Credit Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

If you are thinking about purchasing a home for the first time, you may not know that your credit will be one of the key factors in determining whether you are approved for a mortgage and your mortgage interest rate. Your credit score is calculated using five major factors:

  • Payment history – Creditors will look at any utility bills and payments on outstanding loans or credit cards.
  • Amount owed – This is the amount of credit card or loan debt that is outstanding.
  • Length of credit history – This is determined by how long you have held credit on loans or credit cards.
  • New credit – Creditors will make note if you have opened new credit cards or taken out any loans recently.
  • Types of credit used – This is seen as your different kinds of credit, such as credit cards, auto loans or student loans.

Before you begin the home buying process, request a free copy of your credit report and check for errors, which can have a negative effect on your score. If you see any errors, be sure to dispute them. Additionally, try to begin paying off outstanding debts, since those also affect your credit score.

Once you have applied for a mortgage, avoid opening new credit accounts such as credit cards or auto loans until your home has closed. You will also want to keep the balance low on any current credit cards.

I would love to meet with you and have a conversation about your financial goals and your future home purchase.


Keys to Scoring a Mortgage

Getting a pre-approval letter will get you ahead of the game, and keeping your credit quiet will help you to the finish line! Here are some other pointers in the “winning the game” of closing on a home with a mortgage!


We know that buying a home can be intimidating with so many steps. With a solid team consisting of a real estate professional and a mortgage professional, WE will get you to the finish line. If you have any questions about the process, or if you’re ready to begin the pre-approval process, give US a call!

Rachel Slovacek

NMLS #140681

Weekly Mortgage Update

Has the housing market finally run out of steam?

 Buyers found the lack of available homes too much in April with all major regions failing to show any activity gains.

 The Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors was down 1.3% to a reading of 106.4, following two monthly increases including an upwardly revised 107.8 reading in March.

The index has fallen year-over-year for four straight months and was down 2.1% in April compared to a year earlier.

The dip in pending home sales meant the third-lowest level in the past year.

 “Pending sales slipped in April and continued to stay within the same narrow range with little signs of breaking out,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun

The PHSI in the Northeast remained at 90.6, 2.1% below a year ago. In the Midwest it was down 3.2% to 98.5, 5.1% lower than April 2017. In the South it declined 1.05 to 127.3, 2.7% higher than last April. In the West it slipped 0.4% to 94.4, 4.6% below a year ago.

 Mortgage rates, gas prices may dampen demand.

Yun added that the underlying sales data and feedback from Realtors show that buyers demand remains strong and the competitive market means listings are typically going under contract in under a month with increasing incidences of multiple offers.

However, rising mortgage rates and higher gas prices could dampen that demand if the trend continues while supply remains desperately restrained.

 “The combination of paying extra at the pump, while also needing to save more for a down payment because of higher rates and home prices, may weigh on the psyche of those looking to buy,” he said.

 Yun’s forecast for existing home sales for the whole of 2018 is 5.54 million, up 0.5% from last year. Median prices are expected to rise 5.1%.

Ted Clay,
Sr. Loan Officer/Sr. Loan Consultant 

Office: 405.341.8644 ext.102
e-Fax: 866.208.5309
NMLSR# 217991
OK License# MLO01963


Before You Buy A Home, Check Out These 10 Tips by Gateway Mortgage

Our friends Tom Rosser and Kaitlin Dion at Gateway Mortgage Group have some tricks up their sleeve that are helpful to everyone involved in the home buying process. Read these tips before you think about buying a home:

1. Save for a down payment:  20% down is ideal, but it is not required.  However, the greater the down payment on a Conventional loan, the lower the interest rate and monthly PMI you will pay. We also work with multiple down payment assistance programs.

2. Watch your credit profile: Unfortunately, credit repair does not happen overnight. If you have any late payments, collections, or any accounts in dispute that need to be resolved, the sooner you handle these, the better. This will help make your pre-approval and loan process as smooth as possible.

