Category Archive: Brevard County home buyer

Great Rates Available for Jumbo Mortgages

In the not-too-distant past, jumbo mortgages were almost impossible to find. After the financial crisis of 2008, many lenders shied away from any mortgage loans that weren’t backed by the government, like FHA or VA mortgage loans. And Brevard County jumbo mortgage loans aren’t backed by the government.

Jumbo mortgage loans are loans that exceed the “conforming limit” – which is the maximum loan amount that the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will buy. In most housing markets, that limit is $417,000. So, any mortgage bigger than that is a jumbo. Some expensive housing markets have higher conforming limits. In Florida, for example, Collier County’s limit is $448,500, and Monroe County is $529,000.

Jumbos are Back

Jumbo mortgages are much easier to find now, but there are more requirements than before. While some lenders may be flexible, you will probably be required to:

  • make a down payment of at least 10 percent.
  • thoroughly document your income.
  • have a credit score of 720 or higher.
  • make sure your new monthly mortgage payment is no more than 43 percent of your income before taxes.

Don’t forget to ask for both fixed rate options as well as adjustable, each has its own advantages.

Shop Around

Since jumbo loans are too big for government agencies, they’re handled by private lenders. That means each lender sets their own rates and establishes their own requirements. Conforming loans, on the other hand, often have the same rates and similar closing costs from lender to lender. Jumbo lenders also often have different requirements for the type of home (such as house or condominium), whether or not it’s your primary dwelling, whether or not it’s investment property, and so on. So it’s important to shop around to get the best mortgage that meets your individual needs.

Know Your Options

At Embrace Home Loans, we understand Brevard County jumbo mortgages, and we’ll work with you to get you the mortgage you need. With today’s low interest rate environment, jumbo loans are available at extremely attractive rates. To find out more about how a jumbo mortgage can benefit you, call us at 407-733-6425.

Brevard County Residents Can Benefit from Home Ownership Program

Buying a home can be easier than ever before for some first-time home buyers in Brevard County. The Brevard County Housing Finance Authority (HFA) currently offers a Home Ownership Program that will allow qualified buyers to finance both a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage along with up to $10,000 for a down payment and/or closing costs.

Help with your down payment and closing costs

Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest hurdles for home ownership, and this program is designed to help buyers with overcoming that burden. The $10,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance is issued as a 0 percent second mortgage. In addition, the first mortgage and note are exempt from documentary stamps and intangible taxes, making closing costs even less expensive.

But the program offers even more savings in the form of a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). The HFA issues the MCC to qualified borrowers, which gives them the ability to deduct 50 percent of their annual mortgage interest up to $2,000 as a tax credit, while the other 50 percent remains a deduction. The MCC is valid as long as the buyer owns the home and the first mortgage is outstanding. Both tax credits and deductions reduce your tax bill, but tax deductions change based on income. Tax credits, however, always reduce your tax liability in the same amount.

Good anywhere in Brevard County

The program will allow buyers to purchase new or existing single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes or planned unit developments anywhere in Brevard County, Florida. To qualify for the program, you must:

  • Be a first-time home buyer (no ownership of a primary residence for at least three years) or a qualified military veteran.
  • Meet standard credit requirements.
  • Earn no more than $64,985 annually (one to two person households) or $74,733 (three or more person households).
  • Purchase a home that costs no more than $265,158.

For certain target areas within Brevard County, the income limits and home purchase price are even higher. Within the target area, income limits are raised to $73,800 (one to two person households) and $86,100 (three or more person households). The purchase price limit in target areas is $324,082.

Get started now

Only a limited number of qualified lenders participate in the Home Ownership Program, and Embrace Home Loans is one them. If you meet the qualifications for the program, contact us today at 800-333-3004, extension 3560 or visit our website at for more information about loan options available for you. Our Brevard County Mortgage Specialists will work with you to help you take advantage of this popular program, and get you into your new home.

Trends in Mortgages for This Fall

When temperatures start to drop and leaves begin to fall, people start wearing different fashions, and adopting new trends and styles. As it turns out, there are also trends in the mortgage industry. For fall 2014, some of the biggest trends for both experienced and first time home buyers include:

Home Buyers are dressing down. Affordability is becoming much more important to new home buyers. According to RealtyTrac, a provider of housing data, millennials (people who reached adulthood around the year 2000), are flocking to affordable housing markets in the Southeast (including Florida) and the Midwest. Improving job markets in these areas is helping to fuel this trend.

