veterans and active-duty service members or National Guard members. The Department of Veterans Affairs regulates this type of loan, and instead of paying for mortgage insurance, you may opt to pay a VA funding fee equivalent to 2.15% of your loan value.

To qualify for a VA loan, you must have actively served in the military for at least 90 consecutive days during wartime and 181 consecutive days during peacetime. If you’re a member of the National Guard or a reservist, you must have served for a minimum of six years.

If you’re a spouse of a deceased service member, in order for you to qualify, they must have died while performing their duty or due to a related injury. Also, your credit score must be at least 640. Applying for this type of loan will take about 30-45 days and is commitment-free.

Another type of loan that will allow you to acquire a home with little to no down payment required is an FHA loan. You may have to make a small down payment, but only 3.5% — significantly less than the standard 20% for most residential properties.

Getting the Best Mortgage Rate in Utah

Integrity First Lending offers FHA loans as well as a no-cost refinancing program that allows you to modify your current mortgage terms without having to pay settlement fees or adding to the cost of the loan. You just have to pay a little more interest instead, which ends up being more manageable in the long run.

If you are interested in what other home financing options you might have, give us a call. Our trained representatives will help you any way they can. We have a three-step process that enables you to get the best mortgage rate in Utah and close your home on or before your commitment date.

The Best Characteristics to Look for in a Lending Company

Teaming up with a reliable and experienced lending company is critical to your homebuying journey. A good working relationship with your lender will improve productivity, performance, and ease. Integrity First Lending welcomes new ideas and responds to conflict accordingly throughout your mortgage process in Utah.

The Best Characteristics to Look for in a Lending Company

Core Values

Core values might be the most fundamental aspect of a professional client-to-lender relationship. Values represent the principles that a company strives for. Possessing qualities such as trust, respect and integrity can bring you closer to your loan officers.

Keep in mind that an excellent company culture involves showing transparency, coming up with strategic decisions and sticking by the promises a company makes. By sticking to these core values, you will be able to establish trust and confidence in your chosen mortgage lender in Utah.

Open Communication

Clients must also take care to notice if their chosen lending company establishes open communication with them. There has to be an effective dialog between clients and lenders when exchanging ideas and providing mutual support. Building a safe space for communication enables ideas to flow and for problems to be addressed head-on. More importantly, you will feel a stronger sense of connection to the company as a whole.

Clear Goals

Homebuying success is easier when everyone in the company understands the goals and how to achieve them. A clearly defined plan allows your chosen mortgage team to work on tasks smoothly and move through schedules without any problem. When loan officers know what needs to be done, it becomes much easier for them to improve productivity, and to manage tasks proactively, rather than waste their time on unnecessary issues.

Experience and Credibility

This may be the last, but the most important characteristic you’ll look at when finding a lender for any home loans in Utah. You have to team up with a lender who’s been in the lending industry for a long time, and who’s established a good reputation locally, and if possible, nationally.

A credible lender is someone you can trust to provide complete information about the homebuying process, as well as the loan experience. Find time to seek reviews online from previous clients they might have worked with. Also, keep in mind that experience is usually established by the amount of time any lender has been in business.

Company culture and values can impact your homebuying process. Team up with the best mortgage company in Utah: Integrity First Lending.

Helpful Tips to Cope with a Bad Credit Score

Lenders use your credit score to identify the possible risks to offering you a loan. Based on your payment history, your credit score can either be poor or good. Remember that several factors, such as defaults, penalties brought about by late payments and the amount of money you owe, all play a crucial role in your credit score.

Aside from that, the length of time you’re in debt also affects your credit score. However, the expert team at Integrity First Lending has some advice for you for getting a low-interest rate for a home loan in Utah.

Helpful Tips to Cope with a Bad Credit Score

Reach Out to Your Current Lender

Staying in touch with your current lender is one thing you can try before looking for other companies to handle your mortgage needs. With your current lender, you can easily explain your financial situation, because they already have your financial background and other requirements needed to qualify for a home loan.

Discussing loan programs with your current lender will also help widen your options even with a bad credit rating. Additionally, don’t hesitate to consult other mortgage companies in Salt Lake City and find out other loan offers they have, specifically for clients with bad credit. Different mortgage teams have various kinds of offers, and there might be one that suits you best.

