Noel Stiller

Production Manager | NMLS 374167
Phone | Fax:
516 S Front Street, Mankato, MN 56001

Mortgage lending is more than selling loans. It’s about helping people achieve their homeownership goals. Whether that’s helping them reach a better financial position or connecting them to the home of their dreams, it’s about guiding them to the finish line.

My industry experience has taught me to take the time to understand my customers: What’s their story? How can I help them in their pursuit of a home? When I see my customers as real people with real goals, needs, and dreams, I get to match them with the best loan product and create a truly seamless lending experience.

Everyone has a story to tell. What they need is a Loan Originator who will listen, customize a loan to meet their needs, and guide them every step of the way.

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Start the new year with smart goals for buying a house in 2018.

In this blog post, we are not giving advice. We recommend you consult your financial advisor or legal counsel before you make any financial decisions toward purchasing a home.

Is your New Year’s resolution to become a homeowner? You’ve come to the right place! Many people right now are making plans and taking steps toward the goal of homeownership this year. So, why become a homeowner? Some people do it because it’s still part of the American Dream. Some because real estate appreciates and there’s money in that. Some because of the tax advantages and some because they just want a place they can call their own. A place they can truly call home. There’s something beautiful about ownership and Americans know that. You know that. It’s probably why you made a resolution to become a homeowner this year.

If you’re looking to make 2018 the year you buy your own home, you may want to keep reading. Let’s dive into some smart goals for buying a house this year.

Make a commitment

You often see the most people at the gym in January and, slowly but surely, by February, March, April . . . it trickles down to the people who are always at the gym. The committed few. Here’s a tip: be one of the committed few. If you’re serious about wanting to become a homeowner in 2018, commit to this goal. It’s not just about following the steps of the process, it’s about getting your mind right. It’s an attitude; a posture. Buckle up and get ready for a ride because (news flash) homeownership is a commitment. When you’re making such a monumental decision as this, you’ve got to be committed.

Get to know your finances

You can’t make a list of smart goals for buying a house without getting well-acquainted with your finances. Do you know your credit score? We don’t recommend you go pull your credit, but if you already know it, that’s a good piece of information to keep on-hand. (If you don’t know your credit score, your Loan Originator can pull it later.)

Assess your debt. What types of debt (and how many) do you have? This might include credit card expenses, furniture financing, student loans, a car loan, and more. Whatever it is, write it down. When you apply for a mortgage, your lender will ask about this in order to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio—and your DTI ratio is extremely important because it will determine whether you get approved for a home loan.

Make mini goals to spend less and save more and you could be in a better position to buy a home.

It’s also good to take a peek at your savings account. How much do you have saved up? If you have the coveted 20% down payment in savings, that’s great! If not, there are low down payment options out there—but beware because a down payment below 20% comes with a monthly mortgage insurance premium. If your savings is looking a little low, perhaps you should spend the first part of the year saving money and plan to buy a house in the fall.

On the topic of finances, as you save up and try to eliminate some debt, you might have to make some financial sacrifices. Again, if you’re serious about buying a house in 2018, it’s going to take commitment! And a commitment to anything almost always requires some sort of sacrifice. Make mini goals to spend less and save more and you could be in a better position to buy a home.

What do you want?

Have you ever sat down and seriously thought about what you want in a home? We’re not just talking bed and bath combinations—it’s much more than that. Is there a specific town or neighborhood you want to live in? Do you want some outdoor space? What about a dine-in kitchen? Or a dual vanity in the bathroom? Think critically about your lifestyle and how your current place is or isn’t working for you. Then, map out your wants vs. needs.

What can you afford?

You can’t really start house hunting until you know how much home you can afford. That’s where we come in. Call us. We’re much more than mortgage lenders. We’re experts in our field. Call us and ask questions—we want to help get you home! When you give us a call, we’ll be able to pre-qualify and maybe even pre-approve you for a loan. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll know what you can afford to spend. Then comes the fun part.

Start shopping (for a home and a real estate agent)

Based on your wants and needs and the loan amount you’re pre-approved for, it’s time to start shopping! Have fun with this, but don’t over-commit to one house. Keep an open mind about it and try not to get too attached to one property. Things may change and you have to be prepared for that. This is where a savvy real estate agent would be nice to have.

A great real estate agent can help you negotiate terms, home repairs, and the purchase price.

Hiring a real estate agent to help in your home buying process isn’t required, but it is a good thing. A great real estate agent can help you negotiate terms, home repairs, and the purchase price. They can give you advice and speak from experience. They probably have a wide professional network and can connect you with a title company, an insurance company, a home inspector, and more. Don’t underestimate the value of a real estate agent who represents you and your best interests in one of the biggest purchases of your life!

Did this blog post help you set some smart goals for buying a house in 2018? Share your thoughts with us on social media or forward this article to a friend.

Our bold housing predictions for 2018 say the future’s bright.

In the mortgage business, things never stay the same for too long. It’s a cyclical industry and that’s why we’re always keeping tabs on what’s happening and letting you know what may be coming next. Last year was interesting to say the least. If we could sum it up in one word: growth. Interest rates, home prices, and the rate of homeownership all increased. This month, it’s the start of a new year, and we’re making three bold housing predictions for 2018 (you might be surprised at number two).

