Category Archive: Refinances

Mortgage Rates are Low: Should You Refinance?

Interest rates for 30-year, 20-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages remain low as compared to August of 2015.  If you’re a homeowner with a Florida mortgage, should you refinance now?

It’s certainly worth the time to check to see if refinancing your home makes financial sense. Refinancing can certainly benefit you if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your mortgage loan, or increases your home’s equity. To decide that, though, it’s important to actually check the facts, rather than relying on “common sense” ideas about mortgages that may not be actually true:

  • Refinancing Takes a Long Time: Many people feel that refinancing is stressful and time-consuming. That’s true of refinancing in the past, but it’s not necessarily true today. Mortgages today are simpler and much faster than they used to be. While the process will depend on factors unique to you, like your personal finances, the amount of equity, and your credit report, in general, refinancing is not as difficult as many people think it is.
  • The 2% Rule: Other people have heard that they shouldn’t refinance unless they can get a rate that’s two percent lower than their current rate. This is an old rule of thumb that dates back to when mortgage loans were much smaller and homeowners lived in their homes much longer. In fact, with today’s larger loans, even a quarter-point rate reduction may save you significant amounts of money.
  • Not Enough Equity: Many people believe they don’t have enough equity in their homes to refinance. It’s true that at least 20 percent equity is ideal (and may allow you to eliminate private mortgage insurance or PMI payments), refinancing can make sense even with much lower equity percentages.

Get the Facts

The main thing to remember about refinancing is that your situation is unique. At Embrace Home Loans, we work with many Florida homeowners to refinance their homes. We can review your finances, your existing Florida mortgage terms, and your personal situation, and help you evaluate if refinancing is right for you. Call us today at 407-733-6425, and we’ll help you decide what’s right for you.

VA Streamline Refinance: Here’s What You Need to Know

Mortgage loans offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs have a lot of nice features that can help eligible veterans in Florida save money and let them buy homes. One of the important benefits, though, is only available after you’ve gotten a VA mortgage.

Called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan or IRRRL, these are often referred to as VA Streamlined Refinance loans. Simply put, this program allows people with VA loans to quickly and easily refinance those loans by waiving some of the documentation that’s required for other refinance loans. It also allows borrowers to roll closing costs into the new loan, which means you may be able to refinance with no out-of-pocket costs.

Keep It Simple

If interest rates have dropped since you got your VA loan, a streamline refinance loan lets you refinance to the lower rate and save money. Since you’ve already been approved by your VA lender for your original loan, the refinancing process is relatively simple, requiring less than a month in many cases. To qualify for an IRRRL, there are some conditions:

  • You must have used your VA loan eligibility to obtain the mortgage you want to refinance.
  • You must certify that you previously occupied the property.
  • Your new monthly payment must be lower than your old payment (unless you’re switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage).
  • You must be current on your mortgage, with no more than one late payment in the last year.

In addition, you can’t receive any cash when you refinance your loan with an IRRRL. There is an exception to this; some borrowers can get up to $6,000 to reimburse them for energy-efficient home improvements that were made in the three months prior to closing. There is another type of VA refinancing loan that allows you to refinance while taking cash from your home’s value, similar to a home-equity loan. Called a VA Cash-Out loan, it requires you to have sufficient equity in your home to qualify for this program, and it must be used for a home you occupy.

Find Out More

You don’t have to use your current lender for a VA Streamline Refinance, and sometimes it’s better to shop around, since different lenders offer different terms. It helps to work with a lender that’s experienced in VA Streamline Refinancing, like Embrace Home Loans. We’re experts in Florida VA mortgages, and we can help you review your refinancing options and work with you to get the best deal for you. Call us today at 407-733-6425.

Five Kinds of Homeowners Who May Want to Refinance

There are probably thousands of homeowners who are eligible to refinance their Florida mortgage loans. Of course, anyone paying high interest rates should look to refinance. But there are also other types of people who may want to consider refinancing:


  • Homeowners who bought their homes more than a year ago. Most lenders will require borrowers to maintain their original mortgage for at least 12 months before they can refinance. If you’ve had your home for over a year, you may want to see what options are available for you.
  • Homeowners who are paying Florida mortgage insurance. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required for conventional mortgage loans for the borrower who made a down payment of less than 20 percent. Similarly, FHA mortgages require mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs). Based on your situation, refinancing could help you eliminate these payments.
  • Homeowners who carry credit card balances. Tapping into your home equity can provide you with a way to replace high-interest credit card debt with lower-interest mortgage debt. You need to be cautious, though. If you run your credit cards back up, you’ve simply increased your overall debt.
  • Homeowners who need home improvements. A new roof, new heating/air conditioning, or other improvements can be expensive and hard to pay for out-of-pocket. Refinancing could allow you to use your home equity to make these improvements. If the improvements increase the value of your home, that could lower your loan-to-value ratio and increase your home equity.
  • Homeowners with FHA or VA mortgage loans. Both these loan programs offer streamlined refinancing programs, and it’s easier to qualify for refinancing in today’s low-interest-rate environment.


If you fall into any of these categories, Embrace Home Loans can help you decide if it’s time for you to refinance your Florida mortgage. We’re experts at refinancing loans in Florida, and we can help you evaluate your options. Call us at 407-733-6425, or please browse the rest of our website for more information on our services.

Meet Five Types of People Who Should Refinance Their Homes Now

Even with last month’s rate increase, interest rates are at historically low levels. However, that rate increase may signal others in the near future. So, if you’re a Florida homeowner who has been thinking about refinancing, the time may be now.

Why refinance?

There are two major types of refinancing loans. The first is rate-and-term refinancing, which homeowners do to save money. They refinance their Florida mortgage balances for lower interest rates and more affordable terms (the length of the loan). The other type of refinancing is cash-out refinancing, where you take out a mortgage for more than you owe on your home, and then use the difference in cash to pay off existing debt.

Who should refinance?

Here are five types of homeowners who should consider refinancing their mortgage loans:


  • People who bought homes at higher interest rates. In about the second quarter of 2014, interest rates began steadily dropping. If you bought your home before then, you may want to look at your refinancing options.
  • Anyone currently paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI can be cancelled if your home equity has reached 20 percent. A new loan and new appraisal may prove you’ve reached that threshold and your PMI can be eliminated.
  • FHA mortgage holders who want to reduce their mortgage insurance premium (MIP). FHA annual MIP rates vary based on the length of your loan, the amount you’re borrowing, and your loan-to-value amount. Refinancing could help you reduce or even eliminate your MIP.
  • Homeowners who have other, higher-interest debt. Cash-out refinancing could help you eliminate some other debts that are costing you more, like credit cards.
  • Homeowners who need to make some improvements. If you don’t have high-interest debt, your home equity could be used to make repairs or improvements.


Check with a knowledgeable lender

There are a number of variables you will need to consider if you’re thinking about refinancing. At Embrace Home Loans, we have expert Florida mortgage lenders who can help homeowners evaluate their refinancing options and get you the refinancing you need. Call us today 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.

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.

FL first time home buyers trust an old Boy Scout

Over the weekend Ron, a previous client of ours living in Brevard County, contacted us after searching online.  They were looking to refinance their current Florida mortgage to not only lower their interest rate, but to lower their remaining mortgage term. Lowering the term, as I have coached over the years, can save homeowners thousands of dollars in long term interest.   After speaking with him, I asked why he called on me, he could have called anyone.  He said, he and his wife trust me with all of their mortgage related needs.  Trust.  Wow.

As a former Boy Scout, I recall the first of the twelve scout laws; A Scout is Trustworthy.  After over 17 years and going, many Florida residents continue to depend on my services with respect to their home mortgage needs.  Whether refinancing under today’s very popular HARP 2.0 mortgage, buying a 2nd home or investment property or referring a friend looking to buy their first home; I remain truly grateful for the volume of home owners and home buyers that keep coming back for sound mortgage solutions simply because of trust.

You may not know me, but if you are looking to get answers about qualifying for any Florida mortgage program or have questions on the HARP 2.0 refinance loan; please call or text me at 407.733.6425 or ask for my mortgage perspective online.  I will provide 17 years of trusted Florida mortgage experience.  Thanks

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

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

The housing market meltdown effect in today’s FL mortgage market

I enjoy speaking with home buyers and homeowners regarding qualifying for a particular FL mortgage loan program.  Every day someone is referred or has found us through a Google search; and needs answers to questions upfront, before applying for mortgage approval.  For example, questions regarding short sale, bankruptcy or foreclosure seasoning requirements are frequent.   Did you know that a home buyer may qualify to purchase a new home without waiting 3 years, after a short sale?  I’ll save that for another time.  For now, let’s consider today’s mortgage environment expectations for AAA credit home buyers or borrowers.