3. Ask for a pre-approval letter:  Know what you are qualified for and what monthly payment youare comfortable with before you start home shopping. We can help you go through a quick loan application and provide a pre-qualification letter in minutes so you can start looking for your dream home!

4. Know your loan options:  There are several different loan options, all with different guidelines, requirements and benefits.  It’s best to set up a meeting with your lender to discuss your unique situation and see what loan option best fits your needs at the beginning of the process.

5. Review your budget:  Your monthly mortgage payment is just one of the new fees you will be taking on as a homeowner.  Be sure to ask your lender about property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and any other monthly fees included in your payment to budget for.

6. Meet with a realtor:  We can’t stress this enough! Working with a local expert, who will take care of the contract, negotiations, and any other paperwork for you is a must, and makes the process so much smoother as a home buyer.

7. Don’t forget about closing costs: When budgeting to buy a home, don’t forget to include closing costs in addition to the down payment.  It is also an option to ask for the seller to pay a portion or all of your closing costs when negotiating – call your lender to get closing cost estimates before starting your home search.

8. Work on your savings: The mortgage loan process can seem never-ending when it comes to documentation.  Be sure that you have your savings in place prior to application, as any large deposits will be questioned.  If you keep your savings in a coffee can in your closet, be sure to deposit it a few months prior, so it is considered “seasoned savings”.

9. No major changes: No new debts, credit inquiries, job changes, etc. will make for a smoother process for you, and less documentation.

10. Gather and save your personal documents:  When you apply for a mortgage, it is best to have the following handy (at minimum):  Recent bank statements, pay stubs, W2s, and tax returns.  And it helps to promptly respond to your lenders needs in order to avoid any delays or rushes when it comes to closing.  Their job is to help make the process as smooth as possible for you, with your help, of course!

About Gateway Mortgage Group: Founded in February 2000, and headquartered in Tulsa, Gateway Mortgage Group has become one of the largest privately held mortgage companies in the country.  In July 2010, Gateway Mortgage Group decided to move all mortgage servicing in-house and we now service more than $10 billion in residential mortgages. In short this simply means mortgage loan customers will work with Gateway until the time their loan is paid off.  One of our greatest responsibilities is to not only empower the American Dream of home ownership but to also make a positive impact on local communities and those less fortunate.  Click here to apply, or call us at 405.751.3800 with any questions, or for a quick pre-approval!

Gateway Mortgage Group has been recognized as:

The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2014 by Inc. 5000

Top 100 Financial Services Companies: 2013, 2014 by Inc. 5000

Top Work Places: 2013, 2014 by The Oklahoman


Tom Rosser

Gateway Mortgage Group

Branch Manager

NMLS# 273804

1973 W 33rd St #110

Edmond, OK 73013

405-751-3800 (Office) / 405-445-7728 (Efax)


What’s Happening In the Edmond/OKC Metro Mid-April?


There is so much to do in April around the Metro! We’ve put together some fun events going on during the second part of the month that we hope is helpful to you and your family!


April 15-18: Oklahoma City Dodgers vs. Nashville Sounds at 7:05pm. The Dodgers home games are held at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.


April 15: Oklahoma City Literary Festival. Located at the Downtown Oklahoma City Literary Festival. At this family-friendly and free event enjoy a variety of talks, readings, performances, workshops, master classes and even a book fair. Authors and artists will be leading workshops and readings on a broad spectrum of literature topics including poetry, fiction and storytelling. All events at OKC LitFest are free and open to the public, but workshop seating is limited, so signing up in advance is encouraged.

April 19-22: Oklahoma City Dodgers vs. Memphis Redbirds at 7:05pm. The Dodgers home games are held at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.


April 16: Heard on Hurd. Live music, food trucks and shopping in downtown Edmond from 6-9pm every third Saturday of the month. Come out and join the fun! Check out their facebook page for more info.


April 19: OU Sooners vs. OSU Cowboys baseball game is being held at the Sooners home field, Mitchell Park, in Norman at 6pm. Don’t miss this exciting game!

