Category Archives: Blog

Make Your Home Loan Closing a Breeze

Buying a new home, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, is often both an exciting and stressful process. There are things you can do as a homebuyer that will decrease the stress side of the equation significantly so that when you find that perfect home, it can be smooth sailing through the closing process.homeloan

  1. Start with a mortgage loan prequalification: Financing is pivotal to purchasing a home for most homebuyers. Serious buyers should become prequalified for a home loan before they begin shopping. Being preapproved means the sellers will take your offer seriously while helping you clarify what you can and cannot afford. Serious changes like a change of job or default on bills during the loan making process can still jeopardize you loan – just report them to your loan officer right away to minimize harm.
  2. Have your down payment ready: Seldom does it work out for buyers who shop for a home before they have their down payment saved. It is tough to pull together large sums of money in a short time. Certain prepayments and other financial settlements are due at closing that do not count towards a home’s down payment so make sure you are financially prepared.
  3. Debt ratio and credit profile: Now is the time to resolve any outstanding credit profile problems. Consolidate debt, if necessary, to decrease monthly payments and pay off what you can. Generally speaking, your monthly expenses cannot exceed 45% of your monthly income.
  4. Don’t write-off your buying power: Business owners and those who are self-employed are able to write-off business expenses to minimize their taxable income. Keep in mind that excessive tax write-offs will lower your purchasing power since it plays a critical factor in your debt to income ratio.
  5. Don’t skimp on home inspections: A thorough home inspection including a separate termite and lead (if applicable) inspection may save you thousands in unexpected costs. Be sure to make you offer contingent upon findings. The buyer has the right to ask the seller to repair any problems with the home or adjust the purchase price pursuant to inspection findings. In extreme cases, inspections save homebuyers from the nightmare of purchasing a home in severe disrepair.
  6. Be prepared to discuss in detail these additional issues with your loan officer:
    1. Self-employment of two years or less
    2. The origin of and terms of any gift money or secured loans for down payment
    3. Any debts of which you are a co-signer
    4. Previous short-sales, foreclosures or bankruptcy in the past seven years
    5. Debt related to the IRS or spousal alimony/child support
    6. A new job including part-time work
    7. Deferred student loans

The good news is that whether you have a high credit score with a solid payment history or you lost a home through foreclosure or short-sale, an experienced, customer-focused loan officer is likely to have a loan product that will work for you as long as you’ve done your part in preparing to enter the market. Happy home hunting!


Las Vegas Short-Sales, Foreclosures and Rainbows

Feel like you’re locked out of home ownership dream because of a recent short-sale or foreclosure in Nevada? If so, you’re not alone. The greater Las Vegas area remains in the top ten states with high numbers of foreclosure and short-sales stemming from the Great Recession and its aftermath. Luckily, the storm cloud of going through the loss of a home comes with a rainbow, pot of gold included!

Second Chance home loans are available to qualified homebuyers as early as one day after a short-sale or foreclosure. Premier Mortgage Lending in Las Vegas, Nevada offers loans through their private lending division. That’s great news for people wanting to get back on track with the American Dream of home ownership!

Since these loans are privately funded, the usual waiting periods for conventional bank- or government-backed loans is irrelevant.  Various private loan programs are available to suit a variety of needs. Second Chance Loans have slightly higher interest rates and possible higher down payment requirements than conventional loans but they also offer more flexibility in the allowed debt ratio, property options (including homes that do not qualify for VA or FHA loans), and there is never a prepayment penalty if you want to refinance down the road.

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Getting Back in the Saddle

Fall is a great time to be in the market for a new home, especially in Las Vegas, Nevada. The weather is cooler, summer vacations are a memory and it’s time to get back in the saddle and spend the holidays in your new home.

Your first step in looking for a new home is always the same: Hire the best mortgage loan officer possible who will work on your behalf to secure a loan to meet your needs. An experienced, dedicated loan officer is critical to leaving no stone unturned in helping you to own a home again. Sydnee Johnson is a senior loan officer with decades of experience and customer service that is second to none. If you qualify for a loan, she will find it.

Check out these reviews:

Janine Andersen — 5 star: If you want the job done right, then Sydnee is the loan officer for you. The best in the business.

Tami Bilyeu Nielsen — 5 star: Sydnee is the best Loan Officer I have ever worked with. She is a true professional and cares about every one of her clients…..

