Saturday, December 31, 2016

Knowing your budget

Homebuying is an exciting experience that borrowers dive into headfirst. One of the first questions I ask my new customers is, “Have you thought about what are you comfortable paying for your new mortgage on a monthly basis?” More often than not, the answer is “no” or “not really.” As a homebuyer, you are urged to get prequalified or pre-approval by a mortgage company. This is an important step, but so many times people are tempted or even get their heart set on a property that is really out of their comfortable price range. Your first step as a new buyer should be to review your own budget and figure out what you are comfortable paying on a monthly basis.

When you meet with a mortgage originator, you’ll be asked for your income, assets, and permission to check your credit history. Mortgage companies use various guidelines for allowable total debt compared to total income (called the "DTI" ratio), but remember this is only a guideline. It doesn't represent your whole situation as a homeowner. There are simple steps in creating an effective budget every homebuyer should complete on their own before speaking to a mortgage company. 

First, look at your total monthly income. While mortgage companies usually qualify people based on their gross income (before taxes come out), remember that is not your true take home pay. Look at your paystub and calculate out your monthly net take home pay. Net income means the actual income deposited into your bank account after taxes, social security, health insurance, and any other payroll deductions are taken out. Make a simple spreadsheet listing net take home pay in your “income” category. If you have multiple incomes in your household, list them all in one column and create a “total income” at the bottom. 

Second, review your monthly debt. When a mortgage company calculates what you can qualify for, they generally only consider debt that shows up on your credit report. This typically includes loans, mortgages, and credit cards. Remember you have other monthly obligations including utility bills, maintenance, car insurance, and (if applicable) child care expenses that are not usually on your credit report. Create a column for monthly expenses labeled “debt” and add all of your expenses together at the bottom to create your “total debt” category. If you are paying rent, do not include rent payment in your calculation as the new mortgage payment will take its place. 

Finally, subtract your “total debt” from your “total income.” The number you are left with represents your extra money left over to pay for your new house expense. The housing payment will usually include the principal, interest, real estate taxes, and homeowners insurance. Double check your budget to be sure that you factored in utility bills such as heat, water/sewer tax, electricity, trash removal, and cable. 

Surprisingly, your mortgage officer might tell you that you can qualify for more than what you are actually comfortable paying. Creating a budget beforehand ensures you will not get into a situation where you fall in love with a house outside of your comfortable range. Now you are ready to find out from your mortgage officer a reasonable price range based on your comfortable monthly budget. Happy house searching!

Reviews from our Happy Homeowners!

Todd was amazing and when I or anyone I know needs a mortgage I will absolutely send them to Todd - Roanne

Thank you to Lindsay and everyone at Applied Mortgage.  I shopped around for my mortgage and not only did you have the best rate, you had the most helpful and down-to-earth people. - George

Todd is outstanding! - Gregory & Daina

John Martin was excellent.  He helped me through every step of the way! - J

You were glowingly referred to us by {our Realtor}.  you exceeded expectation in every way.  Thank you for your outstanding professional service and patience. - G & G 

I was amazed at how responsive Todd and his staff were - I received email and/or phone call replies so quickly.  Also excellent service, Todd truly went above and beyond and was simply very kind and generous to me.  Unforeseen issues could have become a nightmare, but with his "we'll get it done" attitude, it worked out with much less stress and hassle than might have been the case.  He really did everything in his power to make things work and I so appreciate that.  - Amber

I will recommend Applied Mortgage and John Martin to everyone.  I have done business with many banks and lenders.  This was the best experience I ever had.  Thank you John and Applied. - John 

An absolute pleasure working with Applied Mortgage. Honest, sincere, thorough. I highly recommend these people to all my friends and family. - Kevin

Lindsay, Todd, Sherri, Nicole, and everyone at Applied/Merrimack Mortgage went above the call of duty to make sure our mortgage process was smooth and the closing was timely.  I would definitely recommend them to my friends. - Lionel & Mary Ann

At first my fiancé and I thought that what Applied Mortgage was able to do for us was too good to be true. But it was true! Todd Barron was able to get us approved even though we hadn't had any luck going straight to the bank. We were able to buy the very first home we had even attempted to buy - the one we had our hearts set on - and it all went through so smoothly and easily, we couldn't believe it. Todd and all of the staff are friendly, courteous, and professional. Thank you so much, we love our home! - Molly

Lindsay was amazing. She helped us through every step of the mortgage process and I am confident that we got the best deal, the best service, and the best results possible in the Valley.  - Peter

We own our dream home thanks to the staff at Applied Mortgage. - Madi 

Friday, December 30, 2016

FHA Rehab Loan Options

What is the 203k program?

