Value of Pre-approval


For many new homebuyers, the terms pre-qualification and pre-approval seem interchangeable. But they are not — and the distinction is an important one. When a homebuyer is pre-qualified, the lender performs a quick check to determine generally how large a home loan the buyer can afford. Essentially, when a buyer is pre-qualified, the lender is saying it would most likely approve the buyer for “x” amount.

Pre-approval goes much deeper. In order to issue a pre-approval, the lender examines and verifies the borrower’s debt, income, savings, assets and credit report to ensure the borrower can repay the loan amount. Where pre-qualification is a sort of educated guesstimate of the buyer’s purchasing power, pre-approval says the prospective lender would definitely be approved for the loan.

This is particularly useful when home shopping for multiple reasons. To begin with, pre-approval instantly lets you know what your actual budget is. Knowing what you can afford from the outset will help you and your real estate agent better focus your efforts.

Being pre-approved also provides you with an advantageous position over other buyers, because pre-approval assures the seller that you have access to the loan necessary to back your offer. Your lender will provide you with a letter or certificate demonstrating that you are pre-approved for a certain amount of money, which you can provide as part of your offer.

Understanding Credit

Credit plays a role in everything from buying a home, to signing up for cell phone service or utilities, to getting car insurance. A credit score is a snapshot taken by the three leading credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, that allows lenders to determine whether or not you will be extended credit, the amount of credit and even the terms (interest rate, loan amount, repayment schedule).

While I am not a credit counselor, I can give you a little bit of information about credit scores and some basic steps to keep them healthy, which are important for you to know when applying for home financing.

What is a credit score and how is it calculated?
A credit score is a number between 300 and 850 that is used to predict how likely you are to pay your bills. Many of the companies with whom you have a loan or a line of credit report back to the three credit bureaus information such as whether you pay on time, your credit amount, etc. Your credit score is calculated from this personal financial information. The higher your credit score, the better the credit terms you will receive. The lower your score, the higher the interest rates you may have to pay. Generally, scores over 700 are considered excellent while scores below 600 are considered poor.

You are eligible for one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Take advantage of this opportunity to monitor your credit report and ensure there are no mistakes or surprises with your credit.

How can I improve my credit score?*
Although there are no quick fixes when it comes to improving your credit score, you can take steps to rebuild your score over time:

  1. Continue paying your bills on time — your payment history matters.
  2. Don’t max out your cards or even run the balances up high.
  3. Hold off on applying for new credit or cancelling an old card, since length of credit helps.
  4. Pay down high balances, but don’t just transfer debts among several lenders.
  5. Settle any collections or past due accounts that you possibly can.
  6. Dispute and resolve any inaccurate items in your credit report. The last two years of your credit history are the most important.

Credit scores affect your life — beyond just mortgage interest rates.
Credit scores are often used in determining prices for auto and homeowners insurance. Employers have also begun using the scores as part of background checks when making hiring decisions. The practice of using credit scores in nontraditional ways is expanding. It’s more important than ever to educate yourself about credit.

What Closing Cost Really Mean


Every home loan has associated closing costs, which are fees that are associated with home financing but are not part of your actual mortgage. Closing costs cover items such as title search, attorney’s fees, origination fees, discount points, prepayment of taxes and insurance (escrow) and real estate transfer taxes. The names of the fees can vary from state to state and a few don’t apply everywhere, but in general the same costs are charged across the country.

Your closing costs usually range anywhere between 3% and 10% of your total loan amount. Usually you can roll the costs into the loan, although a few must be paid at closing by check, such as the origination fee.

Your closing costs will include the following fees:

Title Insurance — Based on the sale price of the home. It is the fee that protects both you and the lender in case a question of ownership ever arises. It also guarantees the title company made a thorough search on your behalf.

Title Search Fee — Your title company will research your property to ensure there are no liens or other problems with ownership prior to completion of the purchase.

State Mortgage Taxes — Fee charged by the state as a tax on the sale of the home.

Escrow — This account contains funds used to pay fees that are not billed monthly. Items that typically require escrow accounts include:

  • Hazard Insurance — Protects both you and your lender in the event of damage to your home.
  • Property Tax — Charged by local government based on the value of your property.
  • Mortgage Insurance — Protects the lender should a buyer default on the home loan.