Jodi Vince –  Sydnee – Thank you SO much for all of your help with our loan and the amazing low rate you locked in for us! While there were definitely a few hiccups along the way (my fault) – you were always on top of your game and made sure that we were actually ahead of schedule for closing! You went above and beyond for us in so many ways… but, I especially appreciated your sense of humor and ability keep me calm through it all. (not an easy task, by any means!) 😉 I owe our realtor Mandy Miller an extra special thank you for recommending you to us! I will be doing the same! Again… THANK YOU!!

Give Sydnee Johnson a call today to get started on your trip to the end of the rainbow. You can reach her at (702) 830-2271.


Fall is the New Spring for Homebuyers in Las Vegas

Do you want a new home for the holidays in the Las Vegas, NV area? The Tuesday after Labor Day through Thanksgiving marks one of the busiest times of the year for those in the market for a new home. As summer begins to fade out (and with it those 100 degree and higher temperatures), folks in Vegas begin to take an interest in extending their lives past the tethers of air conditioned spaces. One of the reasons? Fall is an exceptional time to find a new place to call home.

Imagine spending the holidays in a new homeFirst Time Home Buyers and welcoming the New Year with living space to match the needs of your family. Do you want your next home to have a fireplace for romantic winter nights or a pool and spa to complete your own home resort and health club? Your home is your castle – humble or extravagant – so make sure it has the features that best suit your lifestyle.

The first step in home buying is to become pre-qualified for a home loan. When home shopping already prequalified for a mortgage, you’re signaling to any potential seller that they are dealing with a serious buyer, ready to pounce on the chance to upscale (or downsize) the minute you find your dream home.  Fall is also a perfect time for first-time home buyers including young couples and single professionals or snowbirds ready to invest in their winter home, unencumbered by the need to move based on the annual school schedule.

Another benefit of making a home purchase before the first of the year is that many of the costs associated with the purchasing process are tax deductible. The tax benefits may be the strongest driver for some buyers. Pair the benefits for buyers with motivated sellers and great deals can be had in places like Las Vegas and surrounding communities since sellers generally want to seal a deal before the holidays get too close.

Don’t wait too long to start looking if you plan a home purchase this fall. According to Vegas Inc., sales were up 8 percent in the three months ending June 30, 2015 from the same period last year. That means you’ll likely have some competition from other buyers. The right lender is a critical partner in helping you make an offer on a home with confidence. Contact Sydnee Johnson Las Vegas Home Loans at 702-830-2271 today or email her at to get prequalified.  Ask about her no-fee loans and how she’ll get the lowest interest rates available for your home mortgage.


How to Get a Mortgage for an Investment Property

Understanding how to get a mortgage for an investment property is an essential step of becoming a successful real estate investor. Especially in the greater Las Vegas area, there are numerous opportunities to make investments in property that is likely to appreciate in value while providing a good ROI through rental income. But getting financing on an investment property is often more difficult than obtaining a mortgage on your primary home. Here are some steps that can help you get the leverage financing necessary to purchase a rental property.

Real Estate InvestorHave a substantial down payment

Having a substantial down payment not only signals that you’re serious and well-prepared for the venture of owning a rental property, but it increases the chances you’ll be approved for a loan. Mortgage insurance doesn’t cover investment properties, so typically buyers are required to have 20%. A down payment of 25% to 30% may result in a lower interest rate. One of lenders’ biggest fears is that it’s easier to walk away from a rental property than from your own home. The more you’ve invested into a property, the more you’re perceived as being committed.

Know your credit score

While the bank will take a closer look at your down payment and the property’s value to loan ratio, the most important factor in getting an approval is your own credit score. Do you have a high credit rating? If not or if you’re unsure, take the time to examine your credit report. Free copies of your report can be obtained online. Addressing problems such as accounts in collections, late payments, and inaccurate information can drive up your score. A higher score not only increases your chances of approval, but it reduces the interest rate you’ll have to pay.

Consider alternate funders

Large national banks have stringent guidelines with respect to investment property loans. But an experienced lender can connect you with alternate funders that may be more willing to work with you. For example, a neighborhood bank may have more flexibility with respect to your down payment and a private lender may be willing to take a risk on a lower credit score for a higher interest rate. Talk with an experienced lender about your unique situation and goals to explore what solution may be right for you.

Are you thinking about purchasing an investment property in Las Vegas? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation to discuss your options for mortgages.

What Is A Jumbo Loan?