HUD’s FHA Section 203(k) loan program fills a unique and important need for homebuyers. When buying a house that needs repair or modernization, homebuyers usually have to follow a complicated and costly process. The interim acquisition and improvement loans often have relatively high interest rates, short repayment terms and a balloon payment. However, Section 203(k) offers a solution that helps both borrowers and lenders, insuring a single, long term, fixed or adjustable rate loan that covers both the acquisition and rehabilitation of a property. Section 203(k) insured loans save borrowers time and money. They also protect the lender by allowing them to have the loan insured even before the condition and value of the property may offer adequate security. 

The following repairs can be financed with this program:

· structural alterations and reconstruction (full 203K only)

· modernization and improvements to the home's function

· elimination of health and safety hazards

· changes that improve appearance and eliminate obsolescence

· reconditioning or replacing plumbing; installing a well and/or septic system

· adding or replacing roofing, gutters, and downspouts

· adding or replacing floors and/or floor treatments

· enhancing accessibility for a disabled person

· making energy conservation improvements

· Major remodeling, such as kitchens, bathrooms, etc

· Weatherization: including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc. 

· Lead based paint stabilization or abatement of lead based paint hazards. 

· Repair, replacement or the addition of exterior decks, patios and porches. 

· Basement waterproofing. 

· Window and door replacement and exterior siding replacement. 

Work with your loan originator at Applied Mortgage to obtain your FHA 203K rehab loan. We will need to collect the contracts from the licensed/insured general contractor with sub
contractors who are going to do the work. These must be completed within the initial inspection period.  If you are using a Full 203K loan (required for work over $29,000 and/or structural repairs) you will hire a 203K consultant to review the contracts and further inspect the property. All contracts and draw agreements must be finalized with your contractor and the 203K consultant prior to the appraiser inspecting the property. The loan is then processed similar to a regular FHA purchase except the appraisal is done "subject to" all of the repairs being completed. Once the loan closes, you are allowed draws through out the rehab process and you will contact the consultant directly to inspect the property and request the draws. Once the contractor(s) finish the work, a final inspection is completed and only then are all of the final funds disbursed. Contact your loan originator for more information on a 203K Rehab Loan. 

REFERRAL LOCATION DISCLAIMER: All policy information contained in this knowledge base article is based upon the referenced HUD policy document. Any lending or insuring decisions should adhere to the specific information contained in that underlying policy document. 

This is for informational purposes only. This is not a pre-qualification, rate lock, or loan commitment.

MA Housing Loan

Most states offer a subsidized housing program or "bond" loan.  Merrimack has been an advocate of these programs and participates in financing in most states we serve.  Here at Applied Mortgage, we offer the MA Housing loan program to qualified buyers in MA.  Typically this program is geared toward people who are moderate income and do not own another home.  Contact your loan officer today to see if MA Housing makes sense for you!

Conventional Loans

We offer conventional fixed and adjustable rate mortgages.  Typically a conventional mortgage is suitable for the borrower with higher credit standards and a larger down payment.  However there are conventional programs with as low as 5% down payment for qualified borrowers.  We also offer fixed rate conventional loans for 2-4 unit investment properties with sufficient loan to value.  Contact your loan officer today to learn more about conventional loan options.

USDA Rural Housing loans

Insured by USDA, this program is for lower income borrowers looking to purchase or refinance in areas designated "rural."  100% financing is available to qualified borrowers.  Rural housing has lower credit standards than many other loan products, although they are a bit more strict on your overall debt obligation.  Contact your loan officer today to see if Rural Housing could be a loan program for you!

VA - Veteran's Affairs Loans

Qualified Veterans are eligible for 100% financing thanks to the Loan Guaranty program from the Department of Veteran's Affairs.  We proudly serve our Military Homebuyers with this excellent program.  Contact your Loan Officer today to see if you qualify for a VA loan.  We will help you obtain your VA Certificate of Eligibility.