April 19-24: Festival of the Arts is held at Bicentennial Park with free admission. Come check out work of art by over 140 different artists and enjoy a variety of cultural foods including Indian tacos, Brazilian food and Mexican cuisine. Doors open at 11am and close at 9pm.

April 21-23: Norman Music Festival is held annually, featuring over 100 bands on multiple stages. This festival celebrates everything from euphoric indie pop to classic folk rock. Admission is free and open to the public and will take place on the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of historic Downtown E. Main Street.

April 23: Hot Rod Cookout & Concert is hosted by Street Kings Motor Club and held in Guthrie for all car and motorcycle enthusiasts! Free hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and sodas will be available to the first 500 guest who enter! Free admission. Located at 4514 S Division.


April 24: Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon annually honors the memory of live lost by each person in the Oklahoma City bombing and celebrates new life and the freedom that each person deserves. The race starts at 6:30 and you must register to be in the marathon if you are interested. For more details, click here here.

April 30: Pop Up Shops in the Park is held in Edmond at Hafer Park where over 100 vendors will be present for you to shop through local gifts and crafts, grub at food trucks and enjoy local music! There will be inflatables for kids, an arcade bus and a petting zoo. Starts at 9am until 4pm.

We hope this list of events was helpful and you found something exciting to do before April ends! What are some fun things you’ve already done this month?

Weekly Mortgage Update

Oil has been trading in the 30’s for quite some time and even dipped into the 20’s last week.  This will most certainly lead to a slow down in the upper end of the real estate market.  That makes this a good time to think about purchasing your FIRST home. Homes with lower asking prices are still moving according to The RED Team!

We’ve all been reading and hearing about Millennials and starting this year they make up the largest percentage of the US workforce.

laborThere has been some talk about this group’s reluctance to purchase homes.   According to Fannie Mae that doesn’t appear to be the case:


The top line represents the % of 25-39 year olds who want to buy and the bottom line represents the % who will likely always rent.  As you can see, Home Ownership is still firmly implanted as a goal among Millennials!!




Interest Rates







Last Week 4.00 Dow Industrials 16,002 Oil (WTI) 30.71
Today 3.99 Devon 23.98 Natural Gas 2.09
FHA Today 3.75 Chesapeake     3.18 Gold 1,107

Weekly Mortgage Update: Property Flipping

Today’s Topic: Property Flipping

This only applies to buyers using the FHA loan. 

Here is the current rule:

If a property is re-sold 90 days or fewer following the date of acquisition by the seller, the property is not eligible for an FHA insured mortgage. (Note: resale date is the date of the contract.  So you can write or have a contract written on day 91.) 

  • There are some exceptions to this including:

§  Properties acquired by government entities.

§  Properties acquired by an employer or relocation agency.

§  Inheritance.

§  Sales by financial institutions.

Two appraisals are required when:

  • The property is re-sold between 91 and 180 days following the acquisition by the seller
  • The resale price is 100% or more over the price paid by the seller

FHA reserves the right to require additional documentation from the lender to support the resale value if:

  • The resale date is between 90 days and one year and the resale price is 5% or greater than the lowest price of the property in the previous 12 months
  • This is a post closing deal that you would never see but it does motivate underwriters to look for flips that don’t make sense. 
 Markets InterestRates  Equities     Commodities  
Last Week 3.875 Dow Industrials 17,627 Oil (WTI) 44.18
Today 3.875 Devon 43.73 Natural Gas 2.11
FHA Today 3.625 Chesapeake     7.27 Gold 1,166


Taylor Ortiz
Sr. Loan Officer
2575 Kelley Pointe Parkway, Suite 180
Edmond, OK 73013
NMLS ID 449866Direct:  405-421-0404Mobile:  405-509-1064

Fax:  405-562-4272


Weekly Mortgage Update

Today’s Topic: Escrow Account

  As we move into the middle of the year escrow account set up amounts are starting to rise. This is because taxes are due in December.  The account has to have the funds to make that payment.  A July closing with a September 1st payment escrow account on a typical $200,000 purchase will require a $1,700 opening balance.  With an existing home the buyer will receive a tax credit of around $1,300 for the seller’s portion of this year’s taxes leaving the buyer responsible for the difference.

