Monthly Archives: September 2014

15 Year Mortgage vs. 30 Year Mortgage: Which One is Right for You?

A 30 year mortgage has long been the default financing option for people considering buying a home. Yet more and more buyers are showing interest in shorter term loans, especially on the recommendations of popular financial gurus. There’s no one-size fits all approach to mortgages. But if you’re a prospective buyer in the Las Vegas area with good credit and you’re trying to determine what loan options you should consider, here’s a closer look at how each type of loan breaks down.

Couple signing financial terms for future propertyThe major differences

A 15 year loan and a 30 year loan have two essential differences. The major one that most buyers think of is the monthly payment. With a longer loan, your monthly payments decrease and therefore typically make it easier to afford a larger home. Sometimes, people simply want to keep their monthly payments as low as possible to maximize their income. The second factor is interest. The interest rates on 30 year loans are often slightly higher than shorter term loans. However, over the life of the loan, you’re likely to pay significantly more in interest payments over 30 years.

Doing the math

Consider a $160,000 mortgage. In our case study, the rate for a 15 year loan is 4.5 percent and a 30 year loan is 5%. With a 15 year loan, buyers would have a monthly payment of $1224 and pay just over $60,000 in interest over the life of the loan. With a 30 year mortgage on the same property, the monthly payments drop to $859, but raises the interest paid to just over $149,000 over the 30 year period.

Other considerations

Neither approach is right for every buyer. Specifically, your priority might be keeping your payments as affordable as possible in today’s volatile economy. Conversely, you may be financially secure in your job and want to minimize the amount of money that you pay in interest over time.

Understanding your priorities can help you evaluate different financial models. This information is crucial to allowing your lender to design a loan program that helps you meet your home ownership goals and prioritizes your bigger financial plans. If you’re unsure how best to proceed, outline your overall objectives and money goals. Your lender will be able to help you model different scenarios and understand their impact on your financial situation.

Are you a prospective homebuyer in the Las Vegas area who is looking for the best option to finance your home? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to discuss your needs and learn more about whether a 15 year mortgage or 30 year mortgage is right for you.


Partnering with Lenders: Tips for Las Vegas Real Estate Agents

Partnering with lenders can help Realtors® run more profitable businesses while assisting their clients in achieving their home ownership dreams. There are a number of ways that ongoing collaboration with an experienced lender can save time, money, and heartache throughout the real estate process. Based on years of experience working as part of successful Realtor® – lender teams, here are tips for how real estate agents can put a relationship with a lender to work for their business.

PartnershipGet Pre-Approvals

Many first time homebuyers are unfamiliar with the process of obtaining financing. By referring your clients to a reputable lender for a pre-approval early in the process, you’ll get critical information. Your clients will be working on the best information about how much house they can afford, and you’ll be assured of a smoother closing process.

Evaluating Loan Options

With the number of different loan options on the market today, it’s important that buyers understand how to structure a transaction that’s going to work best for their needs. If your buyers are eligible for programs such as VA loans or rural FHA programs that require additional documentation, this can be communicated early in the process to help them prepare.

Structuring Viable Offers

The more financial insight you have, the better you’re able to structure an offer that’s likely to be accepted by the sellers and that your buyers can financially fulfill. The right lender will work with you to creatively structure aspects of the deal such as closing costs, loan credits, and more.

Managing Communication

Once a real estate transaction is moving toward a close, there are a number of stakeholders to keep informed. The buyers, the sellers, the agents, the bank, lawyers, inspectors and more all need to be in the loop. Closing timelines are often tight, and every step needs to be completed on schedule to avoid expensive delays. The right lender will partner with you to keep all aspects of the financial process flowing forward.

Saving Money

In many cases, it’s possible to save buyers money, structure loans to eliminate closing costs, or reduce the interest paid over the life of the loan. By working as part of a lender-Realtor team, you’ll be setting the stage for the best possible financial outcome for your clients.

If you’re a real estate agent in Las Vegas that’s looking for better financial solutions for your buyers, I can help. Contact me at Sydnee Johnson Las Vegas Home Loans today to discuss your needs and learn more about the benefits of partnering with lenders.

Realtor® – Lender Partnership: How I Help You Serve Your Clients

A Realtor® – lender partnership is one of the most important ways that real estate transactions close successfully. There’s nothing more heartbreaking for a Realtor® than watching buyers go through the process of imagining their perfect home, embarking on a search, and finally finding the one, only to have a sale thwarted by a lack of available financing. Not only do you stand to have invested significant time and effort into a project that won’t pay off, but clients that you’ve grown to know and like may lose their chance at homeownership.

PartnershipThroughout my years as a lender in Las Vegas, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a wide range of Realtors® and real estate agencies. In fact, many Realtors® that I’ve worked with in the past bring me some of their toughest cases. Numerous colleagues refer multiple buyers to me throughout the year. I was reminded of what a difference a coordinated Realtor® – lender team can make to a buyer when I received the following testimonial from a colleague, Sandee McDuffie from Hali’s Angels:

“How do I begin to describe working with Sydnee Johnson? Professional, helpful, knowledgeable, a great partner, team player and through our business alliance has become a great friend.”