FHA - Federal Housing Administration

Insured by the Department of HUD, FHA loans have become a staple for the first time homebuyer.  FHA loans have more liberal guidelines with respect to income qualification, credit rating, and lower down payments.  In the past few years, FHA's popularity has risen to an all-time high.  Typically FHA requires 3.5% down payment.  Contact your loan officer today to discuss the FHA loan product.

2016 In the Community!

Check out these fun community events we sponsored and participated in this year! 
Amherst Boys and Girls Club Gala 

Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage

Donating Home Kits for local Veterans 

2016 Backpack Drive - donated 355 Backpacks

Big Brothers Big Sisters Daffodil Fun Run

Northampton Chamber event

TRID Seminar for industry professionals 

Amherst Chamber Golf Tournament
United Way Pacesetter

League Legends Golf Tournament

Santa's Trains at Look Park 

Our Staff Spring 2016

(left to right) Nicole Laurie, Todd Barron, Ryan Footit, John Martin, Lindsay Barron, Jess LaMothe, Sherri Waslick

Todd Barron, Branch Manager

Todd Barron is native of the Valley who returned after college with his wife Andrea to raise a family and work in the mortgage business. Todd had met Andrea in Boston where they both were working after he graduated from Brandeis University. 

Todd first started to work in Real Estate while in the Boston area. His first venture in Western MA was with his brother when they opened a Real Estate office in Pittsfield in 1986. While working in this agency, Todd met a World War II Marine veteran who had just opened up a new mortgage business. Todd joined his company in 1987 and began his long-term commitment to help home buyers find mortgage financing that was truly  in their best interests. 

  For the first 15 years Todd managed mortgage offices in Chicopee, West Springfield and Northampton for Statewide Funding and Source One Mortgage. He became recognized as a top producer and leader in the Western MA mortgage industry. In early 2002, Todd and a co-manager founded Applied Mortgage Services. Todd successfully ran the company independently until 2015 when he merged the company with Merrimack Mortgage, an established mortgage banking company that Applied Mortgage Services had worked with for years.

   Todd continues to lead his team with the steadfast commitment to serving the best interests of all of our customers.

Todd and his team have helped thousands of people in the Pioneer Valley over the past 30 y ears to achieve their dream of owning a home. He is thankful to all of his customers and the many realtors, attorneys and other real estate and insurance professionals that work tirelessly to help these customers. Todd continues to train new loan originators to serve the best interests of their customers.

 Todd continues to serve the community as a volunteer and/or donor with Big Brother Big Sisters, Amherst Boys and Girls Club, Northampton High School Athletics, Little League, Friends of the Homeless, Dollars for Scholars, Look Park, and The United Way.  He is a long term member of the Amherst, Easthampton and Northampton Chambers of Commerce and The Pioneer Valley Realtors Association.

Contact Information
Office: 413-586-5626 ext 105
Cell: 413-530-0090
Fax: 413-586-5626
NMLS #: 7080

John Martin, Loan Originator

John started  in the mortgage business in 1992 immediately after going through the process of buying his own home.  He has become an experienced loan officer working with every type of mortgage an in locations all over the state of Massachusetts, specializing in Hampshire and Franklin counties.  John works to educate borrowers, make them comfortable, get them qualified and help them through the entire home purchase or refinance process from finding the right home to closing.  He has a proven ability to work with local realtors, attorneys, and other real estate professionals to make the process smoother and easier for every client.  John has also spent a number of years working as a controller and compliance officer giving him a unique perspective of every phase of business.  
John was born and raised in Springfield and has lived and worked in the Northampton area for 30 years.  He graduated Cathedral High in Springfield and Brandeis University with a degree in economics.  His work before the mortgage business included playing professional basketball in Europe, then as a carpenter in Atlanta before coming back to Western MA, and working in the investment and automotive fields.  John spends his off hours time with his wife Sydney and their "kids", 2 lab mix dogs and 4 cats, all rescues.  He also enjoys working around the house and golf.  

Contact Information
Office: 413-586-5626
Cell: 413-575-3962
Fax: 866-579-0782
NMLS #: 18968

Nicole Laurie, Loan Originator

Nicole joined the Applied Mortgage team in April of 2015 with a background in retail management.  Nicole quickly caught on to the mortgage industry and plays many roles in our Northampton branch including training processors, assisting originators, as well as originating her own loans.  She grew up in Western Mass and now lives with her family in Northampton.  She attended Western New England University for her undergraduate degree.   Outside of the office you can find Nicole spending time with her family, taking care of her garden, or at the hockey rink cheering on her oldest son. 

