Posted 04/03/2017

Mortgages Unlimited home loans

You’re not alone! According to NAR, in 2016, single women made up 17% of home sales (highest point since 2011) while single men represented 7% of home sales.

On average, women earn less than men but that hasn’t stopped women from their desire to own a home. With the down payment assistance programs and first time home buyer programs, why should it?

There are many things to keep in mind when you start your journey to home ownership. This is not like renting.  When you buy a home, you own it and all the repairs and maintenance that come with it over the years.  You’ll have taxes and insurance to add to your mortgage and other fees. Scared yet? Don’t be! That’s not the goal here. But helping you be prepared is.

Tips for buying your home:

Seek out a lender and get pre-approved. Nothing says I’m serious about buying a home than a pre-approval for a home loan. This lets the Realtor know that when you find the right house, you’re ready to make an offer. Check out some of the down payment assistance programs and other programs so you can have an idea of how they work and what you might qualify for. Although your lender will provide you with options, it’s always good to go in with some knowledge.

First time home buyer –

USDA home loans with zero down –

VA home loans with zero down –

There are other loan programs to choose from.  Loan programs have different guidelines so your lender will be able to help you choose the one that best fits your situation.

Buy what you can afford. You may be qualified for more than you want to spend monthly. Go with your instincts on this one. If you are not comfortable buying at the highest amount you qualified for, then don’t. The amount you qualify for is just that and doesn’t mean you must buy at that price.

Find your real estate agent. This can come from a recommendation from your lender, family or friends. Just be sure that he or she is listening to your needs.  You may not connect with your lender or Realtor. It is your choice and you want to feel comfortable with whom you work with so don’t feel obligated to hire the first person you meet. Just a note; if this is your first time buying a home, there is no fee to pay to your agent when purchasing a home unlike when you’re selling your home.

Think about resale. Think hard about that house you might find fun with its quirky angles and odd rooms. If it seems like a great deal and offers aren’t pouring in, it’s likely because of these odd features. It will be no different when you go to sell it.

You always hear location, location, location! Well, there’s something to that. Consider the school district and convenience to shops and parks. Even if you don’t have children, living in highly rated school district will certainly be to your benefit when the time comes to sell your home.  Your Realtor can provide you with crime data, school district data and historical resale data so you’ll have an idea of what you can expect at resale.

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Minnesota Housing programs are not available in South Dakota or Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at












Posted 02/10/2017

Home prices set for new peak in 2017
Home prices increased 7.2 per cent in December, CoreLogic’s Home Price Index reveals.

The annual rise was helped by a 0.8 per cent increase month-over-month compared to November and the outlook suggests that prices will continue higher through 2018.

“As of the end of 2016, the CoreLogic national index was 3.9 per cent below the peak reached in April 2006,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “We expect our national index to rise 4.7 per cent during 2017, which would put homes prices at a new nominal peak before the end of this year.”

Optimism in housing market increased last month
The stronger US economy has boosted optimism in the housing market with more people expecting house prices to increase in the next 12 months.

Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index increased by 2 percentage points in January with those expecting home prices to go up rising 7 percentage points.

“Three months after the presidential election, measures of consumer optimism regarding personal financial prospects and the economy are at or near the highest levels we’ve seen in the nearly seven-year history of the National Housing Survey,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

More people said that now is a good time to sell a home while the share of those thinking now is the right time to buy declined. There was no change in the percentage of respondents expecting lower mortgage rates in the next 12 months.

Duncan says that despite the positive survey results, there are still potential headwinds for the housing market.

“Any significant acceleration in housing activity will depend on whether consumers’ favorable expectations are realized in the form of income gains sufficient to offset constrained housing affordability. If consumers’ anticipation of further increases in home prices and mortgage rates materialize over the next 12 months, then we may see housing affordability tighten even more,” he warned.

Mortgage availability increased
The availability of mortgage credit increased in January according to Mortgage Bankers’ Association figures.

Its analysis of Ellie Mae data shows that there was a 1.1 per cent rise in the MBA Mortgage Credit Availability Index, indicating easing lending conditions. Jumbo loans saw the largest rise in availability (4.7 per cent) followed by Conventional (2.3 per cent) and Government (0.2 per cent) while Conforming loan availability was down 0.2 per cent.

“We saw a particular increase in agency jumbo programs that focus on loans in high cost areas that exceed the baseline conforming loan limit of $424,000 but which are still eligible for purchase by the GSEs,” Lynn Fisher, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “While the change in GSE loan limits may have had an indirect impact on the jumbo MCAI, there were other factors at play as several investors rolled out new jumbo loan programs in January.”

Information provided by Mortgage Professional America.

