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Tools & Resources

Tools and Resources

Whether you’re looking to buy your first home, buy again or refinance your mortgage, our online calculator and articles can provide you with a general idea of what to expect. Get a sense of the buying timeline, learn about your financing options to see which works best for you, and much more.

Calculators

Learn how much you can afford, estimate payments and compare your options with our useful mortgage tools.

Articles

Get helpful information on a broad range of mortgage topics and be better educated when it comes to mortgages, refinancing and related financial decisions.

Loan Options

It’s important to understand the financing options for your new home or property. Become educated on the various mortgage products available to suit your financial situation.

FAQs

Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about home mortgages and refinancing options from PHH Mortgage.

Calculators

 

Monthly Payment

Your monthly mortgage payment is calculated by adding the costs of the loan’s principal and interest, as well as any money held in escrow for taxes and insurance. How much will it be? Get an idea now and compare different loan terms.

Rent vs. Buy

If you rent your home now and are considering buying, determine if it makes financial sense with our rent vs. buy calculator. Enter in details about your current monthly rent and the home you’d like to buy and find out which option makes sense for you.

Refinance

Find out if now is a good time for you to refinance. Simply enter some information on your current loan, plus the new loan you're considering, and we'll calculate your potential savings.

Amortization

Curious to see how much principal and interest you will pay over the life of your loan? Input your information into our amortization calculator to see a month-by-month breakdown.

Affordability

Want to know how much home you can afford? Just answer a few simple questions and we'll show you an estimate that includes the projected loan amount for which you may qualify, the monthly payments and other important figures.

Monthly Payment Calculator

Your monthly mortgage payment is calculated by adding the costs of the loan’s principal and interest, as well as any money held in escrow for taxes and insurance. How much will it be? Get an idea now and compare different loan terms.

Affordability

Your Results

You can afford a house up to

Based upon the information you provided, a house at this price should fit within your budget.

Based upon the information you provided, a house at this price may be a challenge to fit within your budget.

apply now email my results

Based upon the information entered, some loan products may require a larger down payment than you inputted. Please speak with an experienced loan consultant for more accurate and detailed information.

Results shown are estimates and are based on the accuracy and continued reliability of the data you input. Home-purchase affordability depends on various factors and is not guaranteed. Such factors may include credit score, the loan product chosen, lender guidelines, other financial obligations, changes in market conditions, and more. Alimony, child support, or separate maintenance income need not be revealed if the borrower or co-borrower does not choose to have it considered as a basis for repayment of this loan. Some results may be rounded. These calculations are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect any closing costs. If mortgage insurance payment is listed, illustrative payment is based upon a conforming fixed loan for owner occupied, 1 unit dwelling for a borrower with a credit score greater than 760. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 for more accurate and detailed information.

A price cannot be generated based upon the information provided.

Try one of these and recalculate:

  • Increasing your annual income
  • Lowering your monthly debt
  • Increase your down payment

Still not seeing any values? Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 to find an option that fits your unique situation.

Monthly Payment Total:

Refinance

Find out if now is a good time for you to refinance to reduce your monthly payment,1 get extra cash or switch to a different loan type or term. Simply enter some information on your current loan, plus the new loan you're considering, and we'll calculate your potential savings.

1By refinancing your existing loan, your total finance charge may be higher over the life of the loan.

Please note that these estimates do not include all applicable fees, and as a result, your actual fees may be higher. For a more accurate closing cost estimate, call (800) 210-8849 to speak with an experienced loan consultant today.

Your Results

  • Estimated Cost to Obtain a New Mortgage
  • Months to Break Even
  • Current Monthly Payment
  • Refinancing Payment
    • Principal + Interest
    • PMI
    • Monthly Payment Reduced By
    • Monthly Payment Increased By
apply now email my results

Results are based solely on the information you have provided. These calculations are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect all applicable fees to obtain a new mortgage and as a result your actual fees may be higher. If mortgage insurance payment is listed, illustrative payment is based upon a conforming fixed loan for owner occupied, 1 unit dwelling for a borrower with a credit score greater than 760. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 for more accurate and detailed information.

A price cannot be generated based upon the information provided.

Still not seeing any values? Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 to find an option that fits your unique situation.

Monthly Savings

Rent Vs. Buy

Your Results

  • Gross Cost of Renting
  • Gross Cost of Buying
    • Principal + Interest
    • Property Taxes
    • Homeowners Insurance
    • PMI
    • Down Payment
    • Closing Costs
  • Net Cost of Buying
    • Home Appreciation
    • Principal Paid
apply now email my results

Results are based solely on the information you have provided; product may not be available for all terms entered. These calculations are provided for illustrative purposes only. If mortgage insurance payment is listed, illustrative payment is based upon a conforming fixed loan for owner occupied, 1 unit dwelling for a borrower with a credit score greater than 760. This is not a credit decision or a commitment to lend. Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 for more accurate and detailed information.

A scenario cannot be generated based upon the information provided.

Try one of these and recalculate:

  • Lowering your purchase price
  • Increasing your down payment
  • Changing the loan term

Still not seeing any values? Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 to find an option that fits your unique situation.

Rent or Buy?

Buy

Buying could save you

This is based upon the values you provided and planning to reside in the purchased home for year(s).

Rent

Renting could save you

This is based upon the values you provided and planning to reside in the rented home for year(s).


Amortization Calculator

Curious to see how much principal and interest you will pay over the life of your loan? Input your information into our amortization calculator to see a month-by-month breakdown.

Your Results

Monthly Payment

Total Interest Paid

Total Interest Saved

apply now email my results

Results are based solely on the information you have provided; product may not be available for all terms entered. These calculations are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect any mortgage insurance, closing costs or down payment. Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 to find the loan that fits your needs.

Show Full Payment Schedule

A scenario cannot be generated based upon the information provided.

Still not seeing any values? Please contact an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849 to find an option that fits your unique situation.

Payment Schedule

Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs
Valuable information about how to use this site and descriptions of general processes. Learn how we ensure your information is secure, when and how to be approved for a loan and how to change your information after you have submitted it.

Home Purchase FAQs
From when to start mortgage shopping to what happens at closing. Understand interest rate options, down payment information, how a decision is made, what documents are needed at closing and more.

Refinance FAQs
The facts you need before you decide to refinance. When should you consider refinancing? What are some reasons to refinance? How much home equity can you use? Learn about cash out refinancing, the rescission period, how a refinance closing works and more.

Credit FAQs
What is credit? How can you establish and maintain good credit? How can you improve your credit score? What is your credit report and how can you see it? What are the best ways to avoid credit problems? Find the answers here.