Contact Information
Office: 413-586-5626
Cell: 413-301-3955
Fax: 855-339-8383
NMLS #: 1480155

Ryan Footit, Loan Originator

Ryan joined the Merrimack Mortgage Team in May of 2016 with a background in sales.   Ryan is from the Western, MA area having grown up just down the road in Belchertown.  He attended UMASS-Amherst where he earned his undergraduate degree in Nutrition.  Ryan is a board member of the Young Professionals of Amherst.  Outside of work, Ryan can be found playing golf, hockey,  and enjoying a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Contact Information
Office: 413-586-5626 
Cell: 413-695-3460
Fax: 866-206-2276
NMLS #: 1494366

Lindsay Barron, Loan Originator

Lindsay began working for her father Todd in his independent mortgage broker company at the young age of 16.  Lindsay learned the ins and outs of the mortgage industry before ultimately obtaining her MA Loan Originator license in 2011.  Lindsay worked as an origination assistant during her undergraduate studies at UMASS-Amherst and began as a full time loan originator in 2015.  Lindsay also obtained her Masters in Business Administration from Western New England University in December 2015.  As a successful loan originator, she prides herself in taking time to educate her clients from pre-qualification all the way through the closing so they thoroughly understand their process.  She also maintains prompt communication with all parties involved to secure a seamless transaction.  Lindsay is a Pioneer Valley Native having grown up in Northampton, MA.  She is a founding board member of the Young Professional of Amherst networking group.  Outside of the office you might see Lindsay running marathons, attending yoga or other fitness classes, and spending time with her family and her new rescue dog "Ted." 

Contact Information
Office: 413-586-5626 ext 104
Cell: 413-320-1641
Fax: 877-886-7544
NMLS #: 381413

Our Processors

Sherri Waslick, Processor
p.   413-586-5626
f.   877-567-7053

Jessica LaMothe, Processor
p.   413-586-5626
f.   866-216-8099

Our Loan Officers

Todd Barron, Branch Manager
Federally Registered Loan Originator NMLS #7080
c. 413-530-0090
f.   413-586-5660

John Martin, Loan Originator
Federally Registered Loan Originator NMLS #18968
c. 413-575-3962
f.    866-579-0782

Lindsay Barron, Loan Originator
Federally Registered Loan Originator NMLS #381413
c.   413-320-1641
f.   877-886-7544
Nicole Laurie, Loan Originator
Federally Registered Loan Originator NMLS #1480155
c. 413-301-3955
f.   855-339-8383

Ryan Footit, Loan Originator
Federally Registered Loan Originator NMLS #1494366
c. 413-695-3460
f.   866-206-2276


About Us

Welcome to Applied Mortgage: the Northampton branch HarborOneMortgage (formally Merrimack Mortgage, LLC).  We are a midsize mortgage banking company specializing in residential mortgages.  We offer conventional, MA Housing, FHA, VA, and Rural Housing mortgages for single family homes, condominiums, and 2-4 unit properties.  We also offer rehab/renovation loans. 

 As a family operated branch, we at Applied Mortgage are deeply committed to providing the best options and most courteous service to our borrowers.  It is our goal to help our clients secure mortgage financing that meets their specific needs, as well as serves their best interests.  Simultaneously we strive to create a seamless transaction for all parties involved.
Todd Barron and his team at Applied have served the Pioneer Valley since 1987! 

 As one of the region’s largest independent mortgage bankers, our reputation as a premier service provider has been the key to our success. In our history, many lenders have come and gone; few having been around as long as our team. Our success is attributed to our core strategy of providing a high level of customer satisfaction at a competitive price.

We pride ourselves on being the company that delivers the same products as the big lenders but we also provide the high quality service levels inherent in a small lender. It is our winning combination of finesse and strength that has led to our exceptional growth during the past three decades.

Furthermore, when it comes to products and prices, we are tough to beat! As a true mortgage banker, we correspond with all major conduits to find you the best product at the best price. Call us today, you'll be glad you did!

211 North St Northampton, MA