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at


Posted 01/14/2016


Staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home and even the home’s perceived value. Just put yourself in a buyers’ shoes. You walk into a home that is professionally staged. You’re so enamored with the décor that it is possible you don’t see some of the little quirks about the house. Say one of the rooms is oddly shaped but the stager chose the right furniture to bring the room together. If the house down the street has the same floor plan with no furniture, a buyer may have a hard time picturing what to do with the odd space and view it as wasted space.

Buyers look for useful space and there are many, many people who do not have the natural ability or creativity to see beyond what is in front of them. This could deter a buyer from considering your home.

If it is a sellers’ market, you may be able to get away with not preparing your house with a professional stager. However, you’ll still want to be sure the house appeals to the masses by doing some of the basics below:

Declutter – Too many things on the kitchen counter can make a kitchen look smaller just as in any room. Remember, when you move into your next home, you can live as you like but buyers need to be able to see their own furnishings in your home.

Fresh coat of paint – Neutral everywhere

Clean – Can’t stress this enough.

De-odorize – Buyers don’t want to know what you ate for dinner the night before or if you have animals.

De-personalize – Too many pictures or trinkets can be distracting.

Less is more – If you have a lot of furniture, take some pieces out and put in storage. You want the rooms to appear larger.

Curb appeal – Paint front door, clean up yard and remove any junk in yard.

These are pretty simple things you can do that won’t break the bank.

In a competitive market, these steps are absolutely necessary but you may want to take it a step further by a hiring a professional stager. Will it make a difference? I believe so. Walking into a beautifully staged home can make all the difference in the world. Look at the two pictures below. They each evoke a different feeling and they are the same room. An empty home can easily lose a feeling of warmth.

lori 1  lori 2

Photos courtesy of Lori Bergeron with Bergeron Homes & Development, Inc.

Notice the neutral background, the pop of color by adding art and throw pillows. That is one of the biggest secrets from designers. Add color with accessories. The big pieces should be neutral and decorated around.

A note from Professional Interior Designer, Stager and Realtor, Lori Bergeron:

My number one tip I have learned to tell Sellers who want to attempt to stage their home themselves is……   TAKE PICTURES!
Go outside and take pictures of the front and back of your home, take pictures of every room inside, and look at them and it makes it easier to see what needs to be done.  When you think you have it ready, retake the pictures and send them to friends and family that will give an honest opinion, and finally compare them with current listings of homes in your price range.  And remember, you can always hire a Professional Home Stager.
You can find more of Lori’s work at

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at




Posted 01/14/2016

refinanceWhen considering a rate and term refinance and whether it is right for you, you need to know how much you are saving per month after the refinance, how much your closing costs are, and how long you plan on being in the house. Once you have this information, you can determine if a refinance is right for you.

The table below is based on a scenario where we are refinancing a $200,000 mortgage with a 5.25% interest rate. We are assuming $4000 in closing costs that are being financed in the new loan. You can also choose to pay this at closing and not finance it but many people choose to roll the costs into a new loan amount in order to minimize the money they pay out of their own pocket.


As you can see, we are saving exactly $100 each month and it cost us $4000 to refinance. It will take us 40 months or 3 years and 4 months to recoup the closing costs via the monthly savings. If we were planning on remaining in the home for 4 years this refinance would benefit us as we would have recouped all of our costs just after the third year in the home and continue to save $100 each month after.  If we were only planning on staying in the home 2 years, we would not recoup all of the closing costs.  While we are saving $100 each month, it would not benefit us in the long run to refinance if we were only remaining in the home for 2 years as we would only recoup $2400 of the $4000 closing costs.

The simple formula for determining if refinancing is right for you is to divide your closing costs by your monthly savings. This will give you the months needed to recoup the closing costs. As long as you plan on being in the home longer than it takes to recoup the closing costs, a refinance will benefit you in the short term in the form of monthly savings and continued long term savings once the closing costs are recouped.

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at


Posted 11/12/2015

Millennial Buyers Words Home for Sale House Real Estate Sign

Enter a new breed of buyers. And by that I mean “The Millennials!” According to new data by Pew over 40% of millennials are living are home due likely to the rising cost of college tuition. However, the ones that are preparing to purchase a home, are armed with all the goods before you even meet them. This is a Google generation that do their homework before calling on you for your services.  There is not much they need from you (at this point) except for answers and they want it right now with no time for small talk.

Millennials are changing the way many industries attract their business and communicate with them. And when it comes to customer satisfaction, you better be at the top of your game.  Social media is their best friend and they’re quick to share their experience with others, good or bad.

Eventually, there will be face to face time but till then they prefer to communicate via text and email. They may even request a Skype meeting at some point. In their minds, they only need a realtor to show them the houses they want to see. That’s until they meet you and realize maybe they aren’t the expert after all regardless of all the information they found on the internet.