Buyers are adopting a conservative image. The affordability trend goes hand in hand with a much more conservative outlook from new home buyers. The financial crisis we just weathered has made many first time home buyers wary. More than a third (36%) of millennials surveyed by the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey said that home ownership was a “risky investment.” These buyers are sticking to their budgets and shopping for bargains.

A relaxed look for credit standards. According to Ellie Mae, a leading provider of software for the mortgage industry, the average credit score for loans that closed in September 2014 was 726, down from 727 in August and well below 2013’s average of 738. For FHA loans, the average score is 682, down from 2013’s average score of 695. That’s good news for potential borrowers.

Rates, like hemlines, may be rising. An economist named George Taylor created a theory in 1926 that hemlines rise along with stock prices, and drop when the market falls. While that theory remains unproven (though a strong correlation does exist), a strong economy generally leads to higher mortgage rates, and the US economy is improving. The Mortgage Bankers Association expects lending rates to climb through the end of this year and into 2015, so now may be the optimum time to buy a home. Similarly, a strengthening economy may encourage more buyers to take the plunge.

Trying on a New Home Mortgage? We Can Help

Just like clothes, mortgages in Florida come in all shapes and sizes. When you’re trying to decide what mortgage fits you best, acquire another opinion from an expert. If you are in need of a trusted mortgage expert, contact me, Stephen Thaggard, at 407-733-6425. I am readily available to help experienced and first time home buyers navigate these fall mortgage trends and make decisions that suit your best interests.


Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,, 485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751


Florida mortgage and private mortgage insurance options

With the current mortgage insurance longevity associated with a FL FHA loan (FHA requires mortgage insurance for the life of the loan when putting the lowest allowed down payment and seeking a 30 year fixed rate mortgage), and many home buyers are requesting better options.  Now that more and more FL home buyers are seeking conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed mortgages, I want to share the available private mortgage insurance, or PMI, opportunities.

Private mortgage insurance is required when a buyer is putting less than 20% towards down payment on their new home purchase.  And the less towards down payment, the higher the monthly PMI requirement and overall mortgage payment.  Mortgage insurance is generally calculated based on down payment and credit scores.  A 5% down payment will have a higher monthly PMI payment than say a 10% or 15% down payment.

The best part, no matter how much you are using for down payment, is that there are several ways to pay the mortgage insurance.  You can simply pay monthly (everyone knows that).  You can also elect to pay part upfront at closing.  This will reduce the monthly amount.  For example, you can pay 1% or more of the loan amount at closing to reduce your monthly payment.  In fact, you could choose to pay the PMI upfront all at once.  This option removes the monthly payment entirely which reduces your mortgage payment and may help in qualifying for your FL mortgage.  In fact, we closed on a new construction home loan with Viera Builders last month, and the buyers chose to pay their PMI upfront.  This saved them over $230 monthly and kept their qualifying debt ratios from exceeding guideline requirements.

The bottom line is making sure you are speaking with an experienced Loan Officer and one who will share more options to help you or your buyers make the best decision with their new home purchase.  If you or someone you know is buying their first or next home, and needs sound FL mortgage solutions with options and answers, please have them contact me at 800-333-3004 ext. 3560.  Thanks

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  5500 Murrell Road Suite 201, Viera, FL 32940

Brevard County mortgage communication, service and experience

Realtors working with our local Brevard County mortgage team have an advantage which puts them and their home buyers in a better position with respect to the home financing position.  Our Brevard County mortgage team excels at 3 basics requirements of any financing team; Communication, Service, and Experience.

Communication – This is a touchy subject when talking to many Brevard County Realtors and Builders who are usually left in the dark with progress of their very important buyer.  Embrace Home loans offers immediate online updates for buyers, and followed up correspondence to all parties involved in the transaction, all the way to the closing day.  We also provide upfront estimates, review scenarios to predetermine if your buyer is approvable.  In fact, ask us about our “Approved To Move” program , where we can provide an actual underwriting Loan Commitment, prior to starting construction or writing a contract!  You’ll be informed every step of the way.

Service – We believe service comes down to teamwork.  We are 2 local loan officers who live and work in Brevard County, Stephen and Karen Thaggard, and have our own loan office assistant, Ryan; who is backed up with 4 processors here in Florida who are led by Paul, our own Processing Team Leader.  We underwrite our own loans, and can ask upfront for any special considerations on questionable mortgage loans, through our underwriting support team.  Service at Embrace Home Loans is unsurpassed.

