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Navigating the 2021 Mortgage Market With Rachel Barnhart

As the mortgage sales manager for Citizens Bank, I help our branches strategize and better serve our customers no matter what the housing market throws our way. The current historically low interest rates paired with very low housing inventory makes it a challenging market for buyers. But the good news is your local banker can absolutely help you get the best loan and bring the most attractive offer to the table. Here's the advice I give my customers.

Your offer needs to be competitive and attractive to the seller.

We're currently seeing situations with multiple offers on a home, so how do you make yours stand out? First, you want to secure the most competitive loan product you can. For example, if you're already approved for an FHA loan, we see if we can move you up to a conventional loan. FHA loans have tighter requirements for appraisals that require the seller to either reduce the selling price and/or make repairs, so they can be less attractive to a seller than a conventional mortgage loan or cash offer.

We can help you optimize your credit.

The better your credit is, the better the mortgage product and interest rate you can qualify for. We walk our customers through the steps to improve their credit by looking at things like your credit card utilization rates (as just one example). You want to show you're using 30% of your available credit or less.

Another suggestion for cleaning up credit reports is timing your monthly credit card payments to come out BEFORE your credit card company reports your balance each month. This impacts your utilization rate and ultimately your credit score.

We can show you how to beat the cash buyers.

More and more we're seeing our customers competing with cash buyers who can buy a home outright. Cash buyers are always attractive to the seller because there is no risk of the deal falling through due to funding, and deals close much faster because the buyer is not going through the lending process.

If you have a substantial amount of funds but you don't want to commit all of them to a home purchase, we can help you gather those funds to make a cash offer. However, we’ll then do something called delayed financing, where after you close you can apply for a mortgage with us the very next day, finance the home, and return the funds to wherever you wish to have it invested.

There's an advantage to getting a loan from your local bank.

When customers get their mortgage loan from Citizens Bank, it’s important to know we retain the servicing of that loan in-house. That means you can walk into any of our locations and make your payment, easily pay your loan via our online banking service, get your questions answered by our staff, and be taken care of by your hometown bank.

If you’re in the market for a new home, or interested in refinancing, I’m here to help. Feel free to give me a ring directly at (317) 204-7065 or you can start the application process conveniently online. Either way, we’re always here to help!

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