So relax, your job is safe! But you should know how to deal with Generation Y. More than 50 percent of millennials search for homes on their phones and, among those, 26 percent end up buying a home they found that way, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

How to work with millennials:

Communication: Get comfortable with texting and emailing because that is the preferred method to deliver information. Call a Millennial with an answer to a text they sent you and see how they respond. (Actually, I don’t suggest that but you get my drift). Maybe send a message to see if they are up for a conversation if you really need to speak to them.

Phone App: They use an app for everything! They are on their smartphones all the time and they are an on-the-go generation.  This should be one of the first things you do when contacted.

Respond quickly: They’re programmed to get answers instantly. Waiting around for responses will just aggravate them and make you look incompetent.

In the loop: Keep these clients up to date on the entire transaction. Send a quick email or text. Nothing will frustrate them more than not knowing what’s going on.

You might call this generation a little high maintenance but they are smart. They are doing business differently than we could have imagined and are successful at a much younger age. One must adapt to the psychology of a Millennial to do business with them.

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at


Posted 10/08/2015


As of October 3, 2015, the long-anticipated introduction to TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure) has been implemented.  Things are changing!

The goal of TRID is to make mortgages more transparent and easier to understand for consumers. Below is a simple break down of the changes that were made.

New Forms will be used.

There is now 2 forms instead of 4. The home buyer will be receiving these new disclosure forms from lenders explaining the loan estimate and loan closing.

The Loan Estimate form  (LE) combines the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and the Truth in Lending Disclosure into a shorter form that should be easier to understand and explains the mortgage loan’s key features, costs and risks at the beginning of the mortgage process.

Under TRID, a lender cannot impose any fee, except a reasonable fee for obtaining a consumer’s credit report, on a consumer until the consumer has received the loan estimate and has indicated intent to proceed.

It might take lenders longer to pre-approve someone because they are going to be extra careful when collecting and reviewing borrower information.

The Closing Disclosure form combines the final Truth-In-Lending statement and the HUD-1 settlement statement into a shorter form that should be easier for the consumer to understand and provides a detailed account of the entire real estate transaction, including terms of the loan, fees and closing costs.

Disclosures must be provided within a specific time frame.

Lenders must provide the Loan Estimate form to consumers within three business days of applying for a loan – which means three business days after the consumer provided the lender with their name, income, Social Security number, property address, property value estimate and mortgage loan amount sought.

The Closing Disclosure form must be provided at least three business days before loan consummation (the time the consumer becomes contractually obligated to the mortgage, which is usually at closing).

Any significant changes to the loan terms (the annual percentage rate (APR) becomes inaccurate, the loan product changes or a prepayment penalty is added) will call for a re-disclosure with the same three business days rule.

Both the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms can be delivered in person, by mail or electronic delivery. If by mail, it is 7 business days.

The accuracy and delivery of the new forms will be critical to ensure the mortgage process is not derailed or delayed.

Mortgages Unlimited is a local mortgage company serving not only the Twin Cities but also, South Dakota and Wisconsin. We work on the behalf of our clients ensuring they are getting the best possible loan while providing outstanding customer service.

Give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call @ 763-416-2600 if you are looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home loan. Or you start a secure online application at

Posted 10/01/2015

happy elderly couple coming home with groceries on golf cart

Some of the most common reasons senior citizens consider moving are retirement, changes in lifestyle and health, being closer to family or wanting to move to a warmer climate.

When making the decision to move, there are a few things to think about, including access to medical care, recreational and social activities. Other things to be cognizant of are some practical concerns, such as grocery stores, churches and pharmacies.

Do your research as to what kind of services and recreational activities are available in the new community. Access to a seniors’ network that may include help such as home care, house cleaning services, lawn care and/or snow removal, and accessible transportation. Some communities offer a range of options, from independent living to supportive assistance. This is a very important option to think about if you will not be moving closer to family.

Making the decision to leave your home you’ve created so many memories in is not an easy decision. As someone with limited mobility may find it more challenging to create connections outside of the home. It’s important to ensure that there are local groups to become involved with; whether it’s a church group, a club or a recognized non-profit agency, finding a place for support can be an integral part of a senior’s life. Finding these types of networking situations will help an older adult find contentment in their new situation.

If you’d like to discuss your financial options for purchasing a home in a senior citizen community, contact Mortgages Unlimited at 763-416-2600 or visit our website at


Posted 08/27/2015

pig and house

Have you thought about refinancing to save money on your mortgage? When rates are low it is a great time to consider taking advantage of this opportunity. But what if you didn’t qualify to refinance, is there another way to save money on your mortgage?

Yes, there is!

Consider making an extra payment every year or adding an extra $100 to $200 more a month to your payment, you can reduce the amount of years on your mortgage and pay less in total interest.