General Frequently Asked Questions

Online Security

We respect the fact that a mortgage loan application contains confidential information that needs to be treated responsibly and with care. For that reason, we use an advanced security system in all Internet-based communications and in the management of personal records. For complete details on how we protect your information and the security methods we use, please visit the Your Privacy page.

Fees

IMPORTANT NOTE: The below chart is a list of common fees and costs that may be incurred by the borrower as a result of services requested and/or services rendered or incurred in connection with the mortgage loan. Actual fee amounts may vary depending upon the terms of the loan documents and applicable state and federal laws and regulations. This list does not include all fees and costs that may be charged, including, but not limited to, non-common costs, foreclosure costs, bankruptcy fees, attorneys fees and court costs. If you have any questions about other fees or services, please contact Customer Service.

Fee/Cost Title

Description

Amount/Calculation

Loan /Payment History

Document that provides the last twelve (12) months, unless other time period requested, showing the date and amount of all payments made or credited to the account and total unpaid balance.

$10.00 each*

Bad Check/ Non-sufficient Funds Fee ("NSF")

Fee charged to borrower due to bad check or insufficient funds in account used to tender payment.

$50.00 each*

SpeedPay via Website/ Automated Phone System

Fee charged to borrower when borrower uses the SpeedPay system to cover costs to process SpeedPay payments.
Paying via SpeedPay is one of the one-time payment options that a borrower may use to make his/her monthly mortgage payment.
Borrowers who have registered for Paperless Statements through the Message Center will not incur a fee to process a SpeedPay payment on the website or through the automated phone system.

$7.50 each*

SpeedPay via Extranet

Fee charged to borrower when borrower uses the SpeedPay system to cover costs to process SpeedPay payments.
Paying via SpeedPay is one of the one-time payment options that a borrower may use to make his/her monthly mortgage payment.

$17.50 each use

Late Fee

A fee charged to you when you fail to pay your mortgage payment as agreed; on or before your payment due date and/or prior to the expiration of your grace period.

Late fees are assessed in accordance with the terms of your Note and Mortgage/Deed of Trust

Copy of Amortization
Schedule

Schedule that reflects the monthly mortgage payments broken down by interest and principal for paying off the loan based on loan term (i.e. 30 years, 15 years, etc.).

$15.00 each

Copy of Loan Documents

Fee charged to borrower when copies of loan documents, including but not limited to note, mortgage, duplicative escrow statements or duplicative 1098s are requested by borrower.

$10.00 each*

Duplicate Coupon Book

Fee charged to borrower if duplicate copy of coupon book is requested.

$5.00 each

Escrow Account Removal

Fee charged to borrower to remove escrow requirement from loan and make loan a non-escrow loan.

Amount calculated based on ¼ % of original principal balance of loan (additional loan restrictions apply)

Property Inspection

Fee charged to borrower for an exterior inspection of property when loan is delinquent 45 days or more.

$11.25 each inspection*

Verification of Mortgage

Fee charged to borrower or authorized third-party for document verifying mortgage.

$15.00 each

Priority Statement Fee

Fee charged to borrower for an urgent or faxed request for documentation in addition to any document charge.

$20.00 each*

*Subject to investor guidelines and/or state restrictions

IMPORTANT NOTE: The below chart is a list of common fees and costs that may be incurred by the borrower as a result of services requested and/or services rendered or incurred in connection with a HELOC mortgage loan. Actual fee amounts may vary depending upon the terms of the loan documents and applicable state and federal laws and regulations. This list does not include all fees and costs that may be charged, including, but not limited to, non-common costs, foreclosure costs, bankruptcy fees, attorney's fees and court costs. If you have any questions about other fees or services, please contact Customer Service.

Fee/Cost Title

Description

Amount/Calculation

Loan /Payment History

Fee charged to borrower when the loan or payment history is requested. Document that provides the last twelve (12) months, unless other time period requested, showing the date and amount of all payments made or credited to the account and total unpaid balance.

$2.00 each*

Bad Check/ Non-sufficient Funds Fee ("NSF")

Fee charged to borrower due to bad check or insufficient funds in account used to tender payment.

$50.00 each*

SpeedPay via Website/ Automated Phone System

Fee charged to borrower when borrower uses the SpeedPay system to cover costs to process SpeedPay payments.
Paying via SpeedPay is one of the one time payment options that a borrower may use to make his/her monthly mortgage payment.
Borrowers that have registered for Paperless Statements through the Message Center will not incur a fee to process a Speedpay payment on the website or through the automated phone system.

$7.50 each*

SpeedPay via Extranet (Representative only)

Fee charged to borrower when borrower uses a live representative to process a speedpay.
Paying via SpeedPay is one of the one time payment options that a borrower may use to make his/her monthly mortgage payment.

$17.50 each use

Late Fee

A fee charged to you when you fail to pay your mortgage payment as agreed; on or before your payment due date and/or prior to the expiration of your grace period.

Late fees are assessed in accordance with the terms of your Note and Mortgage/Deed of Trust

Recording fee (payoff)

A recording fee is money that is paid to a government agent for the removal of the HELOC lien when the account is paid off and closed.

Varies by state

Copy of Check/Loan Documents

Fee charged to a borrower when copies of loan documents, including but not limited to, note, mortgage, or duplicate 1098 are requested.

$2.00 each*

Duplicate Checkbook

Fee charged to borrower if duplicate checkbook is requested.

$4.00 each*

Outbound Wire Fee

Fee charged to borrower to process an outbound wire transfer.

$25.00 each*

Inbound Wire Fee

Fee charged to borrower to process an incoming wire payment on their account.

$25.00 each*

Verification of Mortgage

Fee charged to borrower for document verifying mortgage information.

$8.00 each*

Priority Statement Fee

Fee charged to borrower for an urgent or faxed request for documentation in addition to any document charge.

$20.00 each*

HELOC Subordination Fee

Fee charged to borrower to process a request to subordinate HELOC loan to a new senior lien. Additional fees may apply if modification to credit limit is required.

$250.00*

Line Increase Fee

Fee charged to borrower to increase the available credit on a HELOC loan.

Stated income $200.00
Full documentation $350.00

Rate Modification Fee

Fee charged to borrower when loan interest rate is being modified on HELOC loan.

$125.00

Line Decrease Fee

Fee charged to borrower to process a request to decrease the credit limit on a HELOC account.

$50.00 each*

Maturing Loan Modification Fee

Fee charged to borrower to process a loan modification for a HELOC loan that is reaching its maturity date.

$600.00

FRO/segmentation lock fee

A processing fee charged to borrower when borrower requests to segment a portion of the outstanding balance and lock-in a specific interest rate and term based on investor guidelines.

$50.00

NSF Draw Fee

Fee charged to borrower when a HELOC draw check advance is returned due to insufficient funds available.