At first glance, the term “jumbo loan” can be intimidating. However, in reality it simply refers to loans above a certain monetary limit. If you’re thinking of buying a larger home than the one or you’re opting for a high-end property, you might want to consider opting for a jumbo loan to help you get there. Basically, a Jumbo loan is any mortgage which is above the maximum loan limit set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two biggest government-sponsored mortgage buyers. Here’s a closer look at what buyers need to know about jumbo loans.

Jumbo LoanWhat is a Jumbo Loan?

The limits on jumbo loans are set based on the median income guidelines for specific areas. The limit is $417,000 in 3,108 counties in the United States, whereas it is approximately $625,500 in 100 counties with higher incomes and costs of living. There are 92 counties in the United States where a jumbo loan limit falls between $417,000 and $625,500. In Nevada, the limit is $417,000, with Nevada Super Jumbo loans beginning at one million dollars.

How Can You Qualify for a Jumbo Loan?

Since jumbo loans are typically larger than the average mortgage, credit scores are incredibly important. Some experts suggest that credit scores for a jumbo loan are a minimum of 700; higher is even better. Income levels and low debt-to-income ratios are also critical. The maximum debt-to-income ratio for a jumbo loan is 45%.

Individuals who are looking into obtaining a jumbo loan have to show that they can make bigger payments every month and prove that they have the resources (and ongoing stability) to manage those payments. Since PMI doesn’t exist for loans this large, buyers must be able to put down an appropriately large down payment. One additional factor to note is that banks often have requirements for financial reserves set aside for the mortgage, to keep available to the buyers after the closing. On a conventional mortgage, it may be only one or two months’ worth of cash. For jumbo loans, reserves often need to be equivalent to 20% or up to six months of payments, depending on the lender.

For buyers with great credit, healthy incomes, and a strong overall financial picture, a jumbo loan can be the right choice to help you reach your real estate goals. Interest rates are currently excellent, and interest on loans up to $1 million may be tax deductible.

Are you a Las Vegas resident interested in getting a jumbo loan or mortgage on a higher ticket property? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a consultation to discuss your options.

Can I Get a Mortgage After Bankruptcy?

“Can I get a mortgage after bankruptcy?” is one of the most common questions that consumers with a less than perfect credit history ask. As a lender, it’s important to help consumers understand both sides of that process. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to obtain a loan after a bankruptcy. At the same time, a bankruptcy – especially a recent one – will call into question your ability to pay back the loan and increase lender scrutiny of your application. There are a number of elements that lenders consider and steps that consumers can take to help get approved for financing to buy a home after they’ve filed.

BankruptcyTake time to rebuild

How much time has passed since you filed for bankruptcy? If you’ve recently filed for bankruptcy, then there is a high probability that you’ll be advised to wait some time before reapplying. The more time that has elapsed since your bankruptcy, the more time you’ve had to repair your credit and establish different habits for lenders to consider. For example, rent an apartment or condo and pay your month on time and in full each month to get a landlord reference you can use. Use the time after your financial crisis to focus to building a good payment history, a track records of savings, and to address any debts that may not have been erased in your bankruptcy.

Show financial institutions stability

One of the major factors that loaning institutions take into account when processing a loan is the current level of financial stability of your family. Even if you have a bankruptcy in your background, as long as you’re showing signs of commitment with a steady job and a secure monthly income, you may be approved for a mortgage loan. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re keeping up with your payments under your reorganization plan, if applicable, after you filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Not only will your performance under any reorganization plan be scrutinized, but your employment situation, income level, and overall financial behavior since filing will be closely considered.

Establish creditworthiness

How can you effectively prove that you’re creditworthy enough to get a mortgage? Usually, people who’ve gone bankrupt have a credit rating which tends to be in the lower five hundreds. A higher score increases your chances of approval while minimizing your interest rate. Even with a score in the low six hundreds, your mortgage interest rates may be higher than the average. To increase your chances of getting a loan, first focus on raising your credit score. Obtaining lines of credit, using them responsibly, and building an on-time payment history – while keeping your overall balances low – is one of the best things you can do each month.

Are you a Las Vegas resident who has filed for bankruptcy that’s thinking about purchasing a home? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation and to discuss a range of financing options that may be right for your situation.

5 Documents to Gather before Applying for a Mortgage

Applying for a mortgage is a time intensive and documentation intensive process. Having the right documents on hand can greatly expedite the application experience, and make it easier for a lender to give you a pre-approval or a loan offer. The earlier in the process you can gather and share them, the better. Yet not every applicant knows what to expect. Here’s a quick guide to five documents it’s helpful to gather before you apply for a mortgage.