Take a $200,000 – 30-year home loan with an interest rate of 5%. It would cost $186,512 in interest with the traditional 12 payments a year. If you were to add just one extra payment a year, the loan will be retired in 26 years and you pay only $153,813 in interest — a savings of $32,699.

You’ll also be adding to your equity which will allow you to drop the private mortgage insurance sooner, saving you as much as a couple hundred dollars a month.

If you are disciplined, this plan will help you save tens of thousands. But you also need to have the extra cash. Keep in mind that the extra payments won’t lower future monthly payments. It’ll just reduce your term and total interest expense.

If you are purchasing a new home, want to refinance or have any questions about mortgages, give us a call and speak to one of our Mortgage Professionals at 763-416-2600 or visit us at



Posted 08/25/2015

Stacks of coins with the word ESCROW isolated on white

An escrow account is essentially a holding tank. During a real estate transaction, the escrow officer—usually a lawyer or title company representative—holds all the important documents and deposits while the buyer and seller work out the details.
A third party holds money in an escrow account until all legally required conditions have been met. The real estate title company, an attorney’s office or an escrow agent may be this trusted third party.

When signing the purchase agreement, you are required to give the seller a deposit towards the sale. This money goes into the escrow account. Until the sale is complete, the seller’s deed to the property may be held in escrow. Then it’s transferred to your name and recorded at the county courthouse.

At time of closing, your signature will be witnessed by a notary public as you sign the loan and property transfer documents. This verifies your signature as authentic and valid. Once all of the paperwork has been finalized, the money held in the purchase escrow are distributed to all those involved in the sale of the home.

After this time, another escrow account is formed. The account holding the prorated property taxes and other fees that you and the seller have paid, is the monthly escrow account. This escrow usually takes a portion of each of your monthly mortgage payments to pay  annual property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums.

A statement reporting they money collected and how it was used will come annually from your mortgage servicing company. This is the time that your monthly note may be adjusted up or down to reflect higher or lower property taxes, insurance premiums or other expenses that are drawn from the escrow account.

Escrow charges are not regulated and there are no set escrow service fees but it is typically 1% to 2% of the cost of the home. A charge for additional services such as wire transfers, copies and office expenses may be added to the escrow agent’s set fees. Escrow charges can also be combined with the title insurance provider’s fee.

The HUD-1 statement will detail all fees including the escrow service fees. Oftentimes, some, if not all, of the escrow fee is to be paid by the seller, along with other closing costs. In some states, it’s common for the seller and the buyer to split escrow fees.

If you have any questions regarding escrow accounts or are looking to take advantage of today’s low rates to finance a home or refinance your existing mortgage, please give one of our Mortgage Consultants a call at 763-416-2600 or visit us at

Posted 05/29/2015

Couple with keys to new home


You’re about to close on your new home and want to make sure the closing goes smoothly with no hiccups. You’ve come this far and are so excited about your new home so be sure you know what your responsibility is before showing up for the keys to your new home.


A week before your closing, you should review your final closing statement or HUD-1 Statement. On this you will find credits for any deposits, any credits that may due to you from the seller or for other items agreed upon between buyer and seller. Review all the lender and title and escrow fees. Are they what you agreed upon? Check the math calculations on the closing statement. Verify that the title or escrow agent has your correct vesting, or the way you want to take title to the property.


You cannot bring in a personal check to the closing. You must go to the bank and get a certified cashier’s check for the closing costs you owe made out to the title company.


Each buyer needs a government issued photo I.D., such as a driver’s license.


You will want to a walk through immediately before the closing. This will give the sellers ample time to move out properly as well as make sure that any repairs agreed upon are completed.

Checklist for walk through:

Buyers should always got with their agent
Bring a camera to document any issues
Check all major appliances to see if they are running properly
Check repairs the sellers agreed to make
Check all light fixtures
Run water & look under sinks for leaks
Check garage door openers
Open and close all doors
Flush toilets
Inspect ceilings, wall and floors
Run garbage disposal and exhaust fans
Check exterior of home
Turn air conditioner and heater on and off
Check storage areas to make sure nothing has been left behind

Take your time during your final inspection of the home.


So many things can go wrong if you do not do this! Imagine the previous homeowners decided to have everything shut off and out of their name. Maybe you aren’t moving in the day of the closing but weeks later. Now you’re moving in and there is no electricity and no heat/air or hot water. You also don’t know if the homeowners final bill is unpaid. It is best to work with the homeowner on the best time to have utilities transferred into your name. Typically, the seller and buyer will agree to transfer these services into the buyer’s name before settlement. Any balances owed on these accounts are paid out of the seller’s proceeds.

Before signing on the dotted line, double check that everything is correct, interest rate, fees charged and condition of the property.

Congrats on your new home!!

Need expert advice or a second opinion on a home loan or looking to purchase a new home soon?  Give Mortgages Unlimited a call at 763-244-0458.

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