$30.00 each

Over Limit Fee

Fee charged to borrower when a HELOC draw check advance exceeds the credit limit but is paid since it is within the allowable threshold.

$30.00 each

Stop Payment Fee

Fee charged to borrower when a stop payment request is added to a HELOC draw check.

$30.00 each

*Subject to investor guidelines and/or state restrictions

Get Assistance

  1. If you are not satisfied with any aspect of the servicing of your account, please contact our Customer Service Department at (800) 210-8849.
  2. If you remain unsatisfied with your response from our Customer Service Department, please contact an escalation specialist at (866) 714-6737 x10019. Our escalation specialists are available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET).
  3. To electronically submit your complaint, use this form.
  4. We will provide you with a substantive response generally within 30 calendar days of receipt. If we require more than 30 days to provide a substantive response to you, we will so advise you within 30 days of receipt.

What you need to provide:

  • Your name, mortgage loan account number, and property address
  • A daytime telephone number or email address where we can contact you
  • A clear description of your concern or problem

If you wish to request information or assert an error relating to the servicing of your mortgage loan, including any Qualified Written Requests, you must use the address below and include your name, your mortgage loan account number, property address and a statement of either the information you are requesting or the error you believe has occurred:

Mortgage Service Center
P. O. Box 830
Bowie, MD 20718

Purchase Frequently Asked Questions

Finding a Mortgage

When should I start evaluating financing options, and how do I know what I can afford?

Do I need to sell my current home before I apply for a new mortgage loan?

How much down payment will I need?

Can I be pre-approved for a loan if I have credit problems?

Why is an appraisal necessary? Can I use the tax value of the home?

How do I get an appraisal?

How much will my property taxes be?

What is a Truth in Lending statement?

Rates and Costs

What is the Annual Percentage Rate of a loan, and how is it different from the interest rate?

How often do interest rates change?

What factors go into determining the interest rate on my loan?

When should I lock my rate?

Once I have selected a program, what are my rate options?

What if interest rates go down after I lock my rate?

What happens if my loan doesn't close before the rate lock expiration date?

What are points and how do they work?

If I'm short on cash, do I have options to help with my down payment and closing costs?

Pre-Approval Decision

How can I apply for a loan and find out the decision?

What factors will a mortgage lender consider when making a pre-approval decision?

Can I change the loan amount, down payment or program after I've received my loan pre-approval decision?

I already put a deposit down on the home or property. Is this included in the Good Faith Estimate?

What documents will I need to provide to complete my loan transaction?

Closing

Do I have to attend the closing in person?

What checks do I need to bring to the closing?

What is title insurance and why is it required?

How much title insurance do I need?

How much homeowners’ insurance do I need?

How do I know if I need flood insurance?

How are my property tax bills paid?

What type of inspections do I need before I close on my home?

Refinancing Frequently Asked Questions

The Refinancing Process

What is refinancing and what are some reasons people choose to refinance?

How does a cash out refinance work?

How much of my home's equity can I use to refinance?

Can I still refinance even if I don't have much equity?

Closing

How much does a refinance closing cost?

What are the steps involved in a refinance closing?

Am I required to bring certified funds to closing?

How do I know the final dollar amount I will need for closing?

What if I'm not able to attend the closing?

What is the rescission period?

Credit Frequently Asked Questions

About Credit

What is credit?

What is good credit? And how can I establish it?

What qualifies as a late payment, and what are the consequences?

I'm concerned about my credit. How can I improve it?

Can I apply for a loan if I don't have an established credit history?

Your Credit Report and Credit Score

What is a credit report?

What is a credit score?

How can I view my credit report?

How can I correct errors on my credit report?

How can I improve my credit score?

What if I am having trouble paying large debts?

Situations with Negative Impact

What is foreclosure?

What is repossession?

How does foreclosure or repossession affect a credit report?

What is bankruptcy?

How does bankruptcy affect a credit report?

How can I avoid credit problems?

To discuss your credit with an experienced loan consultant, call (800) 210-8849.

Loan Options

Need help understanding the financing options for your new home or property? With a wide variety of products to choose from, PHH Mortgage has one to fit your needs. Read more to understand which mortgage program may be right for you.

Main Types of Loans

Generally, mortgage loans fall into two main categories: fixed rate mortgages and adjustable rate mortgages.

There are several loans options available depending on your eligibility. The type you choose will depend on your specific financial situation.

Find Out More

Fixed Rate Mortgages

With a fixed rate mortgage, payments toward both the interest and principal remain constant over the life of the loan. As a result, monthly loan payments stay the same. Taxes, however, may change according to local or state tax laws.

Advantages of fixed rate mortgages:

  • The interest rate stays the same – it doesn’t go up even if rates in the market do.
  • Monthly payments of principal and interest don’t change.
  • They may be a good choice for buyers who plan to own their new homes for a long time.

Disadvantages of fixed rate mortgages:

  • They may cost more than other loan types – the interest rate is often higher than rates for adjustable rate mortgages.
  • A long-term loan may not be suitable for a homebuyer planning to sell or refinance a new home within five to seven years.

Types of Fixed Rate Mortgages

Fixed rate mortgages traditionally have 15-year or 30-year amortization terms. PHH Mortgage offers these options, as well as loans with 20-year and 25-year terms.

A 30-year fixed rate mortgage offers consistent monthly payments for the entire 30 years you have the mortgage. So if the market is good, you can benefit from locking in a lower rate for the full term of the loan. This is the best choice if you’re looking for a long-term, stable loan — for instance, if you’re planning on staying in your house for some time.

A 25-year fixed rate mortgage offers consistent monthly payments for the entire 25 years you have the mortgage. So if the market is good, you can benefit from locking in a lower rate for the full term of the loan. This product option may be a good choice if you’re looking for a long-term, stable loan and want to build equity more quickly than with a 30-year loan.

A 20-year fixed rate mortgage allows you to make a consistent monthly payment throughout the 20 years you have the mortgage. The shorter term means you pay the loan off more quickly, and therefore pay less interest. And you'll build equity faster than you would with a 30-year loan. (But remember, the shorter term means higher payments when compared to the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.)

A 15-year fixed rate mortgage means consistent monthly payments for all 15 years you have the mortgage. By building equity even more quickly than with a 30-year or 20-year loan, and paying less interest, you'll save money in the long run. It's an ideal option if you can handle the higher payments and if you'd like to have the loan paid off in a shorter period of time – for instance, if you plan to retire.

Which term will work best for you?