Check Out FHA Streamline Refinance

For your Utah mortgage, you may also opt to select FHA Streamline Refinance. An existing FHA mortgage is the foremost requirement to qualify for this type of loan. There are two types of loans that you can choose from when checking out the FHA Streamline Refinance — credit-qualifying and non-credit-qualifying. One of these options may fit your needs.

To qualify for this loan, you have to show proof of six consecutive mortgage payments. Nonetheless, all your fees must be paid on time and in full. It follows a strict procedure, but it results in lower monthly payments.

Explore the VA Refinance Loan

If you got your current mortgage in Utah from the Department of Veterans Affairs, refinancing with the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan is a good option for you. This loan is one that doesn’t need a good credit score or a new appraisal. There’s no need for an annual fee to guarantee the loan, either. With the VA Refinance Loan, you can promptly refinance up to 100% of your home’s value. However, you need to go through a mortgage company, bank or a credit union.

Boost Your Credit Score

Like exam scores, bad credit is a thing you can improve on. If refinancing isn’t an option for you now, you can focus on increasing your credit score instead to qualify for the best home loans in Utah.

Keep in mind that there are many ways you can improve your poor credit score to qualify for the best mortgage rates in Utah. Create a healthier financial situation for yourself by discussing your options with Integrity First Lending today.

Top Three Benefits of Getting a VA Loan

The Veteran’s Administration (VA) home loan program is one of the most popular benefits offered to veterans. This home loan program is intended to offer ease to the socioeconomic dilemmas of the post-war readjustments of those who relentlessly provided services in the US military. This home loan partially guarantees mortgages and refinancing made via private lenders like banks and mortgage companies. This loan type offers borrowers more favorable terms compared to other loans in the mortgage industry. If you’re on the lookout for dependable mortgage loans in Utah, ponder on the following advantages of a VA home loan which might just suit you or your family members.

Top Three Benefits of Getting a VA Loan

  1. Zero down payment-This is the program’s signature benefit. Qualified borrowers can avail of any home loan limit without releasing any down payment. The terms under this favorable loan feature may change annually. Also, it’s important to note that most mortgage loans in Salt Lake City require buyers to make at least a minimal down payment. Clients who avail several other loans usually shell out a minimum down payment requirements of 5 % and 3.5 %, respectively for conventional and FHA loans. For example, on a $500,000 mortgage, that’s a $25,000 down payment for conventional and a $17,500 down payment for FHA.
  2. Pocket-friendly Closing Costs– One of the most salient and best features of a VA home loan is it limits the closing costs lenders can charge to the loan applicants. Moreover, borrowers can even convey and haggle with the seller to pay all of their loan-related closing costs and up to 4 % in concessions, which can entail factors like insurance and taxes among others. Although there is no assurance that lenders will agree during the negotiations, veterans can still definitely explain their side and humbly negotiate with their mortgage brokers in Salt Lake City along the process.
  3. Flexible Funding Fees– VA loans require a “funding fee”, an upfront cost in reference to your eligibility, loan amount, and other factors. Although these required payments don’t need to be paid right away. This can be financed together with the loan, hence nothing is due at closing. We say it’s flexible because these fees can also be waived for unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who passed away in service or as a result of a service-connected debilitating circumstance, and for veterans who got a VA disability compensation. Make sure to discuss this with your chosen Utah mortgage lenders for more details.

Begin your Home-buying Journey with Us

Whether you’re looking for a home equity loan in Utah, or just want to know more details on the advantages and processes of availing home loans, the first step is to get rate quotes. By reaching out to our team, we can then discuss topics like debt to income ratios, qualifications, and other questions you have in mind. Allow us to guide you with your home buying journey by discussing how these perks apply to you. You can get started online today by contacting us. Feel free!

3 Money Habits that are Making it Harder to Save for a Down Payment

If you are thinking about buying a home in 2021, one of the first things you need to do is save enough money for a down payment. That’s not an easy task, and if you’re having trouble saving money, it might be time to examine your current spending habits. Here are three common habits that can make it much harder to save that 5% to 20% for your down payment.

Are you participating in these bad spending habits that make it harder to save for a down payment on a home?

Habit 1: Not paying attention to your monthly expenses.

