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Financial Word of the Week: Debt-to-Income

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Last week we explained what Loan-to-Value meant, specifically with mortgages. Now it’s time to tackle another important ratio: Debt-to-Income (DTI).

Your DTI ratio tells lenders how much of your income goes towards your debt and is another number you want to be low. Lenders will look carefully at your DTI ratio, along with your credit score, LTV, and other factors when considering you for a loan. You should aim for a DTI ratio of approximately one third (or lower).

How to calculate

Add up all of the debt payments you make each month (mortgage, student loans, vehicle loan, outstanding credit card balance, etc.). Then divide it by your gross monthly income (pre-tax). So if you make $50,000/year or $4167/month and have $1,500 in debt to pay each month, your DTI would be $1,500 ÷ $4,167 = 36%.

If you’re thinking of buying your first home, calculate how much house you can afford with this calculator, but also factor in how much debt you already have.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Loan-to-Value

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You’ve probably heard the scary terms “upside down” or “underwater” when it comes to mortgages, especially six years ago. That’s one way of saying a home’s Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio is too high or the value of the home is less than the loan amount. This is another financial number where lower is better.

Calculating your LTV ratio

Take the amount left on your mortgage and divide by the appraised value of your home OR the selling price (whichever is less). For example, if you bought a $225,000 home, but it was appraised for $200,000 and you still owe $175,000, your LTV ratio is 175,000 ÷ 200,000 = 87.5%. Now take that same scenario, but with a positive twist. If you made improvements on your home or the housing market in your area improves, let’s say your home is appraised for MORE than what you paid for it, $250,000. So your LTV ratio would now be based on your purchase price (the lesser of appraisal or purchase price) and your LTV would be 175,000 ÷ 225,000 = 77.8%.  The ratio has been reduced, and it’ll keep going down as you pay more of your loan amount (assuming the value of your home doesn’t fall below your purchase price). A good ratio to aim for is 75% or less. The lower your ratio, the less risk for your lender.

Should you refinance?

It’s worth consideration, but only after an informative chat with your lender. If you have a high LTV ratio and your home’s value has increased, refinancing could be a wise step for you. Plug in a few scenarios in this calculator, and chat with your lender about whether or not refinancing would be positive for you.

Special assistance

If you need even more help and purchased your home before June 1, 2009, you may be eligible for Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Home Affordable Refinance (HARP) Program. If you think you may be eligible, talk to your lender about refinances with further assistance from that government program.

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When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Words of the Week: Delinquency and Derogatory

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Have you ever missed a credit card bill or a loan payment? You may know that missing a bill can hurt your credit, but do you know how much? What should you do about it?

What does a late payment mean for my credit?

Missing a loan or credit card payment is known as a delinquency. Delinquencies may  negatively affect your credit history and credit score. If you miss a payment, the best thing you can do is to make that payment as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more interest will build up.

In terms of your credit score, you need to make the original payment before the next payment is due as well as that next payment. Generally, delinquencies are measured in months, rounding up to the nearest month. The day after the missed due date, an account could be counted as one month late, depending on the lender. One month and one day after the missed due date, that account may be considered two months late and is now a major derogatory.

What is a derogatory, and what makes it major or minor?

Any negative information on your credit history is a derogatory. When a lender reviews your credit, they look at what derogatories show up and how recent they are. Derogatories (or your lack of derogatory information) also make up an important chunk of your credit score. A debt two months late or more counts as a major derogatory. Major derogatories hurt your credit score more because of their serious nature. Other examples include bankruptcies, foreclosures and many debts that go to collections. If you have already missed one month, the best thing you can do is not let it become two.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Words of the Week: Fixed Rate / ARM

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Previously, we defined interest  as the cost of borrowing money. You have a range of options when it comes to interest rates. Before you take out a new loan or credit card, be sure you understand those options.

When looking at mortgages, you will likely see fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgages. With a fixed rate mortgage, your lender sets the interest rate during the application process, and it does not change for the life of the loan. With an adjustable rate mortgage, your interest rate will change regularly, based on a published reference rate. The frequency of this change depends on your mortgage.