Experience – Their are 2 types of Brevard County or FL mortgage professionals; those with experience and the others.  Karen and I bring 19 years of FL mortgage experience; and our processing team has even more; and Embrace Home Loans has been providing mortgage loans for 31 years and counting!  Staying informed with current mortgage programs and sharing FL mortgage loan options ensures your buyer has the best of opportunities to purchase their first or next Brevard County home.

If you have a question regarding Brevard County home mortgage financing, please contact us at 407.733.6425 (Stephen) or 321.987.9876 (Karen).  We would love the opportunity to assist and share how we can help your team close more homes.

Buyers save more with our Florida Jumbo mortgage loan options

Today’s FL mortgage markets have many new home buyers seeking mortgage loans that are well above the $417,000 conventional loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  From home buyers wanting to construct their dream home with a new home Builder, or others who simply want options for their next FL Jumbo mortgage; we have many options to choose from and the 2 most popular  depend on whether the buyer is a FL Veteran looking to purchase with our FL VA Jumbo loan.  Consider this.

Many FL jumbo mortgage loan programs require a 20%, or more, down payment.  I am sure those seeking a FL Jumbo mortgage loan can afford that down payment requirement, but what if there was a better way?  A way where you or your buyer could keep more of their hard earned money and still purchase the home of their dreams.  Well there is, and it begins with either our FL VA Jumbo Loan or our FL Jumbo Program.

  • Our VA Jumbo Loan allows a qualified Veteran to borrow more than $417,000!  In fact, regardless of which County your Veteran is building or purchasing their home, VA allows qualified Veterans to put as little as 25% of the difference between $417,000 and the purchase price.  The rest can be financed at a low FL VA fixed rate mortgage.  And remember, there is never a monthly mortgage insurance with a  Florida VA home loan.  Veterans can have an advantage with FL Jumbo loans.
  • One of our many FL Jumbo mortgage loans allows a home buyer the opportunity to purchase their dream home with as little as 10% in down payment.  The interest rate is very competitive and there is no private mortgage insurance requirement; even with only 10% down payment!

If you are purchasing your dream home, have a home builder in Brevard County or anywhere else in Florida, please make sure you call or email Stephen Thaggard and get his perspective.  He will provide an upfront estimate as well as immediate  prequalification or pre-approval letters.  You can reach him almost anytime via email or by calling or texting 407.733.6425 or toll-free at 800.333.3004 ext. 3560.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309, Sr. Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,,

5500 Murrell Road Suite 201, Viera, FL 32940


Clear To Close FL Mortgages in 7 days

I am proud to be a part of the best mortgage company in America, Embrace Home Loans.  For over 30 years this company has consistently out serviced and outperformed the competition and now has launched a new program called Quick Close 7.  That is, your buyer can have a clear-to-close commitment just seven days after receiving an uploaded complete FL mortgage loan application.  Sound crazy?  Here’s an example from my last FL mortgage closing, yesterday.

Although we prefer the speed and ease of electronic signatures, our particular Florida home buyer was not computer savvy.  My wife, Karen and I visited our home buyer in Indian River County on Saturday February 1st.  We gathered all supporting documentation as well as the initial signed application disclosures.  We later February 3rd, turned in a complete mortgage file and had already ordered the appraisal, survey and title work.  On February 5th, we received our underwriting conditional commitment and cleared the minor conditions the following day.  We closed on Valentine’s Day, February 14th on time as scheduled!

It’s an awesome reassuring feeling of confidence knowing, when we have FL Realtors or FL Builders with homebuyers that need quick underwriting approvals cleared of conditions, that Embrace Home Loans not only provides that opportunity but, in our example, can close a FL mortgage loan within 10 business days!

If you or someone you know needs our kind of service with quick approvals or to simply answer any mortgage related questions, please contact us at 800.333.3004 ext. 3560, ask for Stephen Thaggard.  Or feel free to text or call directly on his mobile phone at 407.733.6425 to “get his perspective“.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,,

5500 Murrell Road Suite 201, Viera, FL 32940

Florida First Time Home Buyer down payment options

FL first time home buyers typically seek low fixed rate mortgage loans that require little to no down payment.  Some home buyers haven’t been able to accumulate enough in savings or cannot obtain a gift from a family member to meet the usual 3.5% to 5% down payment requirements.  Others want to explore their options with FL mortgage loan programs that allow them to keep more of their earned savings for other future uses.  Whichever is the case, first time home buyers should consider and ask about some of the following mortgage loan details when speaking with a FL mortgage professional.  Buying your first home may be easier than you thought.

