Guest speakers included three of Walters Homes' preferred lenders, OceanFirst Bank, Van Dyk Home Loans, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage as well as Let's Talk Credit Scores, a credit information provider.
"Buying a home in this area is well within reach," said Cynthia Kelley, branch manager for Van Dyk Home Loans, who discussed the USDA Rural Housing Mortgage program. For instance, the average cost of renting a three-bedroom, 2 ½ bath, 1,300-square-
In today's market, mortgages are more attractive than ever, but choosing the right one depends on a variety of factors such as credit scores, down payment, and income levels. Conventional loans, for example, offer pros and cons, according to Michael Frankovich, vice president and sales manager of OceanFirst Bank. "It's the easiest, cheapest, least cumbersome to process, and has the fastest delivery." For instance, homebuyers with a good credit score, who opt for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, can lock in at 3.87 percent with 0 points at closing. The downside is that they require larger down payments than government-backed loans. To assist prospective buyers, the bank's First Home Club, sponsored by the Federal Home Loan program, offers qualified customers a savings incentive of up to $7,500 toward a down payment when they obtain mortgage financing through the bank. Another option is the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency's Smart Start Program, offering first-time homebuyers down payment assistance of up to 4 percent, explained Frankovich.
Buyers looking for more lenient credit requirements can opt for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage, explained Len Herbert, home mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo. "There are no income limits to qualify. But the limit on the loan in Monmouth and Ocean County is $729,750." VA loans, available to veterans and active military, offer 100% financing with no money down, and no mortgage insurance, according to Herbert.
The myths and misconceptions surrounding credit score reports were discussed by Carl Rinyu, credit score specialist with Let's Talk Credit Scores based in Brick. "Scores range from 350 to 850, and the average credit score for mortgage lending starts at 620," he explained. "There are a total of five factors that go into the calculation of a FICO® credit score. However, of those five, just two account for 65 percent of the total." Thirty-five percent is dictated by payment history, 30 percent is amounts owed, 15 percent is length of credit history, 10 percent new credit accounts, and the final 10 percent is types of credit used, according to his figures.
"A delinquency such as missing a payment on a credit card can cost you over 100 points," Rinyu said. "It's critical to make sure every payment is made on time. As you separate yourself from the delinquency, you start to see improvement in your credit level."
Attendees were also given information on two Walters Homes developments:
At Whispering Hills, located off Rose Hill Road, between Barnegat Boulevard and Route 9, eco-friendly townhouses range in size from 1,909 square feet to 2,191 square feet, starting at $222,195 for the Willow model. The townhouses are registered with a certification goal of LEED® Silver, making them more energy efficient than conventional non-green homes.
The web site, www.waltershomes.com, showcases the models and floor plans of townhouses at Whispering Hills and single-family homes at Ocean Acres at Barnegat.