Category Archive: Brevard County mortgage

Traditional versus Non-Traditional Credit

If you’re trying to get a Brevard County mortgage, you’ll need to prove that you can handle it by showing a solid credit rating. Typically, mortgage lenders pull credit reports from the three main credit reporting bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – and use the middle score as your qualifying credit score. This is called a “tri-merge credit report,” and it’s the traditional way to provide a very clear picture of your creditworthiness.

But what happens if you don’t have much traditional credit? Traditional credit includes credit cards, bank loans, auto finance companies, and mortgage lenders, all of which report your payments to the three main credit bureaus. However, many people have non-traditional credit, which doesn’t show up on the traditional credit reports. And that means your Brevard County mortgage application could be questioned.

What types of non-traditional credit might you have, and how can you get your mortgage lender to consider it? One way is to document your payment histories.

Here are some tips:

Rental Payments

Often, single-family rental homes are owned by individuals who don’t report rent payments to the credit bureaus. If you’re in that situation, pay your rent by check, and keep at least 12 months of canceled checks that you can show to lenders. If you haven’t done that, check with your bank. You can obtain copies of canceled checks if you need them, and if you use online banking, you may be able to access them easily at no charge. If you pay with cash, get a receipt (which you should do anyway) and keep at least one year’s worth.

Utility Bills

While credit reports are increasingly including power, cable, and telephone payment histories, it’s a relatively new development. Again, keep one year of canceled checks to prove you’ve made all your payments, or check with your bank to verify how you can document your payments. Document cash payments with receipts.

Savings Deposits

A pattern of regular saving can also be considered when you’re applying for credit. Periodic wage deposits into a savings account can be documented to prove financial responsibility.

Check Your Credit

You can request a free credit report at, and check it to see how your credit stacks up. Make sure you dispute any errors and omissions with the credit reporting agencies.

If you’ve got a “thin” credit file, check with your Brevard County mortgage lender, and ask if you can provide non-traditional credit documentation. At Embrace Home Loans, we’re experts in mortgage lending. We can help you review your credit and determine if you can qualify for a mortgage with non-traditional credit. Call us today at 407-733-6425.

Lower Your Rate with a VA Streamline Refinance

If you’re an eligible veteran, mortgage loans guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be a great deal. These mortgages are available to veterans with good credit, sufficient income, and have met certain military service requirements. Some spouses of eligible veterans may also be able to take advantage of these loans. You’ll need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), available through your local VA office.

The biggest advantage of a Brevard County VA mortgage is that the borrower can buy a home with no money down. In addition, VA loans usually offer very attractive interest rates and do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which saves even more money.

Fast and Easy Refinancing

VA loans have another very useful benefit. If you’re currently holding a VA mortgage and want to take advantage of lower interest rates, or if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) and want to switch to a fixed-rate mortgage, you can refinance your existing loan using the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). These are also called VA Streamline Refinance loans because they’re easy to use and can close quickly. There are some conditions you have to meet:

  • You need to be current on your payments with no more than one late payment in the last year.
  • Your new payment must be lower than your current payment unless you’re switching from an ARM to a fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Unlike a regular VA loan, you don’t have to occupy the house, but you do have to certify that you previously occupied it.
  • You don’t need an appraisal.
  • You can avoid out-of-pocket costs by financing them into the new loan.
  • You may not receive any cash from the IRRRL.
  • You must have used your VA eligibility to obtain the loan you plan to refinance (often called VA to VA refinance).

Save Money

In some cases, eligible veterans may be able to save thousands of dollars over the lives of their loans by using streamlined refinancing. And refinancing can be done quickly, sometimes in as little as a month. Terms do vary between approved VA lenders, so it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rates. At Embrace Home Loans, we’re experts in Brevard County VA mortgages, and we will work with you to make sure you get refinancing that meets your needs and budget. If you think a VA streamline refinance can help you save money, call us at 407-733-6425.

Refinancing Your Mortgage? Beware of These Scams

Many homeowners who are worried about interest rates rising may be thinking about refinancing their Brevard County mortgages. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people often take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners, cheating them out of money or even their homes.

Often, these scammers send e-mails, letters, or make phone calls offering great deals on refinancing your home. Here are some things that homeowners should know to protect themselves.

  • Do your research. Since 2010, any individual or company that provides loan modification services in Florida must be licensed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation ( You can use their website to check to see if a person or company is properly licensed. Many scammers claim to be affiliated with the government or major financial institutions, so don’t be fooled.
  • Don’t pay up front. Don’t ever make an advance payment to any business or person who promises a great refinance rate or promises to prevent a foreclosure. Once you pay, the scammers will disappear. Don’t deal with anyone who insists on a fee in advance.
  • Don’t get rushed. “Limited time offers” and “act now to lock in these rates” can often indicate a scam. If you’re pressured to make a quick decision, don’t take the bait.
  • Don’t stop paying your mortgage. Some fraudsters will offer to handle your mortgage payments, and then will pocket the money. Send your payments ONLY to your mortgage company, and don’t stop making your payments. Also, don’t stop communicating with your mortgage company. Sometimes scammers will advise you not to take calls from your mortgage company because they don’t want you to find out the scammer hasn’t done anything for you.

Get help with your refinancing

If you’re planning to refinance, you can avoid scams and find legitimate lenders through Embrace Home Loans. Our experienced Brevard County mortgage professionals can help you successfully refinance your home and get the mortgage solution you need. Please browse our website, or call 407-733-6425, for more information.

How do You Get a Florida Mortgage if You’re Self-Employed?

