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Ask our Mortgage Expert

Expert MortgageWe recently sat down with Kevin, one of our mortgage loan officers, to answer member questions regarding mortgages on Facebook Live.

In case you missed it, here are some of the questions members asked.  

Does Rivermark offer FHA or VA loans to purchase a home? - Seth

We do not currently, but we do have some great conforming products that could compare. If you're considering an FHA loan definitely give us a call and let us find one that's right for you. 

I'm very interested in purchasing a home. Are there any hidden costs that I should be aware of? - Janet

There should not ever be any hidden costs in a mortgage loan. The estimate you receive from your loan officer should list all fees associated with the loan. 

How do I know if I can afford a home? What do I need to purchase a home? - Emily

The best way to know if you can afford a home is to sit down with a mortgage professional and let them see what buying power you have. 

What is the first step in getting a mortgage? - Neisha

The first step would be to get in contact with us. Fill out an online application or make an appointment to sit down with a mortgage professional. 

What sets Rivermark apart from other lenders when it comes to applying for a mortgage? - Joel

Rivermark is located in the Portland metro area. Because we are a local lender and servicer, decisions are made right here in Beaverton. We don't send applications to a processing center in another state and you get someone local to help you with your questions. 

What is the base income needed to purchase a home? - Hanna 

This depends on how much house you want to buy and the cost of the house. Generally, the smaller the house, the lower the price. We look at your debt to income ratio when making lending decisions. 

What's the best way to keep track of local mortgage rates? - John

The best way is to check out Under the mortgage tab, you can get your personalized rate quote everyday if you'd like. We keep those live and active according to the market. 

I'm looking to refinance, but I have some home projects I'm working on. How would existing projects affect an appraisal? - Brandon

They can affect it quite a bit, depending on what the projects are. If an appraiser determines the project affects the safety or sell-ability on the house, they would provide us with an appraisal that says "subject to the completion of this work". It's really up to the appraiser. 

Does Rivermark do loans on investment properties? - Bryan

Yes. Their rates may be a little different from traditional home loans. For the best information on that, please call 800.452.8502, ext. 497 or make an appointment. 

What options do I have as a first time home buyer? - Neisha

There are some good benefits for first time home buyers. One is our First Time Home Buyer program. We also have programs specifically for home buyers, such as the Fannie Mae Home Ready program.

What should interest rates be to justify a refinance? - Dan

There's a couple things to consider with a refinance.  Sometimes you'll want to consider term over rate. Cutting a 30-year to a 15-year term drastically puts a lot more money each month into the principle. If you're looking to complete a project, and need to take out a home equity loan, the interest rate may be less of a consideration.  If you're considering switching from one term to the same term, a good rule of thumb is to stick with as close to a point difference as possible. 

What states does Rivermark lend in besides Oregon? - Joel

Besides Oregon, we do lend to our members and those eligible for membership who live in Washington or Idaho. 

If I already own a home, am I eligible for an additional home loan? - Tina

As long as we can approve you for both loans, then that shouldn't be a problem.

What can I expect to put down for a down payment? - Neisha

As mentioned, if you're a first time home buyer, we have a great First Time Home Buyer's program. With that program, for a $300,000 home, you're looking at about a $9,000 down payment, plus some other closing costs. Any more you put down will increase your equity and your strength in the loan, and may even qualify you for some lower rates. 

What are some factors to consider when deciding whether it's been to rent or buy a home? - Julian

It really depends on how long you plan on staying in home. Because of costs such as moving and buying appliances, if you plan on staying at least 5 years, then buying would likely be a better choice. For a shorter period of time, you may consider renting. Some people like the idea of paying rent, and being able to call a handyman to fix things. But some may find the tax benefits of owning a home more appealing than the convenience of renting. It's all about personal preference. 

How do you deal with self-employed workers? Income can be variable? - David

We would look at your income differently than we would a traditional employee. As no self-employed workers are the same, the factors we look at will vary from person to person. 


Thank you to all of our members who submitted questions! We hope you found this informative session helpful. 

If you have further questions please contact our mortgage department at 800.452.8502, ext. 497 or make an appointment with one of our mortgage specialists.