It’s easy to lose track of where your money is going every month. In fact, there might be a lot of things that you’re spending money on without even thinking about it. For example, if you still have that gym membership and haven’t been to the gym in more than a year—not counting any forced absence because of COVID-19—it’s time to cancel it and save $20 to $100 a month. Other things you may be wasting money on include:

  • Cable or satellite bill
  • Streaming services you never watch or listen to
  • Expensive cell phone bills and/or data plans (seriously, WiFi is everywhere these days)
  • Monthly subscription boxes (i.e., FabFitFun, StitchFix, BarkBox, Loot Crate)
  • Digital or print newspaper/magazine subscriptions

Apps like PocketGuard or Mint can help identify monthly recurring expenses so you can get rid of them.

Habit 2: Eating (and drinking) out a lot.

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating: eating out, especially if you are buying alcohol, is a lot more expensive than eating at home. We’re not saying you should never eat out, but make it a special occasion only. Packing a lunch when you head out for work or skipping the takeout in favor of a home-cooked meal is a great way to cut your food budget. If planning meals is hard, you can look at options like Freshly, which send you pre-packaged meals that you can heat up and cost as little as $8.50 a meal—a lot less than many restaurant meals. Other great options include buying a slow cooker or Instant Pot. With these kitchen gadgets you can dump a bunch of raw ingredients in at the beginning or end of the day and within a few hours (slow cooker) or a few minutes (Instant Pot) you have an entire meal, plus leftovers for lunch tomorrow that even a novice chef can handle.

Habit 3: Spending more on anything than you need to spend.

That’s pretty broad, so here’s the breakdown: if you don’t need to spend the extra money, don’t do it. Buy generic brands instead of brand names. Turn down your thermostat one or two degrees in the winter, and turn it up one or two in the summer to save money on utility bills every month. Don’t buy those app add-ons. Unsubscribe retail store emails that tempt you to buy something you definitely don’t need just because it’s 30% off today only. You’d be surprised at how much you can actually save by shaving just a little here and there from the margins.

Once you master your spending habits, make sure you put that money away in a savings account so you can buy that dream home. When it’s time to do that, Integrity First Lending is here to help you get a mortgage.

Ready to Set Home Ownership Goals for the New Year?

One of the most common rituals for the new year is the habit of setting goals. Often these goals revolve around personal improvement, or finding ways to make a better life in the coming year. For those who have been renting, now is the perfect time to set a goal for achieving home ownership in 2021. After a difficult year in 2020, here are some of the steps you can take to achieve that goal in the new year.

Set some goals for the New Year that will help you get closer to your dream of owning a home.

Step 1: Set the goal

Okay, this one might seem a little too obvious, but simply having the goal—preferably in writing so you’re a little more committed—is often the first step to achieving home ownership. It makes the far-off dream of having your own home feel a little more like a reality. Bonus points if you set a specific date (or a range like “fall 2021” or “spring 2022”) for your goal.

Step 2: Get your finances in order

The hardest part about owning a home is making sure that your financial life is in order. Some of the most important steps you can take to help put you in a position to get a mortgage loan include:

  • Paying down or paying off debt
  • Putting money away in a savings account to pay for the down payment
  • Paying all your current bills on time to keep your credit score high
  • Avoiding taking on unnecessary new debt, such as new credit cards or new car loans
  • Create a budget to keep your spending on track and your home ownership goals in reach

Step 3: Understand what you can afford to borrow

Before you apply for a mortgage or start shopping for a new home, figure out how much you can afford to borrow based on how much you want to pay each month. You can use online mortgage calculators and either put in the price of the house to see the monthly payment, or put in a specific monthly payment to see what size loan would have that payment. When setting your house payment budget, don’t forget that your monthly payments will include property taxes and homeowners insurance in addition to the principal and interest on the loan.

Step 4: Talk to a mortgage lender about available loans

Another important step toward owning a home is figuring out what type of home loan you will get. There are several options available, depending on your income, credit score, where you live, and whether you qualify for things like the VA loans (for active duty or retired military). Knowing your options can help you pinpoint how much money you need for a down payment, and what credit score you need to get approved.