A short-term loan:

  • May work well for a homebuyer planning to own a home for a shorter length of time
  • Enables a homebuyer to pay off the loan more quickly
  • Generates less interest, and therefore lower overall costs, over the life of the loan
  • Translates into higher monthly payments
  • Builds equity more quickly

A long-term loan:

  • May be good for a homebuyer planning to own a home for a longer time period
  • Results in the loan being paid off more slowly
  • Generates more interest, and therefore higher overall costs, over the life of the loan
  • Translates into lower monthly payments
  • Builds equity more slowly

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

With an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), the interest rate is fixed for a certain number of years, and then it goes up or down periodically based on a benchmark economic index. With every rate adjustment, the mortgage payment will change. The initial rate of an ARM is usually lower than the rate of a fixed rate mortgage.

The amount of time between rate adjustments is called the adjustment period. Many ARMs have a one-year adjustment period, meaning that the interest rate will adjust every year. Because rate adjustments can be unpredictable, most ARM programs offer a rate cap that limits the amount the interest rate can increase each year or over the term of the loan. The term for most ARMs is 30 years.

Advantages of an ARM:

  • After the initial fixed rate period, monthly payments could decrease if interest rates go down.
  • It may be a good choice for a homebuyer who plans to sell a new home after a few years.
  • It may be suitable for a homebuyer planning to refinance a new home within five to seven years.
  • It may be appropriate for a homebuyer who likes the initial payment stability but can afford later adjustments in interest.

Disadvantages of an ARM:

  • After the initial fixed rate period, monthly payments could increase if interest rates go up.
  • It may not be the optimal choice for homebuyers on fixed incomes.
  • It may not be the best choice for homebuyers who plan to keep their homes or properties for longer than the initial fixed rate period.

Types of Adjustable Rate Mortgages

An ARM is often written as a pair of numbers – for instance, “3/1 ARM”, “5/1 ARM”, “7/1 ARM” or “10/1 ARM.” The first number indicates the number of years the interest rate will remain fixed. The second number indicates the adjustment period of the loan, or how many years it will be before the interest rate adjusts.

With a 3/1 adjustable rate mortgage, you have three years at the initial fixed rate, then the rate adjusts every year for the remaining life of the loan. This could be a good choice if you expect to move or refinance in a relatively short period of time. But a much shorter fixed-rate period means your interest rate (and therefore monthly payments) may begin to fluctuate after three years.

A 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage means the initial rate remains fixed for the first five years of repayment, then adjusts every year thereafter. Remember that your rate and monthly payments may go up after only five years, so this choice is best if you're expecting to sell or refinance the property within that period.

A 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage offers an initial rate that is fixed for the first seven years of repayment. After seven years, the rate adjusts every year thereafter for the remaining life of the loan.

With a 10/1 adjustable rate mortgage, the initial rate of the loan is fixed for the first ten years of repayment. After 10 years, the rate adjusts every year thereafter for the remaining life of the loan. The loan is amortized over 30 years, so you'll enjoy the stability of a 30-year mortgage at a lower price than a fixed-rate mortgage of the same term. But an ARM is likely not the best choice if you're planning on owning the same property for more than 10 years.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Disclosures

Type of ProductAdjustable Rate Disclosures
3/1 Year P&I ARMsDownload PDF
5/1 Year P&I ARMsDownload PDF
7/1 Year P&I ARMsDownload PDF
10/1 Year P&I ARMsDownload PDF

To learn more, review the consumer handbook on adjustable rate mortgages.

More Loan Options

Jumbo Loans

A jumbo loan is a loan for an amount of money larger than the conforming loan limits set by government-backed agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The current conforming loan limit for a single-family home is $424,100 in all states except Hawaii and Alaska and in designated high-priced markets. Loan limits in high-cost areas vary by location.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgages

An FHA-insured and guaranteed loan is designed to make purchasing a home more affordable, especially for first-time homebuyers. FHA loans feature lower down payments and higher qualifying ratios than most conventional mortgages.

  • A mortgage secured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price.
  • FHA loans are subject to limits on the amount of money that can be borrowed, which vary from state to state.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Mortgages

A VA loan is a low- or no-down-payment mortgage guaranteed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. It is only available to military personnel, veterans or spouses of veterans who died of service-related injuries.

  • Under the law, veterans are entitled to VA home loan benefits based on military service. Eligible veterans must still meet credit and income standards in order to qualify for a VA-guaranteed loan.
  • A lender cannot make a VA-guaranteed loan to an ineligible applicant under any circumstances.

For more information about the type of loan that might be right for you, or to discuss eligibility and details, call (800) 210-8849 to speak with a loan consultant.

Glossary

Abstract of Title

A summary of the property's title history. Based on information found in public records, it is used to list the property's transfers of ownership, and to determine if there are any liens or defects that must be cleared before the sale.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

A mortgage in which the interest rate periodically adjusts based on a pre-selected economic index, such as Treasury bill or prime rates. The initial interest rate, or "teaser rate," is fixed for a given number of years, and is usually lower than rates for traditional fixed rate mortgages — making monthly payments lower as well. When the interest rate begins to adjust, mortgage payments may go up or down along with it, at intervals specified in the ARM product disclosure.

Adjustment Date

The lower initial rate of an ARM can increase purchasing power and enable you to consider a more expensive home than might be possible with a fixed rate mortgage. But keep in mind — the interest rate and monthly payments may increase when the rate begins to adjust.

Adjustment Period

The amount of time between the adjustment dates for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM). Many ARMs have a one-year adjustment period, meaning that the interest rate will adjust (go up, down, or stay the same) every year. But there are ARMs with six-month and even three-year adjustment periods.

Amenity

A feature of a property that increases the attractiveness or value, but is not necessarily essential to the property's use. Amenities include features such as gardens, pools or beautiful views.

Amortization

The gradual reduction of your loan balance through scheduled periodic payments. For mortgage balances, payments are generally made every month. A portion of the payment goes to the loan principal and a portion goes to the interest. An amortization schedule shows the balance after each payment is made.

Amortization Term

The amount of time you have to repay the mortgage loan. It is usually expressed in months. For example, the amortization term for a 30-year mortgage is "360 months" (12 mo/yr x 30 yrs).

An abbreviation for "Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance" — the four charges that make up your monthly mortgage payment.

A percentage of your loan amount, paid at closing. For instance, on a $90,000 loan amount, 1 point = 1 % or $900. You may have the option to pay points to buy down (reduce) your interest rate. Alternatively, in exchange for a higher rate, the lender may pay points to offset your closing costs. These are called negative points. See Discount Points.

Annual Percentage Rate

The cost of your mortgage loan expressed as a yearly rate. The components that are used to formulate the APR are, Note Rate — The stated interest rate, Points, Per Diem Interest - The daily interest charged on your loan from the day of closing to the end of the month, Other Applicable Fees — PMI, etc, The APR does not affect your monthly payment — amortization is computed on the note rate.The cost of your mortgage loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Appraisal

An estimate of the current market value of the home you intend to buy, prepared by a professional appraiser. The estimate is based on the property's appearance, style and construction quality, as well as on the value of similar properties, or comparables that were recently sold in the area.