  • VA Home Loan – The first question I ask any first time buyer is whether they are a US Veteran.  If eligible, a fixed rate FL VA home loan provides no down payment, no monthly mortgage insurance, and Sellers can contribute up to 4% of the contract price towards the Veterans closing costs.  
  •  FHA Mortgage Loan – If buyers are not Veterans then the next step is prequalifying for a FL FHA loan.  This allows a low down payment of 3.5% and Sellers can contribute up to 6% of the contract price to cover closing costs and escrows for the first time buyer. 
  •  FL Housing Finance Corp – Whether seeking a VA home loan or an FHA loan as mentioned above, or even a conventional mortgage, many qualified first time buyers can take advantage the FL State Bond down payment and closing costs assistance of up to $10,000.  Check your local FL County program too as it may include up to $2,000 federal tax credit per year.  If you are in Brevard County for example, then ask about qualifying for the Brevard HFA loan program with your Brevard County mortgage professional
  • FL USDA Loan – Also called Rural Housing loan, this program can allow buyers to finance the closing costs and escrows.  Sellers can still contribute up to 6% of the contract to buyers’ costs and escrows, and there is no monthly private mortgage insurance.  Qualified buyers and eligible FL homes are only a phone call away.

    If you or someone you know is looking to purchase their first home here in Florida and neeeds the best in sound mortgage options or solutions; ask them to call us today at 800.333.3004 X3560.  Ask for me, Stephen Thaggard or email me directly.  You’ll be surprised at the options available.

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751

Did you know FL Veterans can purchase well above $417,000?

A friend recently asked me as an experienced FL mortgage professional of 18 years, what was my favorite loan program.  It has to be a VA home loan or VA Jumbo loan – of course.  There are so many advantages for qualified Veterans here in Florida whether purchasing a home under $417,000 or even higher.

FL VA home loans are limited to county limits, same as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  For example, if you are a qualified Veteran seeking to purchase your dream home here in Brevard County, you could purchase a home up to $417,000; assuming you have enough VA Entitlement of course.  And the advantages are as follows:

  • No down payment requirement
  • No monthly private mortgage insurance payment
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Typically lower fixed rate than conventional loans
  • Sellers can contribute up to 4% towards Veterans closing costs and prepaids

And for those Veterans seeking a FL VA home loan for a home that is higher in price; you may qualify for a VA Jumbo loan.  Here’s an example; lets say the purchase price for your Brevard County dream home is $517,000.  Assuming you have enough VA Entitlement, you may be able to put $25,000 towards down payment and finance the remaining $492,000.  That, is less than 5% down payment and there is no private mortgage insurance.  And the interest rate for a VA Jumbo fixed loan is typically lower than on a standard Jumbo fixed rate mortgage

VA home loans for FL Veterans are, I believe, one of the best programs available for no down payment buyers, up to the County limits, and definitely something to consider for well qualifed US Veterans seeking to purchase and exceed those County limits.  For more information on qualifying for a VA home loan or VA Jumbo mortgage loan please feel free to call 800.333.3004 X3560 or email me at

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  5500 Murrell Road Suite 201, Viera, FL 32940

Brevard County first time home buyer assistance

Whether building your first home with one of many Brevard County builders, or finding an existing home of your dreams, have you saved enough to reach your goal of owning your first home?  Savings should include enough to cover any down payment requirements, closing costs and prepaids (property tax and homeowner’s insurance escrows).  That is, unless $10,000 would help you reach your goal of Brevard County home ownership sooner. 

Embrace Home Loans participates with The Brevard County Housing Finance Authority or Brevard HFA to help qualified Brevard County first time home buyers with financial mortgage loan assistance.  This assistance comes in the form of a 0% (no monthly payment) 2nd mortgage for up to $10,000!  This can help cover down payment, closing costs and/or prepaids for your first home purchase.

Another benefit for qualified first time home buyers is the Mortgage Credit Certificate.  This allows the buyer to save money each year they own the home. Qualified first time buyers can deduct 50% of their annual mortgage interest up to $2,000 as a tax credit while the other 50% remains a deduction.  This credit is available each year as long as the buyer owns their home and the 1st mortgage is outstanding. 

Brevard County first time buyers should consider the advantages available when seeking to build or purchase their dream home.  For more information on this and many other mortgage programs, please call 800.333.3004 ext 3560 and ask for Stephen or email directly at

Stephen Thaggard, NMLS 356309,  Sr Loan Officer, licensed in Florida,

Embrace Home Loans, NMLS 2184,  485 N Keller Road, Suite 550, Maitland, FL 32751