If owning a home is on your wish list, make it more of a reality by setting specific goals this New Year to get there. Talk to Integrity First Lending to find out more about home loans available and how you can achieve your dream.

Simple Steps to Save for a Down Payment on Your Next Home (Part 2)

In part one of this blog post we covered the first steps to help you save for a down payment, which involved:

  • Knowing how much you need to save
  • Setting a timeline for saving
  • Selecting the loan you would be eligible for, so you know how much down payment you need (5% to 20%+)

Now let’s talk about some of the money habits that can help you get there faster.

Ready to save for your down payment? Here are some helpful tips and steps you can take.

4: Create a realistic budget

Saving money is hard enough, but it’s even harder without a budget. Create a realistic budget based on your essential expenses—food, housing, cars, student loan debt, etc.—and non-essential expenses like entertainment, eating out, and shopping. One of the biggest mistakes people make here is not being realistic about your actual spending. For example, you can put $200 for your food budget, but if you actually spend $600 a month then you are not likely to hit your $200 goal.

Once you have your budget, put savings into a separate account immediately after you get paid. Treating savings as an essential “expense” and setting it aside can help you avoid spending it on other things. Having your savings automatically transferred from your checking account is another great way to make sure you do it every month.

5: Find ways to make more money

If money is already tight and it would be very hard to save money based on your current income, look for ways to earn more. Some examples of how to earn more include:

  • Asking for a raise at your next performance review or right away
  • Getting a new job if your current one isn’t making you happy and doesn’t pay enough
  • Downsizing your current living arrangements—for example, sell a vehicle to get rid of a car payment or move to a smaller or less expensive apartment
  • Picking up some gig work or a second job if you have time
  • Renting out a room in your house or using apps like Neighbor to rent out some storage space or allow someone to park in your unused driveway space

6: Eliminate bad habits that cost a lot

Sometimes the best way to save money is to figure out where you are spending a lot on something that is bad for you or your health. For example:

  • Cut back on smoking or quit altogether
  • Avoid buying alcoholic beverages when you go out to eat
  • Cook at home instead of eating out
  • Avoid gambling or buying lottery tickets
  • Give yourself a spa day at home instead of paying for manicures or pedicures
  • Make coffee in the kitchen instead of stopping at Starbucks

For many people saving for a down payment seems out of reach, but with the right steps, you can save enough to get there. Talk to our lenders at Integrity First Lending for more tips and help making your American Dream of owning a home more of a reality.

Simple Steps to Save for a Down Payment on Your Next Home (Part 1)

There are few things in life as big as buying your very own home. Homeownership has long been a central part of what many people call the “American Dream,” but it’s not something that you can achieve easily. One of the biggest hurdles to buying a new home is having enough money to put as a down payment. If you are trying to save for your next home, here are some ways you can save more to get into your dream home sooner.

Saving for a down payment on a home doesn’t have to be unachievable. Take these simple steps to get closer to your dream of buying a home.

Step 1: Identify your goal

It’s hard to save for something if you’re not exactly sure how much you will need. You don’t have to have an exact amount for your down payment, but it certainly helps to have a rough idea. One of the easiest ways to identify a down payment savings goal is to use an online mortgage calculator to help determine what you can afford. Put in the amount you can spend on a mortgage to see how much you can borrow for a home. Calculate 5% to 20% of that total to get your down payment (we know that’s a big range, we’ll talk about that in Step 3).

Step 2: Set a timeline

Along with deciding how much you want to save, set a goal for when you would like to be able to buy your home. Again, this doesn’t have to be an exact day, but you might set a goal to be in your new home by the first quarter of 2022, for example, which gives you about 12-15 months to save. Your specific goal might be longer or shorter depending on what you currently have in savings or how much you can afford to save each month.

Step 3: Choose the loan

It’s important to figure out what kind of loan might be right for you. The type of loan you get depends on several factors:

A lender like Integrity First Lending can help you determine which loans might work best based on your financial and personal situation. Knowing that can help you figure out whether you need 20% down (for a conventional loan with no private mortgage insurance), 5% down with loan options like FHA for first-time homebuyers, or something in between.

In part two of this blog post we’ll cover the next four steps to help you save for a down payment on your home. In the meantime, talk to Integrity First Lending to get a better idea of how much you will need to save for your next home.