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15

March

Don’t be a Victim — Four Ways Protect Yourself from Refinance Scams

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get-me-out-1605906_1280Buying or refinancing your home may be one of the most exciting, yet complex, financial decisions you’ll ever make. Like First Class Mortgage, many lenders, appraisers, and real estate professionals stand ready to help you get a nice home and a great loan. Unfortunately, scam artists are getting smarter, stealing millions of dollars from homeowners by promising too-good-to-be-true financing, foreclosure relief, and refinancing programs.

1. Never, ever pay fees upfront. 
If they ask you to pay a fee up front to refinance, a red flag should be going up in your mind. It is illegal to request or accept fees upfront of promised results.

2. Beware of unsolicited offers from strangers. 
If you receive an email, phone call or letter from a bank, lender or loan modification company, don’t trust the display name. Use the “look, don’t click” method to explore the email. Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email to see if the link address looks weird. If it does look strange, do not click it.

3. Pause before signing or sending any payments. 
When pressured to sign papers or send payment immediately, hit the pause button. Have a professional review the documents before you sign something you end up regretting. Remember that you can always Contact Us.

4. Seek help from a trusted partner.
Before refinancing or modifying your loan, give us a call to see what we can do to help. If you need to modify your mortgage because you’re struggling to make payments, or if you’ve received a foreclosure notice, your lender might work with you on negotiating repayment terms.

Think you’ve been a victim of fraud or identity theft?
First, file a police report with your local law enforcement agency, then contact the Federal Trade Commission, your state attorney general’s office, and the Better Business Bureau.

Sources:
*     Federal Trade Commission: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0100-mortgage-relief-scams 
*     Federal Bureau of Investigation: fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/mortgage-fraud
*     NeighborWorks ® America: www.loanscamalert.org 

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08

March

Local Market Update: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors

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MGstats_Jan17Twin Cities — (January 2017) January brings out a rejuvenated crop of buyers with a renewed enthusiasm in a new calendar year. Sales totals may still inevitably start slow in the first half of the year due to ongoing inventory concerns. Continued declines in the number of homes available for sale may push out potential buyers who simply cannot compete for homes selling at higher price points in a low number of days, especially if mortgage rates continue to increase.

New Listings in the Twin Cities region increased 3.1 percent to 4,304. Pending Sales were up 4.3 percent to 3,130. Inventory levels fell 25.4 percent to 8,212 units.

Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 4.7 percent to $225,000. Days on Market was down 7.1 percent to 79 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Homes for Sale was down 30.4 percent to 1.6 months.

In case you missed it, we have a new U.S. president. In his first hour in office, the .25 percentage point rate cut on mortgage insurance premiums for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was removed, setting the table for what should be an interesting presidential term for real estate policy. FHA loans tend to be a favorable option for those with limited financial resources.

On a brighter note, wages are on the uptick for many Americans, while unemployment rates have remained stable and relatively unchanged for several months. The system is ripe for more home purchasing if there are more homes available to sell.

Source: Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors®, Monthly Indicators Report. All data comes from NorthstarMLS. http://maar.stats.10kresearch.com/reports

 

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20

February

First-Time Homebuyers: Where to start

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As a First-Time Homebuyer, it is a good idea to start the pre-approval process before looking at homes. You will know what price range you are pre-approved for, so that you aren’t looking above or below your price range. In today’s market, homes can sell quickly. If you are pre-approved, your pre-approval letter shows sellers that you have the financial backing to make a solid offer.

As a first-time homebuyer, you have many financing options. First, you could go with a traditional conventional 15- or 30- year loan or FHA 15- or 30-year loan. Maybe your new home would qualify for a USDA loan. Are you a veteran? If so, a VA loan may be your best option. Meeting with a loan officer, in Fargo, ND, Maple Grove, MN or Grand Forks, ND, helps you understand the ins and outs of all your financing options. This will give you peace of mind when you are shopping for the right home. You know that you have the best financing option available when you run across the home of your dreams!

Meeting with a loan officer will allow you to understand what you may need to do to close on a home. How much money do you need to save for a down payment? Will you be required to have money set aside for an escrow account for your homeowner insurance and taxes? Is your credit score where it needs to be? After meeting with your mortgage consultant, you will have a clear and realistic understanding of what you need to close on your first home!

The first step in the pre-approval process is starting an application. You can Apply Online Here. 

Are you interested in consulting with a loan officer prior to applying online? Contact Us Today

Our Maple Grove office is having two Homebuyers Social this month! Come and learn about the purchasing process. There will be free drinks and appetizers and time for Q&As. RVSP Today!

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03

February

Dear First Class Mortgage:

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dearfirstclass_image

Dear First Class Mortgage,

“What does a good REALTOR® look like?”

-Merry of Maple Grove, MN

 

Hi Merry,
That is an excellent question! Here are some things to keep in mind and look for when finding your REALTOR®:

They should…

•    Effectively communicate with you and adapt to what communication style you prefer: text messages, email, phone, or good ol’ face-to-face interaction
•    Listen to what you want and actively search based on your needs and desires
•    Confirm they’re on the right track with the house hunt, and make adjustments when necessary
•    Understand your time frame and why you are purchasing and/or selling
•    List your home with an appropriate price
•    Utilize all marketing tools necessary to make your home stand out when listing: social media, top-notch photography, posting on Multiple Listing Services (MLS), etc.
•    Confirm that an interested buyer is pre-approved
•    Negotiate to get you the best offer

And, verify that they are…

•    Organized and detail oriented
•    Local experts- they know the area inside and out
•    Willing to provide a list of their clients as references

First Class Mortgage has had the pleasure of working with excellent local real estate agents.  We would love to refer one of them to you! Call or email us today for more information.

Remember that it is always a good idea to get pre-approved prior to starting the house hunt. Apply today!

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25

January

First Class Mortgage. Our Expertise, Your Peace of Mind.

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Welcome! We launched our new website and blog!

For fourteen years, First Class Mortgage’s goal has remained simple — deliver an exceptional mortgage experience. We thank our customers for joining us on this awesome journey and we hope that you will continue to be a part of our story.” 

This blog is an exciting new element to our multimedia offerings. Its purpose is to answer your top mortgage questions and provide resources for your personal wealth. We will share company news, community information and breaking mortgage news.

But, we don’t want a static blog. We will leverage social technologies to engage in two-way communication with our customers. From there we will take your feedback into consideration as we create new content, tools, and resources. 

Please contact us to let us know what you think of our new website and blog! All comments and feedback are welcome. We would love your suggestions for new information or topics. What do you want to learn more about? Is there something we are missing that you would like to see? What other questions do you have? 

We look forward to growing with you as we embark on this new journey.

Thanks for stopping by!

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