Appraisal Fee

Your lender may require that you get an appraisal, a professional analysis of your property and neighborhood to determine the approximate value of your home. The appraisal fee is the amount charge for the appraisal. The amount that you're eligible to borrow is based largely on your property's appraised value.

Appreciation

An increase in the value of your property because of positive events, such as favorable changes in market conditions or enhancements made to the property.

ARM

See Adjustable Rate Mortgage.

Assessment

A local area tax charged against a property for a specific purpose, such as a sewer or street signage.

Asset

Anything of monetary value you own outright, including property, bank accounts, stocks and mutual funds. A review of assets is an important part of the mortgage application process.

Homeowners Assistance

If you are having trouble making your monthly mortgage payment, PHH Mortgage can help. There are options available that may allow you to keep your house by making your payments more affordable. Click through the following options to learn more:

If you have explored all of the options that allow you to stay in your home and are still unable to continue making your monthly mortgage payments, here are some options to assist you in avoiding foreclosure:

Would you like to start the process of applying for any of the above? CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom section, "Having Trouble Paying Your Mortgage?" After you click the "Get started" link you will be taken to a log-in page where you will need to register in order to log in.

Repayment Plan

You may have had a short-term hardship that resulted in the inability to make your mortgage payment. If that hardship is resolved, a repayment plan may be an option for you. We will review your application for homeowners' assistance and determine if this is an affordable option for you. This will allow you to bring your mortgage loan current, without altering the terms or maturity date of your note.

Ready to apply? CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom section, "Having Trouble Paying Your Mortgage?" After you click the "Get started" link you will be taken to a log-in page where you will need to register in order to log in.

Forbearance Plan

A forbearance plan may be an appropriate option for you if you are experiencing an unresolved, short-term financial hardship. This hardship may be due to loss of income resulting from unemployment, illness, or perhaps a disaster. A forbearance plan will allow you to reduce or suspend your mortgage payment for a set period of time.

We will review your application for homeowners' assistance and determine if this is a suitable option for you. Upon the conclusion of the forbearance plan, you will be required to repay the amount that is past due as a result of the forbearance plan. However, you can apply for a repayment plan or a modification to determine if you're eligible for either of those options to assist in resolving the delinquency to bring your account current.

Ready to apply? CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom section, "Having Trouble Paying Your Mortgage?" After you click the "Get started" link you will be taken to a log-in page where you will need to register in order to log in.

Natural Disaster

If you have experienced a natural disaster, please contact our Severe Weather Impact Team at (800) 936-8705 to discuss potential options available to assist you during this difficult time.

Loan Modification

If you have experienced a financial hardship that resulted in the inability to pay your mortgage payments, or you anticipate that you may have trouble paying your mortgage timely due to a change in your financial circumstances (e.g. divorce, death of a borrower, or a long-term disability), then a modification of your existing loan terms may be the appropriate option for you.

Modification terms will be determined based on a review of your financial information provided by you in your complete application for homeowners' assistance. The potential terms are set forth by the investor of your loan. They could include a possible rate reduction, an extension of the term of your loan, or even a principal deferment to reduce your total monthly payment to an affordable payment so that you can remain in your home.

There are some key eligibility factors for a loan modification. These may include:

  • the ability to support the modified payment
  • the desire to retain the property
  • the property is a 1-4 unit property or manufactured home
  • a verifiable hardship

All parties on the loan must agree to participate in the modification process. This may include providing their financial documentation if they co-signed on the loan, or simply signing the modification agreement if they were a signing party on the original Mortgage/Note. If you are concerned about your individual circumstances, please discuss with your Case Manager.

If you are deemed ineligible for a modification, you will receive a notice of the decision, along with the reason that the request for modification could not be approved. If you're not eligible for a modification, you may want to consider options that involve liquidating the property. Your Case Manager will walk you through this process so you understand completely all of your options so that you can make an informed decision as to what is the best choice for you.

Available modification options are specific to the type of loan you have. If you are not sure what type of loan you have, please call PHH Mortgage Customer Service at (800) 330-0423. 

Hardest Hit Fund Program

Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) programs in 18 states and the District of Columbia are designed to provide assistance to struggling homeowners through modification, mortgage payment assistance, and transition assistance programs. These programs change frequently; therefore, we recommend checking back often for updates.

Features and benefits - HHF Programs vary state to state, but often include:

  • Mortgage payment assistance for unemployed or underemployed homeowners
  • Principal reduction to help homeowners get into more affordable mortgages
  • Funding to eliminate homeowners' second lien loans
  • Help for homeowners who are transitioning out of their homes and into more affordable places of residence

Eligibility - HHF program and eligibility vary by state. To see if your state is eligible and for availability details, go to the HHF page on the Making Home Affordable website and scroll down to "Availability."

Pre-Foreclosure Sale

Steps in the Pre-Foreclosure Sale process

1. Call your Case Manager to discuss this process. Before calling in, gather the following information: 

  • Loan number and property information
  • Details of the offer and a copy of the signed contract, if applicable
  • Information on any home equity loans or lines of credit on the property, if applicable
  • Details about your hardship

2. List the property for sale

If you haven't received an offer yet, please be aware that you're required to work with a licensed real estate professional to market and sell the property. We strongly recommend working with a real estate agent who is experienced in short sales and who can help guide you through the process. You may receive a phone call from an authorized PHH vendor to discuss the strategy for listing the property for sale and they may provide names of local realtors to assist you with listing and selling the property.

3. You've received an offer on your house

Your agent will need to submit the offer to us for consideration.

4. Decision process

Within 30 days of receiving your complete response package, we will determine if you are eligible to participate in the short-sale transaction. We will review and validate your hardship, which may include a full financial analysis of your application if required by your investor. Once you are deemed eligible to participate, we will send you a notification that you are pre-approved for the transaction and have 45 days to forward a short-sale offer. If you included the short-sale offer with your application and we have deemed you eligible to participate, we will begin the process of reviewing the offer immediately. A professional appraiser will contact your listing agent to perform a valuation of the property to determine the fair market value. Once the fair market value is determined, it’s possible we may make a counter offer. We will be working to obtain approval from the investor of your loan during the offer review process. When all necessary parties have accepted the offer, we will provide you with an approval letter and a closing instruction package releasing the house for purchase.

5. Offer accepted

Final documents will be prepared and your real estate agent will work with you to set a closing date. After the closing, the sale of the property is complete.

NOTE: If the funds from your traditional short sale don't cover the amount owed on your loan, you may be responsible for paying the deficiency.