Home prices will rise

It’s the current “inventory crisis” that’s got everyone talking. Since the number of homes for sale is low, competition is high, and sellers are taking advantage of their chance to post higher asking prices. And, if interest rates continue to increase (as they steadily did in 2017) we’re looking at a tough market for home buyers in 2018, especially for first-timers. Some sources may predict home price growth will slow down, but we’re predicting a slight uptick. Needless to say, one of our bold housing predictions for 2018 is that housing will become less affordable for would-be home buyers.

If interest rates continue to increase (as they steadily did in 2017) we’re looking at a tough market for home buyers in 2018, especially for first-timers.

For those of you who made a New Year’s resolution to buy a home this year, if this prediction comes true, it might make the jump from renting to owning more difficult. Beyond that, you’re competing against experienced buyers who have at least one successful home sale under their belts and are well-versed in the art of negotiation. But even experienced buyers might avoid the market in 2018…

Homeowners will remodel, not sell

Due to rising home prices—coupled with low housing inventory and the possibility of interest rates rising even more—we’re predicting a lot of current homeowners who are due for an upgrade will stay put instead. Let’s say you bought your home seven years ago and you’re getting serious about buying a new home this year. Maybe you’re upsizing, downsizing, or you’re looking to move out of the city and into the suburbs. Whatever your motivation, we like to call homeowners like you “rebound buyers” because you’re re-entering the market.

Another one of our 2018 housing predictions is that, rather than jumping into today’s tough landscape and competing with other buyers over high home prices, these homeowners will stay in place and opt for renovations. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need a mortgage! These homeowners might take out a HELOC or cash-out refinance to help fund the cost of making their current digs feel more like new.

We’re predicting a lot of current homeowners who are due for an upgrade will stay put instead.

More assistance programs will launch

Last year was big in the way of homeownership assistance. In 2017, we saw more mortgage lenders adopt new down payment assistance (DPA) programs, lower their minimum credit score requirements, and lower their down payment minimums. Last June, Fannie Mae raised their debt-to-income ceiling from 45% to 50%, making homeownership possible for many more Americans who have debt. Where a high DTI keeps people from qualifying for a mortgage, this ceiling increase helps many more become eligible.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also raised their conforming loan limits from $424,100 to $453,100 for single-family residential loans closed after January 1, 2018—which means home buyers looking to purchase a high-priced home may not have to take out Jumbo loan financing. This will allow more home buyers who either don’t qualify for a Jumbo loan or simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of a strict Jumbo loan process to get that dream home. We’re predicting this loan limit increase will be huge for home buyers in 2018 seeing as we’re also predicting home prices will continue to rise.

These are just a few of the changes to the mortgage industry that are making homeownership more affordable for many Americans. And one of our bold housing predictions for 2018 is that advancements like these will only continue!

Do you have any bold housing predictions for 2018? Tell us on any one of our social media channels or tag #Cardinal2018Predictions!

Looking for a home loan? Here’s a breakdown of two of the most popular mortgage programs.

Buying a home can be a difficult process, and finding the right mortgage is a huge part of that. It’s important to do your research and work with a loan officer to find out which loan option is the best for your financial situation. Luckily, we’ve done some of your homework for you. Here, we’ll dive into two of the most popular home loan options, FHA vs Conventional, explain their key features, and help you decide which one may be the best loan option for you.

FHA Loan

An FHA loan is a mortgage that’s insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The FHA loan program was created to help stimulate the housing market and make loans accessible and affordable for people with spotty credit, which is why it’s so popular among people who are looking to buy their first home. On the other hand, one of the cons of an FHA loan is that all borrowers must pay mortgage insurance premiums, which protect the lender if the borrower defaults. They allow down payments of 3.5% for a credit score of 580 or higher. However, you can still get the loan if your credit score is between 500–579 for 10% down. It’s also important to remember that the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate will be.

So why might you want to consider an FHA loan?

  • Easier to qualify for.
  • Fixed and adjustable rates are available.
  • You may be able to refinance a Conventional loan into an FHA loan.
  • FHA to FHA streamline refinances do not require an appraisal.
  • Available for cash-out refinance or rate/term refinance.
  • FHA-eligible down payment assistance programs are allowed with a Cardinal Financial-approved program.

All mortgages have specific advantages and disadvantages, and the best option for you may not be the best option for someone else.

Conventional Loan

A Conventional loan is a mortgage that is not guaranteed or insured by any government agency, which is one of the reasons it’s the most popular mortgage plan amongst people looking to purchase or refinance a home. Borrowers can choose between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages with terms from 10 to 30 years. Since they’re not insured or guaranteed by government agencies, Conventional mortgages can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. First-time buyers are allowed to put as little as 3% down, while all other buyers can put as little as 5% down. However, credit standards are a little more strict here than with FHA loans, as you’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a Conventional mortgage.

So why should you consider a Conventional loan?

  • Fixed rates offer consistent monthly payments and simplify planning and budgeting.
  • ARMs may have lower initial monthly payments than fixed-rate loans and adjust after the fixed term.
  • Available for purchase, refinance, or cash-out refinance.

The important thing to remember when considering FHA vs Conventional is that there’s no right answer as to which one is “better.” All mortgages have specific advantages and disadvantages, and the best option for you may not be the best option for someone else. Your best bet is to speak with a mortgage expert and go over the pros and cons of each option to see how they fit your financial situation. Happy home-buying!

Did you learn something new from this blog post? Did reading this help you make a decision? We want to know! Tell us on social media!

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