Adulting: What’s a Mortgage Broker

What Is a Mortgage Broker and How Can They Help?

Adulting: What’s a Mortgage Broker

So you’re looking for a home?  It’s not as fun as you thought it would be, is it?  There’s a lot more to it.  Not only do you actually have to find a house that fits your needs but you also need to get a mortgage.  Unless you’re in real estate or you’re a mortgage broker, you’re probably not very confident about your ability to make the right decision when it comes to a mortgage.  But don’t worry!  The average adult is so terrible at looking for a mortgage that there’s a whole profession based around it.  Meet the Mortgage Broker.

Getting a mortgage is just as important as finding the right house.  It certainly isn’t as enjoyable as finding your first home and it’s probably more stressful, however, it’s unavoidable.  Like all major, unavoidable, and stressful decisions in life, there’s an insane amount of stuff to consider when getting a mortgage.

Working with a Mortgage Broker, Explained

At first, your instincts will probably tell you to go straight to your bank.  You trust your bank to hold your money, a mortgage should be no different.  You believe that until you sit down and read the fine print.  Maybe you’re not ready to negotiate a mortgage one-on-one with your bank.  That’s okay because there’s a group of professionals that are.

The Mortgage Broker

As I’ve said a few times, mortgages are super important.  They’re also unique to each person.  That’s why it’s essential to have someone who understands your needs and situation when looking for the right mortgage.  You’re going to want personalized service.  You want someone who understands you or your family.  That’s where a mortgage broker comes into to play.

Essentially, a Mortgage Broker is a middleman between you (the borrower) and the bank or loaner.

St. Louis-based Liberty Lending provided a great step-by-step overview of what to expect when working with your mortgage broker. They consult with their customers to offer multiple loan types. The USDA Missouri loan can help to reduce costs in rural and suburban areas where people are looking to buy a home. An FHA loan is less strict than a conventional loan, making them more popular for first time home buyers. Last, VA or military loans are issued to veterans and active military to provide competitive interest rates and 100% financing.

Tips from Mortgage Brokers and Consultants at Liberty Lending

Step 1: Knowing How Much You Can Afford

It all starts with a simple conversation with your broker.  You’ll need to know how much you can borrow.  Your mortgage broker will sit down with you and find out just how much you can or should borrow.  Your broker will ask a series of personalized questions to find out your financial situation.  Once they determine just how much you should borrow, they’ll work with you to parse through the various mortgage options.  Banks love to give you a hefty packet or dense brochure.  Qualified mortgage brokers like the ones at Liberty Lending work with you to get individual options.

Step 2: Getting Pre-Qualified

Getting pre-qualified may very well be the most important step in the mortgage process.  Brokers will work with you to ensure pre-qualification.  Being pre-qualified is essential as it gives you buying clout.  When a seller knows you’re pre-qualified, they’re more likely to go with your offer.  Mortgage brokers ensure pre-qualification.

Step 3: Reading the Fine Print

Though you’ve technically received your loan, the work of your broker isn’t over just yet.  Mortgage brokers like the ones at Liberty Lending will comb through every detail of your contract or application once approved.  They make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Finally, Moving In

The final thing you’re mortgage broker will do is making sure you’re successfully moved into your new home.  Mortgage brokers will work with title companies and escrow to ensure everything is in your best interest.

Good luck out there!

Liberty Lending is a fantastic mortgage broker and offers a variety of resources on how to work with mortgage brokers.

Is Your Home Fire Safe?

Have You Made Sure Your Home is Fire Safe?

Follow These Tips to Make Your Home Fire Safe

As a homeowner, you understand the importance of fire safety.  Not only is your home worth money but it’s also a place of warmth and comfort for you and your family.  Some of the possession we value most are stored in our homes.  However, natural disasters and fire pose a constant threat.  You might think that you’ve taken the necessary steps to avoid catastrophe.  Still, here are just a few tips to make your home fire safe.

#1: Seriously, Have Working Smoke Detectors

First and foremost, you need to install working smoke detectors in every room.  There’s no way around this.  Smoke detectors are essential to keeping you, your family, and your most prized positions safe.  Many homeowners neglect to install enough smoke detectors and will fail to replace the batteries in the smoke detectors they’ve already installed.  Depending on the size of your home, apartment, or condo, and the size of each room, you might need a smoke detector for each room.  Keep in mind that the type of smoke detector installed also varies.  Ionization smoke detectors are the cheapest and work well with flaming fires while photoelectric smoke detectors can sense smoldering fires.  Though photoelectric fire detectors work best, they’re more expensive.  Furthermore, make sure you change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once every year.

Smoke detectors keep your home fire safe

#2: You NEED a Fire Extinguisher, or two

Most Americans have at least one fire extinguisher lying around the house.  More than likely, that single fire extinguisher is probably located somewhere near a stove or cooking appliance.  That’s a smart place to store it. However, the kitchen isn’t the only place that experiences fires.  All homeowners need at least one fire extinguisher, however, ideally, you should have more than one.  Fire extinguishers should be located in garages, near fuse boxes, and one on each level of the house.  The good thing is that fire extinguishers have decreased in price and homeowners can save when they buy in bulk. If you are unsure about which type of fire extinguisher to purchase, the 5lb ABC fire extinguisher protects against many types of fires and is very affordable. 

Always keep fire extinguishers on hand.

#3: Prevent Electrical Fires

Addressing the factors that contribute to electrical fires doesn’t happen enough.  Faulty electrical systems and wiring not only puts residents at an elevated risk for electrocution but also fires.  To prevent electrical fires, a variety of steps can be taken.  For example, just altering the way in which you treat electronics and electrical cords can reduce the risk of an electrical fire.  When plugging something in, don’t jam the prongs into the outlet.  Similarly, when removing wires, have a firm grip on the cord and don’t yank.  It’s also essential that you have an electrician take a look at your home’s electrical systems once a year.  A few other tips include not removing the grounding prong (third prong) to fit a two-prong outlet, don’t use extension cords as a permanent solution, not overload outlets, and make sure you are using the correct light bulbs.

Don’t let your house have wires like this.

#4: Consistently Update Appliances, Heating Systems

Old stuff including old appliances, old TVs, and old AC/heating systems can be disastrous.  Always make sure to update old appliances.  If an appliance starts acting up, runs hot, or is just old, replace it.  Not only do new appliances lower the risk of household fires but they also reduce energy costs.

#5: Have a Plan for When Disaster Strikes

Sometimes, prevention simply isn’t enough.  Maybe it’s a cooking accident or maybe something out of your control.  However, if disaster should strike and a fire threatens your home and its residents, you need to have a plan.  Know the best ways to evacuate from any room and for larger families, have a designated meeting area once the home is evacuated.  If you aren’t able to douse a fire using a fire extinguisher or by starving it of oxygen, there’s nothing you can do.  You need to get out of the house and contact the fire department.  Safety is more important than trying to be the hero.