Ready to apply? CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom section, "Having Trouble Paying Your Mortgage?" After you click the "Get started" link you will be taken to a log-in page where you will need to register in order to log in.

Deed In Lieu

Steps in the Deed in Lieu process

1. Call your Case Manager to discuss this process. Before you call in, gather the following information:

  • Loan number and property information
  • Information on any home equity loans or lines of credit on the property, if applicable
  • Details about your hardship

2. After we have received all of the information requested we will:

  • Order an interior appraisal to determine the current market value
  • Compare the value to the balance on your first mortgage
  • Perform a title search to ensure the property is free of any liens

3. Approval

If your request for a deed in lieu is approved, we will send you a letter stating the terms and conditions of the approval, along with documents that you will need to sign and return. You will have 14 calendar days to sign, notarize and return the release documents to us. You will have up to 30 calendar days to relocate, depending on the law in your area.

Ready to apply? CLICK HERE and scroll down to the bottom section, "Having Trouble Paying Your Mortgage?" After you click the "Get started" link you will be taken to a log-in page where you will need to register in order to log in.

PHH Mortgage is joining the Ocwen family!

Ocwen and PHH Mortgage announced today that the merger of the two companies is complete. Their combined operations will create tremendous opportunities for their customers. As a full-service mortgage banking institution with a nationwide footprint, they will offer customers an enhanced portfolio of best-in-class lending and servicing solutions.

The new company will bring a full range of lending solutions to help customers save time and money. They are excited to provide customers with more options to help them reach their financial goals.  Although interest rates have increased this year, they still remain low and it is strongly recommended that customers call before the Federal Reserve raises interest rates again in December.

Customers who have questions about refinancing their mortgage or who are interested in purchasing a new home can speak with a licensed loan officer by calling (800) 210-8849.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

10 Things to Know Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

You’ve already taken out one loan to buy your home. Why do it again? Because refinancing with a new loan can provide a number of benefits.

Before you get too far along, however, make sure you understand the basics and choose the home refinance solution that matches your unique situation.

  1. Refinancing may lower your monthly payments1Keep an eye on the market and interest rates. Refinancing at the right time – like when interest rates drop one percent or more lower than your current mortgage interest rate – can make a notable difference in your monthly cash flow.
  2. Many other factors affect your interest rate: Generally speaking, lower market interest rates mean you pay less over the life of your loan. But just how low your new refinance interest rate can go depends on many factors, including your credit score, market conditions and mortgage type.
  3. Refinancing may shorten your repayment period but increase your monthly payments: You may find it’s a worthy tradeoff to make higher monthly payments in order to own your home sooner – especially if interest rates are favorable. Your personal financial situation and long-term goals will help determine the right move.
  4. You can refinance to obtain cash: Cash out refinancing allows you to get an additional lump sum of cash right away to use for major purchases, including home improvements, automobiles, vacations or weddings. However, you should compare the benefits of refinancing to other methods, including home equity loans – especially if you don’t need a large amount.
  5. Know what you owe: Determine the payoff amount on your existing mortgage to know how much you will need to borrow from a new loan. Also, find out if your current lender charges any fees or penalties for paying your entire mortgage before it’s due (called prepayment).
  6. You have options: There are numerous loan options out there for your home, ranging from loans that give you a more stable interest rate to those that help consolidate your debt. Work with a lender to determine if any option benefits you more than your current mortgage loan.
  7. Refinancing includes closing: You will need to go through another property appraisal, as well as provide essential documents – which will vary based upon your location and loan option. Closing costs are also involved.
  8. You will need home insurance coverage and a paid receipt for your lender: Most lenders require a paid one-year policy for hazard insurance that covers at least the amount of the mortgage. The lender will be the named mortgagee on the policy.
  9. You have time to change your mind: By law, you have three business days after you sign your loan contract to cancel the loan for any reason. For this same reason, you do not receive any money until three days after signing the contract. This applies to primary residences only.

 

1 By refinancing your existing loan, your total finance charge may be higher over the life of the loan. 

10 Things to Know Before Purchasing Your First Home

 

Buying your first home is a big investment – one that can affect your lifestyle and your credit. The more information gathering you do before making your decision, the greater your satisfaction is likely to be before, during and after your move. To get you started, here are ten things to know before buying your first home.

  1. How much you can afford: Consider all costs involved, including the down payment, closing costs, your monthly mortgage payment, taxes and maintenance, insurance and any applicable association fees.
  2. Your credit score: Credit is an agreement to borrow money with the promise that you will pay it back later through scheduled payments. Good credit may get you a lower rate on your loan. To learn about credit and how to get your score, read our “All About Your Credit” article.
  3. The homebuying process: From the pre-approval decision through inspections and the closing, the homebuying experience involves many steps. Make sure you see the big picture before you start by reviewing the Home Purchase Checklist.
  4. Your financing options: Rates, terms, discount points and other details vary by loan type and with your credit. If you’re ready to take the next steps, find out what’s available to you by calling (800) 210-8849 to discuss your options.
  5. The right real estate agent for you: Real estate agents specialize in a variety of areas and are each familiar with different neighborhoods. Choose one who you feel best aligns with your needs and personal preferences.
  6. The neighborhood: Safety, commute times, noise and other surrounding factors can influence your quality of life. Make sure you visit the area, walk around the neighborhood and get a feel for the community. Take the time to research the community online to learn of any upcoming developments that may impact the housing market in that area, and look for other red flags that may impact your choice to live there.
  7. The school district: Even if you don't have children, you should consider the rating of the school district where you are planning to live. The school district where your home is located will have a direct impact on your taxes. And while low taxes may seem appealing because you don't have children, strong school districts are a top priority for many home buyers, so this can help to boost your property value and your bottom line when you choose to sell. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons for your situation now and in the future.
  8. The state of the market: Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market? Can you get more house for less if you wait a little longer? Timing can be crucial in determining the total cost of your first home.
  9. Comparable prices: How much do similar homes in the surrounding area cost? You may want to compare houses in several neighborhoods to make sure you’re getting a good value. Ask your real estate agent for information about comparable properties (or “comps”) to determine how much to offer.
  10. How your taxes will change: While home ownership comes with additional expenses like taxes and interest fees associated with your mortgage, you may be able to deduct your mortgage interest and real estate property taxes come tax season. Consult with your tax advisor for details specific to your individual situation.

Ready to get started? Find out more about your financing options, the home-buying process and what you can afford by contacting one of our experienced loan consultants at (800) 210-8849.

Financial Planning for Home Ownership

How much money will you need to buy your home now and support it into the future? Whether you’ve already started hunting or you’re just now considering making the move to home ownership, you’ll need to get your financial house in order first to put yourself in a positive position.