Settlement Fee —Covers the services of the settlement agent that handles all the payment transfers during the closing.

Attorney’s Fee — In some states, it is required that an attorney be involved with the closing process.

Flood Insurance Fee — Some states require that you determine if the property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

Home Warranty Fee — An optional service that covers repairs or replaces defective items in the home.

Home Inspection Fee — A professional inspection of the house to identify any problems associated with the home is highly recommended and often required.

Survey Fee — A review of your property to establish official boundary lines is conducted by a licensed surveyor and is normally required by the lender in order to secure your mortgage.

Notary Fee — A licensed notary will certify the identity of the individuals signing the loan and other documents.

Recording Fee — Charges for recording a deed with the appropriate government agency.

Interest — A prorated fee is charged for your mortgage interest from the date of funding until the time of the first monthly mortgage payment.

Lender Fees/Charges —The costs associated with processing your loan through the lender’s system. These costs are disclosed on the Good Faith Estimate document you receive once your loan application is completed.

  • Discount Points — You can pay points at closing in order to lower your overall interest rate and mortgage payment. One point equals 1% of the home loan value.
  • Loan Origination Fee — The fee you pay for the lender’s services in administering your loan. Varies with the lender and type of loan. A loan origination fee of 1 to 2 percent of the mortgage amount is common.
  • Mortgage Interest — The interest on the loan amount from the date of closing to the last day of the month.
  • Tax Service Fee — A tax service agency monitors the property tax payments for the loan. If property taxes are part of the escrow account, the tax service will obtain the tax bills for payment by the lender.
  • Document Preparation Fee — Covers the cost of preparing the loan documents.

Thanks Kathleen O’Brien with W.J> Bradley Mortgage for the great information!!

Denver Neighborhoods – Whittier

“Denver’s historic Whittier neighborhood is named for the school¹ now located at Downing Street and 24th Avenue, but originally built along Marion Street. The school’s name honored the nineteenth-century abolitionist poet, John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892). Whittier was a founding member of the Republican Party. His poems attacked the injustices of slavery, while at the same time condemning the inherent hypocrisy of a nation that was founded on the ideal of freedom. A religious man of Quaker faith, he was deeply concerned about social justice. After the Civil War, Whittier remained a moral voice for the country in its struggle to overcome racism.”



Denver Neighborhoods – West Colfax

“Colfax was its own Municipality that incorporated in 1891 and had a population of about 300.In 1897 Colfax was annexed to Denver.

Colfax Avenue was originally named “Golden Avenue,” and was renamed in 1896 for Schuyler Colfax, who had been U.S. Vice President. West Colfax Avenue was the main street of the Town of Colfax.

In the early 1900s the area that is now known as West Colfax was sparsely populated with several mansions and scattered squatter’s shacks. During this time West Colfax was known as “No Man’s Land”, and ” Jim’s Town”.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries a large wave of Jewish Immigrants from Eastern Europe moved into the West Colfax area. These immigrants turned “No Man’s Land” into Denver’s version of a European neighborhood.”


West Colfax

Denver Neighborhoods – Washington Park

“Washington Park was initially designed by the German landscape architect Reinhard Schuetze between 1899 and 1908. His design remains fairly intact and included Smith and Grasmere lakes, and the Lily Pond, all fed with a city ditch that Shuetze had edged with Russian willows and other trees. Other pieces of his design remain intact and include the large meadow edged with a grove of trees to the south of Smith Lake, and the carriage-ways that meander through the park.

Later landscape architects, such as Saco Rienk DeBoer and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. have added their own contributions to the park, adding the elegant boat house, an evergreen grove on the north side of the park and other additions.

Washington Park as a neighborhood started development soon after the founding of Denver though it was still fairly rural in nature. By 1886, there was enough population to create Denver’s first suburb, South Denver, which by the silver bust of the 1890s was annexed into Denver due to financial difficulties. Development hastened with the creation of the park in 1899. Most of the houses were built of brick between 1900 and 1940.”


Washington Park