“Sydnee has definitely worked some miracles for me. She saved one client in particular over $4,000 in closing costs and, after taking over the deal two weeks into escrow from another lender, she still closed on time. She also used the closing costs from the seller so wisely that she was able to buy down the interest rate to save my buyers $1000’s over the life of the loan, and in the process she made me look like a rock star to my clients!”

“We’ve handled some difficult transactions together and at those times Sydnee is a great support, always communicating well and making sure we are on the same page. Our clients truly are hiring a team to go to work for them.”

“Sydnee is very supportive and always goes the extra mile to help me grow my business. She follows up immediately when I refer clients and keeps in touch with buyers who aren’t quite ready so that when they are, she can let me know and together we can help them achieve their goal of home ownership.”

Do you need a reliable partner that can help you find the best financing solutions for your real estate clients? Whether it’s a buyer with great credit looking for the best deal from a lender or someone with troubled credit seeking a fresh start, I’m here to help. Contact me today at Sydnee Johnson Las Vegas home Loans to discuss ways I can help you and your clients reach your most important goals through an effective Realtor® – lender partnership.

First Time Homebuyer Programs: Are They Right for You?

First time homebuyer programs offer several advantages if you’ve never purchased property before. Often these programs are state or federally funded. Essentially, they’re designed to make home ownership more accessible to individuals and families that otherwise wouldn’t qualify. There are many potential benefits from reduced closing costs and lower interest rates to very low down payment requirements. But there are some limitations, eligibility criteria, and requirements to participate. Here’s what you need to know to decide if a first time homebuyer program is right for you.

First Time Home BuyersEducation Requirements

Many lenders require that anyone participating in a special program attends a home ownership workshop or course. During these workshops, you’ll learn more about how to budget as a homeowner, how to determine how much you can afford to spend, and specifics about the mortgage program itself.


Each program has slightly different criteria for participation. Generally criteria falls into two categories. The first is that you’ve never owned a home before. In some cases, programs may also be available if you haven’t owned property in the last three to five years. It’s important to look at each program’s specific requirements as they tend to vary. The second criteria is often income-based. These programs are designed to assist buyers with lower to middle class incomes. If you earn too much money, you might not qualify.


The programs may have a number of restrictions that you need to consider. The first is the mortgage limit. First time loan programs are geared toward less expensive homes, so it’s important to factor that in when considering the property you plan to buy. A limited number of loan types are also likely to be available, for example a fixed thirty year mortgage. If you’re hoping for a variable product or a shorter loan duration, these programs may not be right for you. Finally, these loans are typically available only if the home you’re purchasing is your primary residence.


First time homebuyer programs can have numerous benefits. They can eliminate or reduce down payments and private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirements, offer grants to subsidize closing costs, reduce your interest rate, and much more. If you’re currently looking for ways to make your dreams of homeownership a reality with a limited income, it’s an option worth considering. If you have more resources or want increased flexibility, you may be better off with a different financing vehicle.

Prospective first time homeowners in the Las Vegas area should contact Sydnee Johnson today to discuss their plans and learn more about whether a first time homebuyer program is right for them.

3 Reasons Mortgage Refinancing Applications Get Denied – And How to Prevent Them

Homeowners seek mortgage refinancing for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to lower your payments or take advantage of a better interest rate to pay off your loan faster, refinancing your mortgage can be a sound step in building a healthy financial future. But today’s banks and mortgage lenders have stricter standards than ever before. Here’s a closer Refinancing Your Homelook at three common reasons refinancing applications get denied and what you can do to prevent them.

Late or Missed Mortgage Payments

One of the first things a lender evaluates is ensuring you have a history of paying your mortgage on time and in full each month. If you’ve had periods where you’ve been late on mortgage payments, it’s important to establish at least one year’s history of on-time payments before applying. Be prepared to explain previous issues, such as unemployment or unanticipated medical expenses. Documentation may be required to substantiate your claims.

A Drop in Credit Scores

Has anything recently impacted your credit score? Lenders are requiring higher credit scores today to make loans than just a couple of years ago. A high credit card balance, late payments, or multiple inquiries for credit could negatively impact your score. Use a service like to obtain a copy of your report, and look for errors or issues that need to be cleaned up. A free service like CreditKarma allows you to see your credit score. Knowledge is power. Address any problems that arise before you apply.

Drops in Your Home’s Equity

One of the challenges of the recent housing bubble is that home values plummeted. Many owners found themselves under water. If you’re trying to refinance a loan that’s significantly higher than your home’s current value, you’ll need to look beyond traditional financing vehicles. Talk to a qualified lender about programs such as HARP, which allows you to refinance up to 125% of your home’s value. Another option is HAMP, a federal restructuring program, for homeowners that are both underwater and have missed payments.

Finding the right refinancing solution for your Las Vegas home starts with talking to an experienced loan officer. Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation and learn more about the options available to you for mortgage refinancing.

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