Mortgage Application DocumentsEmployment verification

Your income plays a vital role in getting you approved for a mortgage. Lenders want to understand how long you’ve been employed, what you do, and how much you make. Start by gathering previous W2s and your most recent 3 – 4 paystubs. It’s also possible to request a letter from your employer verifying that you’re employed, how long you’ve been working there, and how much you make. If you receive a fixed annual bonus or other compensation, a letter from your employer outlining that may also be helpful.

Previous tax returns

Most lenders want to see two to three years of your previous tax returns. They’re looking for trends in income, and also for the stability of your income level. If you’re self-employed or you own a business, lenders may ask for as many as seven years of tax returns in order to better gauge your financial situation. Get copies of your tax returns from the IRS if you haven’t kept them on file.

Your credit report

Any lender that’s considering your application will pull the latest copy of your credit report and credit score from their agency of choice. However, before you apply it’s important that you’re familiar with what’s on the document. Scour it for errors or for issues – such as accounts in collections – that can quickly be corrected. Otherwise, being prepared will help you anticipate interest rates and specific comments you may need to address during the process.

Copies of financial statements

If you don’t typically keep financial statements on hand, you’ll want to gather several months of statements for your primary accounts. Start with any checking and savings accounts that you maintain. Banks will also want to see details regarding your investment accounts, retirement savings and any other assets that will give them insights into your financial big picture. If you have other sources of income such as alimony, rental income, or passive income streams, having documentation that shows that income is also helpful during the application process.

Previous rental verification

If you’re currently renting a home or apartment, lenders will want to see proof that rent was paid on time. Often, they seek documentation that goes back as far as 12 months. Copies of canceled rent checks, along with a rental agreement, can help verify this. A letter from your current landlord, along with his or her contact information, is also helpful.

Are you a Las Vegas resident who is considering applying for a mortgage? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation and learn more about the process, including what documents you need to apply for a mortgage.

Could a Gift Be the Answer to Saving a Down Payment?

A down payment is often a major barrier for first time homebuyers to get into the real estate market. While there are numerous strategies to save money for a house, many buyers have family or friends who are willing to contribute cash toward their down payment. But if you’ve never dealt with this situation before, you may be wondering how lenders view this situation and what needs to happen in order to formalize a gift contribution. Here’s a closer look at using gifts to help finance the purchase of a property.
GiftDifferentiating Between a Loan and a Gift

One of the most important aspects that lenders will evaluate is whether a cash contribution from family or friends is truly a gift. If it’s a loan, even one that is granted on favorable terms with no interest and a later repayment date, lenders want to know. Any loans or debts count toward your overall debt-to-income ratio. Most lenders will request a gift letter to explain large cash deposits, stating the amount of the gift and verifying that it is in fact a gift that doesn’t need to be repaid.

Common Sources of Gifts

Buyers get cash contributions toward home purchases from a variety of sources. In some cases, a family member wants to contribute money toward a buyer’s future to help them get established. Often, parents or grandparents are gifting the money in lieu of (or in advance of) an inheritance. Many buyers also receive gift contributions by asking for cash in place of gifts for a wedding, baby shower, or holidays and birthdays.

When you’re serious about buying a home but need help to save up a down payment, consider having a conversation with your family to determine whether they have the capacity and willingness to help you. Another source of cash gifts may be your employer. Certain companies have programs where they’ll make a small contribution toward the purchase of a home after employees have been on staff for a certain period of time.

Are Gifts Taxable?

Typically, any gifts that you receive may be subject to taxation. Before accepting a gift, it’s best to talk to your financial advisor, tax preparer, or real estate lawyer to better understand whether it’s the right move for you. If the funds are taxable, it is important to set aside the amount needed to pay those taxes or have a plan to save that money over the course of the year ahead.

Are you a first time homebuyer in Las Vegas that needs advice on financing? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to arrange for a personalized consultation, and to discuss how a gift could help accelerate your down payment.

What’s an Interest Only Mortgage?

If you’re buying a home, you may not have considered an interest only mortgage. But in certain circumstances, it can be the right choice for financing a real estate transaction. An interest only mortgage is a financing arrangement that allows buyers a specific period of time – often between five and seven years – where they’re able to make reduced payments on their mortgage by paying only interest. During that time, the mortgage principal remains the same. Once the interest only period is over, buyers need to begin paying full mortgage payments, make a balloon payment, or refinance. Here’s a closer look at what to evaluate when you’re considering interest only financing.

