Michigan First Mortgage Blog

Renting vs. Buying

By Stacy Willison, Mortgage Loan Officer

One of the most important decisions people make is deciding between renting or buying a house. Buying a home is a long-term investment and can be a rewarding experience. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering purchasing a home.

Are you ready to start thinking about your financial future?

Owning a home is investing in your financial future. Home values typically increase over time and with each payment, you are building equity; it is like having a built-in savings plan. Invest in your future, not your landlord’s.

Would you like fixed …

Refinancing with Negative Equity

By Matt Karber, Mortgage Loan Officer

First, we must understand what home equity is to understand how it can be positive or negative. Home equity is the gap between the fair market vs. total amount of liens associated with the home.

Example: If a Borrower purchases a home for $100,00 with a 20% down payment and receives a mortgage for the remaining $80,000, the owner has equity of $20,000 in the house. If the market value of the house remains stable over the next two years, and $5,000 of the mortgage payments are applied to the principal of the mortgage, the owner …

Private Mortgage Insurance Explained

By Carrie Buscemi, Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer

Lenders and investors typically require private mortgage insurance (PMI) for loans with down payments of less than 20%.  Mortgage insurance provides lenders a financial guaranty should a loan go into foreclosure, which allows many lenders to accept a down payment of less than 20% when approving home loans. PMI is the private sector’s alternative to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance, a government program backed by tax payers. Both programs help borrowers purchase homes with less than a 20% down payment.  Choosing the best option will depend on your individual situation.

Benefits of PMI

MSHDA Explained

By James Lutz, Mortgage Loan Officer

Michigan State Housing Development Authority, better known by its acronym MSHDA, was established in 1966 to help give lower income families a better opportunity to become homeowners. They are most commonly known for their down payment assistance programs offered to first time home buyers, but they also provide technical assistance and homeownership classes to educate our communities in regards to budgeting and preparing to become a long term homeowner.

The down payment grant they offer is good for up to $7,500 paid at closing. This grant can be used to cover the down payment itself, as …

Foreclosures – What Happens and How to Avoid Them

By Jeff Sugar, Mortgage Loan Officer

Even after a few missed mortgage payments, a homeowner can still catch up on payments and avoid foreclosure. Different laws exist in each state specifying the number of missed payments before the lender starts the foreclosure process. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that you contact your lender within 30 days of missing your first monthly payment.


Before starting foreclosure, your lender may contact you by phone to discuss missed mortgage payments. Sometimes lenders permit you to delay foreclosure by making a single month’s payment, even if you are a few months behind. …

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