Loans other than mortgages can be either fixed rate or variable rate. The definition of a fixed rate loan is the same as a fixed rate mortgage, but variable rate loans differ from adjustable rate mortgages in how frequently the rate can change. If the reference rate changes frequently, the interest rate on a variable rate could change monthly. Many car loans have fixed rates, while most credit cards have variable rates.

If you are unsure what your interest rate is on an existing loan, you can look at the terms and disclosures on your monthly statement or your loan paperwork. If you are applying for a new loan or line of credit, the application disclosure should tell you how the interest rate is set.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Words of the Week: Points, Origination Fees and Closing Costs

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All three of these terms refer to costs associated with applying for a loan. Lenders sometimes charge these fees to cover the cost of underwriting, appraisals, document preparation and other parts of the process. Generally, the fees will be higher with mortgages than other loans. Mortgages have more complicated requirements compared to other loans. Origination fees are one-time flat fees that cover the costs of processing the loans. By comparison, closing costs may include expenses associated with the real estate transaction that cannot be included in the mortgage amount. A point is one percent of the dollar amount financed. Lenders may let you pay points to lower the interest rate or they may charge points instead of origination fees. Some examples of possible closing costs:

  • Appraisal: The cost of hiring a real estate professional to determine the value of the house
  • Inspection: Hiring an engineer or building professional to examine the structural condition
  • Flood Certification: By law, every mortgage made through federally-regulated or insured lenders must include a flood certification. This assessment determines if the property resides in a high-risk flood area. Homeowners with mortgages in high-risk areas must have flood insurance.
  • Realtor Fees: Real estate agents are paid based on the cost of the house, normally around 3 percent of the selling price.

Mortgage laws vary greatly from state to state. Additionally, each mortgage lender has different products and offers. Because of these complex issues, your costs may be different from those listed above. The best way to learn more is by working with an experienced mortgage loan officer. They can walk you through the full process and help you understand the costs involved. Be sure to check the blog for our “steps to buying your first home” series. So far, we’ve covered Pre-Approval (Step 1) and Choosing the Loan that’s Right for You (Step 2).

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Principal and Interest

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What are Principal and Interest?

As you pay down debt over time, your payments go towards principal and interest. Principal describes the amount remaining on the original amount loan or line of credit. Interest is the cost of borrowing money over time.

What does an interest-only loan mean?
With an interest-only loan, you can borrow money and any payments that you make during the initial period go towards paying interest costs, but do not reduce the principal. When the interest-only period ends, the loan matures or comes due. At maturity, depending on your contract with your lender, you will either need to begin making payments on principal and interest or you will need to pay back the full principal amount, called a balloon payment. Today, Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) make up a large portion of interest-only lending. As a borrower, you should carefully read the documentation on any loan and make sure that you can afford the payments when the loan comes due.

Why should I care? It’s all going to the loan, right?
First, some loans may have tax advantages, such as student loans, mortgages, and some HELOCs. You should always consult your tax advisor on what will count toward a tax benefit. One common form of tax advantage is a tax deduction or credit for some or all of your interest payments. Second, if you want to pay down your loans faster, make sure your extra payments go towards principal. By paying down the principal, you will owe less interest each payment and pay your loan off sooner.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Jumbo Mortgage

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What is a jumbo mortgage? A loan for a big house? Jumbo mortgage refers to a mortgage for more than a certain dollar amount. The limit is currently $417,000 for most areas, with a higher limit in certain high-cost regions. Mortgages of less than $417,000 may be called conventional mortgages. Many federal homeownership programs do not apply to jumbo loans. Lenders often charge higher rates for jumbo mortgages or have more restrictions on the loan, even for the same borrower. If I’m looking at a house that’s $420,000, does this apply to me? Maybe. A number of factors affect the total amount financed. Your down payment, the loan terms and where you’re buying will all influence the size of the loan. These potentially complex issues present another reason why it’s so important to work with an experienced mortgage officer. When you get pre-approved, your mortgage officer will help you understand your situation and how much you can afford. Your mortgage will be as unique as your home, so make sure you get the individual attention you deserve. luxury house

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Lien

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What is a Lien?