Start the foundation of your plan by figuring out how much you can afford to spend on a new home. You’ll find plenty of tools out there to help you, like affordability or monthly payment calculators. There are several different factors involved with the affordability equation – including some immediate up-front costs, regular monthly payments and the ongoing expenses associated with homeownership. This article explores these factors to help you prepare accordingly.

Get off to a good start

One of the biggest out-of-pocket expenses you’ll need to plan for is your down payment – the part of your property purchase price paid in cash and not financed with a mortgage. The more up-front money you can put down, the less you will pay each month for your mortgage.

The minimum required down payment depends on the mortgage program you select. In general, at least 3.5% of the sale price is required for an FHA or VA mortgage. If you put down less than 20% on a conventional loan, you may need private mortgage insurance – which would add to your monthly payments. When it comes to FHA loans, in addition to lower down payments they typically feature higher qualifying ratios than most conventional mortgages.

Don’t forget that you will also need cash for the closing costs, which cover expenses that complete the transfer of ownership, such as an origination fee, attorney's fee, initial escrow payments and the costs of obtaining title insurance and a survey. Closing costs are typically based on the home price and vary according to location.

Prepare for the long haul

Unless you are paying for your home in cash, your financial plan will need to account for a mortgage payment for a term of your choosing – most likely 15 or 30 years. Your payments are based on both the principal (the amount of the loan) and interest (the amount you pay to borrow money, calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed).

Payments may also include money held in escrow for property taxes and homeowners’ insurance. You can find out property tax information from the home’s seller or your real estate agent and confirm it with the recording office in the county where your home is located. Property taxes are reassessed from time to time, so this amount may change.

As for your homeowners’ insurance policy, your lender requires the policy to cover the cost to rebuild the home. The insured amount may be higher or lower than the actual purchase price, and your insurance company can give you an estimate based on specific property information.

No financial plan would be complete without full consideration of the “extra” costs of homeownership beyond your mortgage: Utility bills, homeowners’ association dues and routine maintenance all come into play.

Remember the benefits

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the costs associated with your home. Try to keep in mind that owning a home also increases your assets, which can open up opportunities for other investments. Once you’re a homeowner, you may be able to use your home’s equity as a secure line of credit for future purchases. In addition, you may be able to deduct your mortgage interest, real estate property taxes and discount points. Consult with a tax advisor for details specific to your situation.

And you can always learn more about your options by talking with one of our experienced loan consultants at (800) 210-8849. 

Borrowing Basics: Home Equity Loans vs. Cash Out Refinancing

You’ve probably heard that owning a home is a smart investment – but  you don’t always have to wait to sell your home to see the returns. You may be able to use the equity in your home right now to borrow money for such expenses as home improvements, automobiles, vacations, college tuition or weddings. You may also be able to consolidate your existing debt – like credit cards or student loans – at a lower interest rate.

As a homeowner, you have two main borrowing options: home equity loans and cash-out refinancing. The option you choose largely depends on your situation and your goals. For instance, do you need money quickly, or are you mainly looking to reduce your monthly payments?

Before you make any decisions, know what’s involved with each option and the differences between them.

Home Equity Loans: Fast and Flexible

Think of a home equity loan like a second mortgage – although typically smaller than a primary mortgage – that comes in two varieties:

  • With a traditional home equity loan, you can borrow a large lump sum of cash and then repay the amount in monthly installments at a fixed interest rate, usually over 10 to 15 years. The interest rate may be higher, though, than a fixed rate home mortgage.
  • home equity line of credit (HELOC) offers a bit more flexibility. It functions like a credit card, but features a lower, variable interest rate. You can draw cash as you need it from a HELOC, and you only pay interest on the amount you borrow.

These home equity borrowing options may work well for you if today’s interest rates are either the same as or lower than your current mortgage interest rate. Home equity loans also tend to result in cash quickly: Lenders can typically approve and fund home equity loans faster than they can refinance your mortgage. As an added bonus, the interest on your home equity loan may be tax deductible, so be sure to consult a tax expert for advice.

Cash Out Refinancing: Borrow Now, Save Later

Cash out refinancing allows you to get extra cash by obtaining a new loan for a balance larger than the one on your existing mortgage. You can then use the cash for anything from home improvements to college tuition. In the end, you will have one new mortgage that covers both your primary home loan and the loan for the additional money.

You may find this option attractive if you’re looking for a considerably large sum of money and a lower mortgage interest rate. If rates are lower than what you pay now by one percent or more, you could notice a positive difference in your monthly cash flow.

Refinancing may also make sense if you want to repay your mortgage over a shorter period of time or if you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage and anticipate interest rates rising. Switching to a fixed rate mortgage may give you more stability at a lower rate.

You also have the ability to refinance your current mortgage without the cash out option – enabling you to take advantage of lower interest rates without increasing your debt.

The Bottom Line on Borrowing

So which choice should you go with? Everything comes back to your short-term needs and long-term goals. If you have questions about your borrowing options or you would like to talk with an experienced loan consultant, call us at (800) 210-8849. 

Your Credit Guide

What You Should Know About Credit

For generations, owning a home has been considered a part of the American Dream – but one critical element for realizing this dream is developing and maintaining good credit.

What is credit?

Credit simply means you are using someone else’s money to pay for a purchase with a promise to pay that money back. This borrowing usually involves interest – the additional money you pay for the privilege of borrowing money.

Why is good credit important?

Good credit shows potential lenders a positive history of borrowing and paying back money. It will help you obtain a loan when you want one, with favorable terms, and it also gives you more control when shopping for loans.

Why not pay with cash?

Paying cash for smaller items, such as clothing and groceries, is generally a good idea. However, using credit cards for larger purchases, such as appliances, can help you establish the good credit history that will help when it comes time to make even larger purchases, such as cars and homes. But remember: your credit is only as good as how well – and on time – you pay your monthly debts.

Does it matter how many credit cards I have?

Yes. Having numerous credit card accounts open, even if the accounts have low or zero balances, may affect your ability to get a loan. This is because a potential lender considers all available credit limits – not just debts – when deciding if you would be a good credit risk.

What happens if I don’t make timely payments?

Each time you make a payment after its due date, you may have to pay penalties or late fees. In addition, a history of making late payments may affect your credit history and ultimately mean higher interest rates on subsequent loans. For example, someone with good credit may get a mortgage with a 5% interest rate, while someone with poor credit may have to pay 8%. This means that if each person borrows $100,000 over 30 years, the 5% borrower would pay $93,256 in interest while the 8% borrower would pay $164,155 in interest over the life of a 30-year mortgage – that’s a difference of $70,899. As you can see, your credit can have a significant impact on your current and future financial picture.

What is considered a late payment?