Most first time home buyers are so anxious to purchase their new dream home, they will jump through any hoop that an underwriter can heave.  First time buyers have nothing to compare when applying for a mortgage home loan, because it’s their first time at bat.  They have saved some money for down payment, may have even worked out kinks found on their credit report, and have income stability by holding down a good job, or jobs in the same line of work,  for at least 2 years.  Whatever supporting documents are needed to approve their mortgage loan, they’ll provide; usually with no questions asked.  But what about the AAA credit seasoned home buyer?

These buyers or home owners (when refinancing) have obtained a FL mortgage loan or 2 in the past and learn quickly that today’s mortgage market and approval processes are much different.  They may need to provide additional supporting documents that were never asked for on previous home purchase or mortgage refinances.  Over documentation with some lenders seems to take the worry away or reduces the risk in the eyes of the originating lender.  These very well qualified, sometimes over-qualified buyers must jump through the same underwriting hoops as a less qualified home buyer.  This can be uncomfortable especially when many of these AAA home buyers could simply pay cash for their new home and not borrow at all.  Why all this fuss?

The truth is simple.  Lenders and banks are cautious with every mortgage loan – because if that home buyer or home owner ever defaults, the originating lender could be held accountable for any I not dotted or T not crossed.  All of a sudden, credit, income and assets; may no longer lead to a clear path for streamlined underwriting.   I mention to all of my previous AAA clients, to please sit back and relax as we will be asking for more supporting documentation than our last refinance or home purchase mortgage.  As always we FL mortgage professionals will do our best to make the entire home buying or refinancing process as smooth as possible.  Thanks

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

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

FL VA home loans save Veterans more money

Hundreds of Florida home owners with current FL VA home loans, have taken advantage of today’s even lower fixed rate VA home loans.  As a home owner with an already approved VA home loan and with a 12 month on-time payment history, refinancing to a lower interest rate and lower monthly payment can be accomplished without an appraisal.

If you want to refinance and enjoy a lower rate using your VA Entitlement; consider changing your current FL FHA loan or Fannie Mae mortgage to a new VA home loan.  You can comfortably borrow up to 90% of the VA appraised value and qualify for that lower payment even if you have a 2nd mortgage.  Yes, the 2nd mortgage lender will be required to subordinate to the new VA first mortgage, but there is no limit with VA on the CLTV or combined loan-to-value.

Remember too that there are several advantages with respect to Veterans entitlement with a FL VA home loan mortgage.

  • No matter how much you borrow, there is no private mortgage insurance requirement with a VA home loan, saving you even more on monthly payments.
  • Enjoy streamlined approvals when refinancing a current VA home loan using VA IRRRL or interest rate reduction refinance loan. Typically, with a verification of employment and recent 12 month mortgage history, there are no income or assets required.  Veterans with VA loans, under VA IRRRL, have basically already been approved making refinancing easier.
  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities can save even more as they may be exempt from paying the VA Funding Fee.

Even if you have refinanced in the past, it may make sense to speak with a FL VA mortgage professional and determine if refinancing to today’s extremely lower VA fixed rate home loan makes sense.  Remember to always review recovery periods before refinancing!  For more information on this type of refinance as well as others, contact Stephen Thaggard or call 407.733.6425.

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

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

FL VA IRRRL, interest rate reduction loans. Start saving now.

One of the most popular refinance programs in today’s mortgage arena is the VA IRRRL or interest rate reduction loan.  A Veteran home owner can lower their current VA interest rate and save hundreds monthly even th0usands over the life of their loan. Many Veterans calling today with current VA FL home loans are saving approximately $175 – $200 on the average, every month, by reducing their current VA mortgage interest rate.

With a FL VA IRRRL, there is no appraisal requirement for qualified Veterans; which is extremely useful in today’s FL VA mortgage market valuations.  Credit qualifying is even made easier; requiring a review of only the past 12 months mortgage payment history.  All closing costs and prepaids can be rolled into the new FL VA loan removing inconvenient out of pocket expenses.

If you are looking to reduce your monthly payment and you current have a VA home loan; it may make sense to speak with a FL VA Mortgage Specialist.  I have been assisting Veterans and their home loan needs for 17 years and can be reached by calling or sending text request for mor directly at 407.733.6425.  It’s not too late to start saving now.  Stephen Thaggard

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

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