Over the past few years, it’s gotten more difficult for almost all home buyers to get mortgages, but self-employed buyers have even more hurdles to overcome. Here are some tips you can follow if you’re self-employed and trying to obtain a Florida mortgage, or refinance a home:

  • Income: The key issue is the need to prove your income to any mortgage lenders when you’re applying for the loan. Typically, lenders will want to see at least two years of income, as shown on your tax return’s Schedule C (Sole Proprietorships), 1120’s (S-Corporations), or 1065’s (Partnerships) Note: Lenders generally prefer that borrowers employ an accountant rather than prepare their own returns. If you don’t have two years of income to show with your business, some mortgage lenders will still consider your application if you have a track record of regular work, if you’ve left a job to work as a contractor in the same industry, or you can prove you’ve got work lined up.
  • True Income: Self-employed people often rely on tax deductions related to their businesses to reduce their taxable income. But when your mortgage lender looks at your returns, they’ll typically see the bottom line, after your deductions, which may be much lower than your true income. Some lenders will allow certain deductions to be added back into income, such as depreciation on a large, non-recurring asset like a car.
  • Other Expenses: While depreciation might be added back in, other deductions can work against you. Meals and entertainment, for example, are only 50% deductible, but the lender will go back and deduct 100% of the cost from your income. If you can, plan ahead (with the help of your accountant) and write off fewer expenses in the two years leading up to your home purchase.

Get the Facts

In addition to these techniques, you can look at smaller loans, getting a co-signer, or larger down payments. The important thing to remember is that a mortgage loan expert can review your available options and make sure you get credit for all of your income. At Embrace Home Loans, we can work with self-employed buyers to help you get the Florida mortgage you want. Find out more at by browsing our website, or call 407-733-6425.

7.1 Million Borrowers Could Benefit from Refinancing: Are You One?

Last month, Black Knight Financial Services released its Mortgage Monitor Report, which stated that about 7.1 million people could potentially benefit from refinancing their Florida mortgages. That’s an increase of 3 million from 2014.

What’s fueling this increase? Declining interest rates, along with increased equity among borrowers because their homes have increased in value. Black Knight develops this number by looking at the number of borrowers whose current interest rates, credit scores, and loan-to-value ratios indicate they would be good candidates for refinancing.


The phrase “act now” is a staple of late-night infomercials, but it’s also applicable to refinancing. Black Knight warns that this potential refinance benefit could be lost if interest rates move back up, even half a percentage point.

So why don’t people take advantage of refinancing? The National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper on this topic in 2010. At that time, about 20 percent of households that could have benefited from refinancing didn’t do it. The authors noted that the median savings per household was about $160 per month over the life of their loans.

The paper suggested there are “informational barriers” about the potential benefits and costs of refinancing. They also suggested that “psychological factors”, such as procrastination, mistrust, and the inability to understand complex decisions, may keep people from refinancing.

Embrace Home Loans Can Help

While there isn’t much we can do to keep you from procrastinating, Embrace Home Loans can help with the other barriers to refinancing. We’ll be happy to explain to you how refinancing can improve your financial situation, and we’ll work with you to find a loan that fits your needs. We’ll help you through the process, and help you put more money in your pocket, instead of in your Florida mortgage payment. And finally, we’re a trusted name in mortgages, having helped tens of thousands of customers over the last 30 years. So don’t procrastinate – call us today at 407-733-6425.

Buying a Fixer-Upper? A HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage Can Help!

It’s rare that any buyer finds a home that matches his or her tastes exactly. Many of us want to make a few changes, and that’s what a HomeStyle Renovation (HSR) mortgage is designed to do. HSRs are offered through the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that buys mortgages that meet Fannie Mae’s qualifications from mortgage lenders.

Cost-effective renovations

The HSR mortgage allows borrowers to get a new mortgage or refinance an existing mortgage, and get enough extra funds to cover renovations, repairs, remodeling or even energy-efficient improvements. That allows home buyers or refinancers to make major repairs for homes to meet or exceed up-to-code standards or just update or remodel a home.

Borrowers can make repairs or improvements that total up to 50 percent of the home’s “as-completed” appraised value as part of their first mortgage. The “as-completed” value is the market value of the home, including the renovations. HSRs help buyers or refinancers avoid an expensive second mortgage, home equity line of credit or other costly loans. Also, you’ll only have one loan closing, which saves time and money, and first-mortgage loans typically offer lower interest rates than home equity or other types of repair financing.

What kind of home can I buy with an HSR?

HSR mortgages can be obtained for primary residences or second homes/investment properties. If used for a primary residence, the HSR allows the purchase of single-family homes, condos and up to a four-unit, multi-family home. For investment properties and second homes, no multi-family properties are allowed.

What does an HSR cover?

There are no restrictions on the type of repairs or improvements, except that they must be permanently affixed to the property and add to the value of the property. If an HSR is used for energy improvements, borrowers must get an energy report that shows the recommended improvements and the estimated cost savings from them.

Can I do the improvements myself?

HSR loans require you to hire a licensed contractor that is approved by your lender. While you may do some work yourself, any do-it-yourself work will have to be reviewed by your lender and approved in advance, and no more than 10 percent of the “as-completed” value can come from DIY projects. Your lender must inspect any work that costs more than $5,000, and as a do-it-yourselfer, you will be reimbursed for materials only, not labor. In addition, any plans or drawings used for your renovation must be completed by a licensed, certified professional.

How long do I have for construction?

Renovations must be completed within six months of closing your loan. And you will have to make your full monthly mortgage payment during the renovation period.

Find out more about HSRs from Embrace Home Loans

HSRs are a great way to turn a property with potential into a home you’ll love. Down payments and loan terms vary for different borrowers and projects. If you’re interested in an HSR, Embrace Home Loans can provide you with assistance every step of the way. Contact us today at 800-333-3004, extension 3560 or visit our website at

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