Interest Only MortgageWhy would you consider an interest only mortgage?

Interest based mortgages allow buyers to opt for a lower payment in the first several years of homeownership. Often, buyers who are going to sell a home within a short period of time will choose this option to minimize the cash they’re spending. It’s also a popular choice with buyers who would benefit from a lower payment in the short-term, but know that they can handle a higher payment within a specific period of time. One scenario that comes to mind is a professional, such as a doctor, who is graduating from school and will soon join the workforce. In other cases, buyers choose to take an interest based loan because they’re able to command a higher return by investing funds elsewhere.

Advantage of an interest only loan

The biggest advantage of an interest only loan is a lower payment during a certain period of time. Lower initial payments can help buyers afford more expensive homes. During the interest-only period, the entire mortgage may be tax deductible depending on the buyers’ individual situation. If money is being directed elsewhere such as profitable investments, the buyers’ net worth could be growing as well. It’s also possible to pre-pay on the principal during this period, which can reduce mortgage payments or the pending balance over time.

Points to consider before going this route

While this can be a great financing model for the right buyer, there are reservations and aspects to consider. One of the most important is unanticipated changes to income, a failure to realize income goals, or a home that doesn’t appreciate as expected. Market changes can leave buyers unprepared to deal with payments, which can often double once the interest only period elapses. Buyers may experience payment shock, and have failed to invest according to plan which can leave them scrambling to sell or refinance. If a mortgage is an adjustable rate mortgage, interest only payments can fluctuate which makes it harder to capture the benefits of lower payments. It’s also important to note if there’s a prepayment penalty on the mortgage that you’re considering.

Are you a buyer in the Las Vegas area who is considering buying a home? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to discuss your options, including interest only mortgages.

5 Things That Hurt Your Chances of Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage can be a big step for homeowners. It may allow you to lower your interest rate, cash out equity to pay off other debts, or become mortgage-free faster. But it’s important to remember that just because you have a mortgage, doesn’t mean you’ll automatically qualify for a refinance. Both the lending industry and your financial picture may have changed drastically since you last applied. Here are five issues to be aware of that can impact your chances of successfully refinancing your mortgage.

Mortgage RefinancingMissed mortgage payments

Once of the first things a lender is going to look at is your previous mortgage payment history. If, even in the face of other credit troubles, you’ve always made your mortgage payments on-time it signals that you take this as a serious commitment. Evaluate your mortgage records and make sure that all your payments have been made on-time. If not, prioritize this in the months before a refinance and be prepared to address the lapse in your credit application.
Credit problems

While your mortgage performance will carry special weight in a refinancing application, it’s also important to look at your overall credit score. Do you have late payments, missed payments, accounts in collections, or high levels of credit card debt? Just because you have a troubled credit history doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for a refinance. But it’s important to evaluate whether you’ll qualify for terms that are as good as your current mortgage. Credit problems could lead to a higher rate that minimizes the benefits of refinancing.

A previous refinance

Banks often have internal guidelines on how often they’ll refinance a mortgage. In some cases, the limits run between six months and two years. If you’ve recently refinanced to capture the benefits of lower interest rates, for example, it’s important to remember that you may need to let some time elapse before you’re able to refinance again.

Change of residence

Let’s say that you bought a starter home and at some point you outgrew it or decided to upgrade. Rather than sell the property, you held onto it as an investment and rented it out. Refinancing a property where you no longer reside may prove to be more challenging. Banks see lending on investment properties as more risky than a primary residence; after all, foreclosure doesn’t mean that you’d be losing the roof over your head. Expect to face more stringent credit and income level demands when refinancing an investment property.

Carrying a second mortgage

If you’re carrying a second mortgage on your home, that may complicate your refinancing application for two reasons. When you’re refinancing to consolidate two loans, a bank may consider that a “cash out,” even if you’re not actually receiving money. The second instance has to do with loan priority. Should you default, the oldest loan usually gets priority in repayment from auctioning off the property. But if you’re refinancing your main mortgage, the bank is unlikely going to be willing to take priority behind a smaller loan. Success depends on the mortgage companies working out an agreement.

Are you a homeowner in Las Vegas who is considering refinancing your mortgage? Contact Sydnee Johnson today to discuss your options. Experienced lenders can help you navigate even the most complicated situations.

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