Michigan First Mortgage Blog

What Happens During Probate

By Bart Bartels, Mortgage Loan Officer

Probate is the judicial process whereby the last will and testament of a loved one is validated as a public document in a court of law, or in the case of an individual not having a will, the matter of settling the estate according to state law.

The first step in the legal process is granting probate to administer the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. The legal validity of a deceased person’s will is determined by the probate court and it grants approval, also …

Can I Buy a House with Student Debt?

By John Fitzgerald, Grand Rapids Branch Manager

For some people, getting a college degree is necessary for their chosen occupation. Unfortunately, getting a college degree can be expensive and often results in student loans that must be repaid once the student has graduated. Recent statistics show that the average student loan debt is over $32,500 and the average student loan payment is $393 per month.

If you are one of the over 44 million U.S. citizens with student loan debt, your debt might affect your ability to become a homeowner. If you are looking to buy a home, you might find these …

How are Mortgage Rates Determined?

Zarine Torrey, Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer

Your mortgage rate is determined by a calculation that takes in many variables; some that are in your control and others that are not in your control.

Factors you control:

Credit score – the lowest and best rates go to consumers with credit scores of 750 or higher. The lower your score becomes, the higher of a risk for the lender to take on, so the risk is passed onto you with a higher interest rate. Lenders use your credit score to predict how reliable you will be in paying your loan. Before you start shopping …

Ways to Save for a Down Payment

By Carrie Buscemi, Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer

Saving for a down payment can be one of the biggest barriers to homeownership. But many of today’s homebuyers overestimate the size of the down payment they need.

The average down payment is between 5% and 10% — not 20%, as a lot of people assume.

With options like Freddie Mac’s 3% down Home Possible mortgage, Fannie Mae’s 3% Home Ready mortgage, and the Federal Housing Authority’s 3.5% down, qualified borrowers are able to make a down payment as little as $6,000 for a $200,000 home.

Down payment assistance programs can help you bridge the cash gap, …

Jumbo Loans Explained

By Ted Lyons, Brighton Branch Manager

There are times when the name of something really captures its essence and that is certainly the case with the term “jumbo” mortgage. The name conveys the concept that something is really big – and when it comes to mortgages, a jumbo mortgage refers to a loan that is so big that it gets treated differently just because of its size alone.

Specifically, a jumbo mortgage is one that is so large that the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) won’t buy them from a mortgage lender …

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