Generally, a payment is considered delinquent if it's received 30 days past its due date. A mortgage payment, however, is considered late when it's received 15 days after its due date. If an account has payments that are 60 or 90 days late, that account is considered to be in serious delinquency. Any late rent or mortgage payments in the past 12 months could affect your qualification for a mortgage loan and its interest rate.

How does a potential lender know if I have good credit?

The primary source a potential lender uses to evaluate your credit is a credit report. A credit report includes information about your repayment history, submitted to one or more credit-reporting agencies by the companies you do business with when you open a new credit account or borrow money.

What appears on my credit report?

A typical credit report is made up of four types of data: personal information, credit information, public record information and inquiries about your credit.

Personal information includes your name, current and previous addresses, telephone number, Social Security number, date of birth, and current and previous employers.

Credit information includes details for all loans and lines of credit: the date it was opened, the credit limit or loan amount, the total balance and the monthly payment amount. The report also shows your payment history over the past several years and the names of anyone else responsible for paying an account, such as a spouse or a co-signer.

A credit report may include information taken from public records about bankruptcies, foreclosures, liens for unpaid taxes and monetary court judgments, such as lawsuits. It also will show every time someone has obtained a copy of your credit report and every time you have applied for credit over the past two years. A lender might see several recent inquiries about your report as a credit risk.

Can I get a copy of my credit report?

Yes – in fact, you should request a copy at least once a year to verify that all of the information is correct. To get a copy of your report (which may involve a small fee), visit the website of one or more of the following credit-reporting agencies:

TransUnion
www.transunion.com

Experian
www.experian.com

Equifax
www.equifax.com

The information on the three credit reports may vary because not all creditors report information to each agency. For this reason, you may want to get a report from all three agencies.

What is a credit score?

A credit score is a statistical measurement used to predict how likely you are to repay a loan. The score is drawn from information on your credit report and data from millions of consumers. It provides lenders with a fast, objective way to evaluate your credit history.

What factors influence my credit score?

Any action you take related to your credit practices influences your credit score, from timely, regular monthly payments (which will have a positive influence) to minimum payments on maximum credit card balances (which will have a negative influence).

What is a good credit score?

Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850. A credit score that falls between 680 and 850 is considered more favorable and a lesser credit risk.

Can I change my credit score?

Yes – in fact, you are the only person who can change it. You can improve your score by paying off loans, reducing credit card balances and making monthly payments on time. After a period of time, generally a year or two, such practices will usually be reflected in your credit score.

Does a lender take anything else into consideration when I apply for a loan?

Yes. Although lenders rely heavily on credit scores, other factors are taken into consideration, including your job history, income, savings and checking accounts, the types of loans you currently have and the type of mortgage loan you want.

What can I do if I don't have credit?

If you don't have credit as reported by the credit-reporting agencies, most lenders will accept alternative sources of credit. This could include “credit references” in the form of bills you have paid on a regular basis for rent, utilities, cable TV or insurance.

Can I "start over" by declaring bankruptcy and clearing away all my old debt?

Declaring bankruptcy is not an automatic "start over." Declaring bankruptcy, having a car repossessed, having a house foreclosed on or not paying a loan will likely have a major effect on your ability to get a new loan. In fact, information about a foreclosure or repossession can stay on your credit report for seven years and a bankruptcy for up to 10 years.

Can someone help me "fix" my credit?

If you are having problems paying your debts, a not-for-profit credit counseling organization can help by working with you and your creditors at little or no cost to set up repayment plans.

You may want to stay away from "credit repair" or "credit consolidation" companies that offer to "fix" your credit history for a fee. Only you can repair a bad credit history by repaying your debts and making your monthly payments on time. To discuss strategies for improving your credit score, talk to an experienced loan consultant at (800) 210-8849.

Getting a Good Deal

Everyone likes a good deal. When financing or refinancing a mortgage, getting that deal starts with research – and finding the mortgage loan that matches your specific needs.

Determining the right mortgage option

Securing a loan that works for you is a key part of the buying or refinancing process. Here are some factors to consider when determining loan options for your financial situation:

What is your credit history like?

  • Your credit history and score show mortgage lenders your track record for paying off debt – and they help them determine the loan types and terms for which you’ll qualify.
  • Monitor your score and take advantage of opportunities to address and correct errors in your history that could have reduced it, or changes in your borrowing behavior that may have improved it – ultimately, you are in control of your score.
  • To learn more about credit and how to request your credit report, visit our Credit Guide.
  • CONSIDER: Ask yourself if you should apply for a loan now or wait until you can improve your credit score to ensure a better loan and rate.

How long do you plan to own the home?

  • One can never predict the future, but having a general idea of how long you plan to live in your home can impact the kind of loan that is right for you.
    • Fixed rate mortgage – best suited for long-term homeowners. Offers a rate that stays the same over the life of the loan.
    • Adjustable rate mortgage – best suited for short-term homeowners. Offers an interest rate that changes based on market conditions
  • Some loans have longer repayment periods – up to 30 years – that work well if you’re planning to stay in the home for a long time. Other loans with shorter repayment periods – as short as 10 years – have lower interest rates and may be attractive if you plan to move in five to seven years or are thinking about refinancing. Remember that a shorter time frame will typically equal a higher monthly payment, while a longer time frame will tend to have a lower payment.
  • CONSIDER: Short or long term, it is a good exercise to rank what is most important to you financially as you think about which loan and payment best fits your needs today – and tomorrow. For more about available loan products, visit Loan Options and Rates.

How much money are you able to offer as a down payment?

  • On a conventional loan, a standard down payment is 20% of the home’s total cost. However, some loans allow you to put as little as 10% – or even no money – down.
  • The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payment will be.
  • CONSIDER: How much can you realistically afford for the down payment, and will this help you get to the amount you hope to pay each month?

Contact PHH Mortgage when you are searching for the loan that works best with your financial situation and future goals. We have a wide variety of products from which to choose – and our experienced loan consultants can answer any questions and help you find the mortgage that’s right for you. Call us at (800) 210-8849. 

The Value of Pre-approval

If you're thinking about buying a home, it helps to know just how much you can afford before starting your search. A loan pre-approval decision can help ensure a simpler home-buying experience from start to finish.

The loan pre-approval decision process is a preliminary evaluation of your financial status that does not include a loan commitment. If you qualify, you will receive a pre-approval letter that indicates the amount of financing you have been pre-approved for, subject to a complete underwriting review.

A pre-approval decision letter gives potential homebuyers confidence: with the letter in hand, you’ll know just how much you can afford as you search for your dream home. Additionally, many real estate agents will ask that you get pre-approved before you begin working with them, so they can show you homes that suit your approved budget.

Call (800) 210-8849 to get started with the loan pre-approval decision process or for more information.