When a borrower uses collateral to get a secured loan,the lender has a legal claim to that collateral. That legal claim is the lien. Lenders most commonly place a lien on a home for a mortgage and on a car for an auto loan. When a creditor places a lien, the creditor must be paid and the lien released before the property can be sold. For secured loans, the lien is created voluntarily.

Liens and Car Loans

When you buy a vehicle using an auto loan, the lender places a lien on the car title with your state motor vehicle office (depending on where you live). That lien will remain on the car title (even if the car is subsequently transferred) unless the lender issues a lien release. A lender releases a lien by notifying the proper officials, usually upon payment in full of the loan. This is an important step to research when selling or buying a vehicle privately. When you buy or trade-in with a car dealership, they usually assist with this process.

Liens and Mortgages

Houses and other real estate can have more than one lien. If you have a mortgage and use your home for another loan or line of credit, the second lender will put a lien on your home. One lender will have a first lien, meaning that in the event of non-payment, they get paid first. The other lender has a second lien position, meaning they will be paid after the first lender.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Equity

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What is equity?

Think of equity as a form of ownership. When you take out a secured loan to make a purchase, you obtain physical ownership of your purchase, but not full legal ownership. If you sold that purchase before fully paying off the loan, you would still need to pay off the rest of the loan. Equity is the difference between the value of that item and the amount still due on the loan.

For example, if your car is worth $20,000, and you owe $15,000, your equity is $5,000.

shutterstock_161197448_equity

So what does this mean for me?

For consumers, equity normally refers to houses, other real estate, and sometimes cars. Another way to think about equity is a fraction of ownership. When you first buy a home, your equity is approximately equal to the amount you put into your down payment. Over time, you pay down your mortgage and build equity in your home. Every payment you make lowers the amount owed to your lender and increases the amount you own.

How does this relate to a Home Equity Line of Credit?

A Home Equity Line of Credit, or HELOC (in the financial industry, we pronounce this “hee-lock,”) allows you to borrow using the equity in your home. Since HELOCs are revolving credit, they let qualified homeowners borrow money against the equity in their home whenever they need it. Because HELOCs are secured loans, they can provide credit at lower costs than unsecured loan, subject to the policy of the lending institution.

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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Financial Word of the Week: Secured Loan and Collateral

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What is a secured loan?

The word secured brings to mind images of armored trucks and locked vaults. Both can guard cash and valuables, but not a loan.

A secured loan is a loan in which the borrower pledges property (e.g. a car, house or other property) to the lender to act as a source of repayment if the borrower cannot pay back the loan.  The property that is pledged is called collateral.  If you do not make the payments as required on the loan, the lender may sell the collateral to cover the amount owed.  Usually a lender will require security for high dollar loans or when your credit is not good enough.

The opposite of a secured loan is an unsecured loan, which does not require collateral.  A lender may give you an unsecured loan when the borrower’s credit history is strong and the amount loaned is for lesser amounts.  Most credit cards are unsecured loans.

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So what does this mean for me?

Secured loans can help you make large purchases and pay them off over time. If everyone had to save for the full purchase price of a house, most people could not afford to be a homeowner until middle age, if ever. Because of the security provided by collateral, banks can provide lower cost credit options through secured loans. Your first step before borrowing should be to do a financial checkup (stay tuned for next week’s blog post to learn more about that) and figure out if you’re financially ready for that large purchase.

 

Statistics Source: New York Fed Household Credit Quarterly Report

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.

 

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UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Arizona. It also has a loan production office in Texas. Subsidiaries of the holding company include mutual fund and alternative investment services groups, single-purpose companies that deal with brokerage services and insurance, and a registered investment advisor that manages the company's proprietary mutual funds and investment advisory accounts for institutional customers.

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