  The challenge comes with new construction.  The lot value only tax credit from the builder will be very low making the buyer responsible for almost all of the $1,700.  An August closing moves that number to $2,050 and a September closing moves it to $2,400.  Add another full year of insurance and daily interest and you have over $5,000 in escrow costs.

  Sometimes the buyer needs that money for down payment or other closing costs or a down payment threshold (10% vs 5%) or one time PMI.  My general rule on new construction is to escrow for the full value unless that money is critical for some other purpose.  I then spend a lot of time explaining and documenting how starting the escrow account based on lot value taxes works.  I even tell them to set a calendar reminder for January to adjust their mortgage payment. We also include documents in their closing packet. 

In other news – rates are creeping up.  


 Markets InterestRates  Equities     Commodities  
Last Week 3.990 Dow Industrials 17,849 Oil (WTI) 59.13
Today 4.125 Devon 63.80 Natural Gas 2.59
FHA Today 4.000 Chesapeake 13.15 Gold 1,171

 Escrow Account TO

Taylor OrtizFairway Mortgage
Sr. Loan Officer2575 Kelley Pointe Parkway, Suite 180Edmond, OK 73013
NMLS ID 449866

Direct:  405-421-0404

Mobile:  405-509-1064

Fax:  405-562-4272

Weekly Mortgage Memo: Funds for Closing

Funds for Closing

As a part of every loan we have to verify the borrower has the funds for closing.  Very often the borrower’s plans and the lenders requirements don’t match.  The sooner buyers know the lender requirements the better. It could save some processing headaches or a denied loan. Here then are some things to keep in mind when consulting your buyers.

  • Lenders now ask for 60 days or two bank statements.  Any non-payroll deposits will need to be documented.  It is amazing how many people wait until the last minute to deposit cash, gift $, etc.
  • Government loans allow the down payment to be a gift from a family member, employer or the government like DPA programs.
  • Conventional Same as Government.  Borrower can receive a gift from a family member with zero minimum requirement.
  • Business assets can be a challenge. Most underwriters ask for a CPA letter that says a withdrawal from the business account won’t harm the business.  CPA’s stopped giving those and now it’s a struggle.
  • Stocks and bonds.  We have to paper trail the conversion/sale to a cash account including copies of the bonds.
  • Borrowers can borrow from an asset for the funds for closing.  If the loan isn’t on the credit report we would have to add the payment into their ratios:

o   Auto

o   Motorcycle

o   Land / Home

o   Cattle J (it is Oklahoma after all!)

o   401k / IRA (Traditional IRA lets you take a distribution for a first time home buyer without penalty.  Taxes, of course, would


  • Borrowers can sell an asset.  This is tough to paper trail.  We have to determine the value of the asset and document the sale.
  • Unacceptable sources of funds for down payment include cash, unsecured loans (no asset involved – ie Credit Card).
  • Lease to purchase equity.  Also difficult to document.  Money paid to the owner/lessor that is in excess of the market rent can then be counted as funds into a mortgage transaction and used for down payment.  An appraisal to determine the market rent would have to be ordered.










Last Week 3.875 Dow Industrials 18,272 Oil (WTI) 59.69
Today 3.990 Devon 65.86 Natural Gas 3.02
FHA Today 3.725 Chesapeake 15.00 Gold 1,225

Taylor Ortiz
Sr. Loan Officer
Fairway Mortgage

2575 Kelley Pointe Parkway, Suite 180
Edmond, OK 73013
NMLS ID 449866

Direct:  405-421-0404

Mobile:  405-509-1064

Fax:  405-562-4272