You’ve heard that a mortgage refinance can be a beneficial step to take. Maybe you’re considering such a step. But what are the true benefits of a refinance? Let’s go over the three primary ways that a mortgage refinance can improve your financial situation.
1. Decrease your monthly payment. The amount of your monthly payment varies depending on your loan term length, the interest rate of the loan, the total loan amount, and other factors such as private mortgage insurance and expenses that have been rolled into the total loan amount. A refinance allows you to adjust many of these variables. If your interest rate is higher than the market’s current mortgage rates, you can refinance into a lower rate and decrease your monthly payment. This is one of the most common motivating factors behind a refinance.
2. Access home equity as cash. If you’ve built up equity in your home through consistent payments or through increased property values, a refinance allows you to withdraw some or all of this equity in the form of spendable cash. The amount you withdraw will affect the total loan balance remaining, but if you need access to money to pay for medical bills, college tuition, or other expenses, a refinance is a far better option than a standard bank loan or consumer credit.
3. Change the length of your loan term. Your original mortgage length may have been fifteen years, thirty years, or more. Either way, a refinance allows you to alter this length, and this can have a significant impact on your financial situation. Refinancing into a shorter term will increase your monthly payment amount but will save you money in the long run. Refinancing into a longer term, which is much more common, will have the opposite effect.
These are the three primary benefits of a mortgage refinance. Analyze your own financial needs and goals to determine the value that a refinance can offer you.
What’s in a phone number?
By Kevin Baker
Choosing the right name for your small mortgage business can have a huge impact on its success. But what about your business phone number? Does it really matter what number you have, as long as it’s printed correctly on your business cards, product literature, Web site, emails and other materials? Actually, it does. The phone number you use can have a direct impact on your mortgage business, good or bad.
That’s something you need to keep in mind as you consider which phone service to use for your mortgage business, since it could impact the type of phone number you can obtain. Here’s a guide to help you select the best option.
This term is used synonymously with “800” number because when they were first introduced, 800 was the only area code you could get. Today, their popularity exceeds the combinations available with 800, so 866, 877 and 888 have been added.
The original function was to offer a way for clients, prospects and anyone else to call your mortgage business without paying long distance charges. While the economic benefit may no longer be the top reason to acquire this type of number, having a toll-free phone number does have another benefit: it can make your small real estate business appear to be larger than it actually is.
Depending on how you go about it, a toll-free number can be an expensive upgrade over a local phone number. If you purchase the toll-free number from the phone company there is likely an add-on charge for the option, and you have to pay the toll on every call that comes into it.
The smart buyer will find that there are ways to obtain a toll-free number without added cost. There are virtual phone services for small business that include the number at no additional charge. The nice thing about this type of service is that you also get features like a virtual receptionist, unlimited extensions, voice-mail to email, smart call forwarding, call screening and more. With a bit of research you can find all the features included in one low monthly fee, a far better choice for a small mortgage business on a budget.
Local Phone Number
There are some good reasons to keep a phone number local rather than toll-free. Should your business depend on the goodwill of the people in your area, having a local number says “we are part of the community.” Since you are a small service business, whether an independent mortgage agent or a small mortgage lender, a local number may help you win business when compared to a faceless national corporation. It can also help reinforce the community presence if you are a community agency that’s part of a larger chain.
Also, when using a virtual phone service, the local number you choose doesn’t have to be the one where your office is actually located. For example, if you are a company located in a small town looking for a presence in Manhattan or Los Angeles, having a phone number in one of those cities will make it appear as though your business is located there. The caller doesn’t need to know where you really are.
Vanity Phone Number
Another option, especially if much of your business relies on referrals, is to select a vanity number such as 1-866-LENDERS. A vanity number is easy to remember, especially if heard on a radio or TV commercial, and thus more likely to be called if clients go off the top of their heads.
The only downside is vanity numbers can be difficult to dial since you have to think about which number corresponds to that letter.
Porting Over an Existing Phone Number
If you have a strong customer base that already knows your number and has it programmed into their speed dial, you may not want to change your phone number at all. That doesn’t mean you can’t switch to a different phone technology like a virtual phone service because it offers features that are more cost-effective and efficient.
While it’s not available with all services, there are some that allow you to port over your existing number to the service as easily as you would your cell phone number from one carrier to another. That option makes a lot of sense if you’ve invested a lot of time and money branding your existing number.
The bottom line is your phone number is more than just a way for clients, prospects and business partners to reach you. It is a part of your small mortgage business’ identity. Take care in selecting your business number and you won’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of lost business or missed opportunities.
Kevin Baker is my1voice Product Marketing Manager for Protus, provider of the highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for small-to-medium businesses (SMB) and enterprise organizations, including my1voice (www.my1voice.com), the cost-effective, feature-rich virtual phone service that travels with the user from phone to web, award-winning MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service and Campaigner, the email marketing service that is easy-to-use, affordable and provides step-by-step coaching tips and tools. Kevin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced last night that it will create a “Bad Bank” to purchase the toxic assets on the books of the nations banking institutions. This was originally part of the TARP plan but it didn’t work out as planned.
The idea is that because of Mark-To-Market accounting, these toxic assets are killing banks and there is no real hope for financial recovery until Mark-To-Market is repealed or an outlet to dump these assets is created. Ideally, the best scenario would be both.
The stock market is reacting favorably to the news as it is a sign that the government is making strides in the right direction.
Today the jobless claims report came out for December with a total of 524,000 jobs lost. This was worse than projections of 500,000, but far better than rumors of nearly 700,000. So far this morning, bond traders are reacting to the rumor and not the projection by selling mortgage bonds.
As mortgage rates continue to be unbelieveably low, the stock market is struggling. Wal-Mart reported that due to one of the worst holiday shopping seasons on record, they will not meet expectations for the 4th quarter. This continues to fuel uncertainty in the greater economy, and economic uncertainty drives investors to sell stocks and buy bonds. Long term, this is good for mortgage rates and the real estate market.
Also, the FED announced yesterday that through the first 3 days of this week, they bought $10.2 billion in Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginne Mae mortgage backed securities, part of their overall plan to buy up over $500 billion in MBS’s between now and June.
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