Eugene Mortgage News

The Covid-19 Coronavirus has led to some challenging times for all of us. 
The Government has created the CARES Act to assist homeowners whose income may have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.  One of the components of the CARES Act is the possibility of mortgage forbearance.
Forbearance is often misinterpreted.  Many people are mistakenly thinking that forbearance equals forgiveness.  It does not.  This is truly intended as temporary relief for those who need it most. 
Forbearance means that the payments will be suspended for a short period of time, initially up to 6 months, but will need to be caught up when the forbearance period is over. Think about when you buy something at a furniture store that offers “no payments” for 3 months.  You still must pay for the furniture…the payments are just deferred. 
There is absolutely no financial benefit by exercising forbearance
, as you will either have to pay a lump sum, modify your loan, or owe the balance when you refinance or sell your home. 

If you really need to exercise forbearance, you cannot just decide to stop making payments.  You must notify your Mortgage Servicer and agree to the forbearance terms.  
Depending on your situation, I may be able to help by eliminating your debts, lowering your payment, and giving you a cash cushion during these turbulent times.   
Contact us to see how we can help at 541-683-3300.
Posted by Mike Herborn on April 3rd, 2020 10:55 AM

Whether you are refinancing, buying or selling, you will want to make you home picture perfect for the appraiser and Lender.  The house is clean and bright without clutter throughout and outside looks parklike.  Picture perfect!  The appraiser is taking pictures to show the lender what your house is about.  You want to make sure your amenities look its best!

Make sure that you give yourself enough time to get your items fixed on your to do list. 

  • The appraiser will look at Improvements to kitchens and baths, windows, the roof and the home’s systems (heating, electrical and plumbing) over the previous 15 years that make the home more up-to-date, functional and livable by today’s standards.  Exterior amenities such as patios, RV parking, garden area.

  • Repair what you can.  Broken windows, holes in walls, open electrical wires, all have to be fixed. Make sure that your water heater is strapped and that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout.

  • Freshen up Paint that might be peeling or faded. 

  • Any pets should be contained and smells masked. You don't want the appraiser to be rushed to get out. 

Get your home ready for the Appraiser!

  • The home is clean throughout and the lights are on for it to be nice and bright.

  • The lawn is mowed and yard is clean of clutter. 

Coming up with value.  The appraiser will look at similar comparables that have sold within the last 6 months within a ¼ of mile from your home.

Posted by Mike Herborn on February 14th, 2019 11:09 AM

Credit inquiries have little to no impact on your score.  They are the least important factor in your credit score.  The 3 bureaus confirm that borrower scores will not drop when a mortgage lender pulls their credit more than once.  It’s only temporary drop and your score will be back up in 2-3 months.

The important concept is when someone is shopping for the best rates and applies with several mortgage lenders, they won't get "dinged" for multiple inquiries because the credit bureaus will lump them into an inquiry during that short period of rate shopping. Credit scoring models typically count mortgage, or auto loan, inquiries made over a short time period, such as 2 weeks, to be one credit inquiry for credit scoring purposes. 

Applying for multiple credit cards/loans in a short period of time will have more of an effect on your credit score.  Reason being, you will have the option to use all credit cards that were opened, then with the mortgage applications, you will only get an approved once.

Your credit score is made up of the following:  payment history makes up 40% of your score, while credit utilization is 20%. The length of your credit history contributes 21%, and a total amount of recently reported balances 11%. Finally, new credit accounts are responsible for 5%.

Soft inquiry: Checking your own credit report with the major credit bureaus will not lower your score.  If you apply for a job and they pull a credit report does not affect your score.

Hard inquiry: Applying for mortgage loans, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans are hard inquiries.

Credit inquiries do remain on your credit report for the last 2 years.

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on June 8th, 2018 10:43 AM

DO: Make sure your loan is approved, not just pre-approved or pre-qualified.
DON’T: Go house shopping without knowing what you can afford.

DO: Understand your credit and know your credit scores.
DON’T: Open or close credit lines without first consulting with your Loan Originator.

DO:  Keep the lines of communication open.
DON’T:  Be slow to respond to your Loan Team.

DO: Make a Savings Plan
DON’T: Make major purchases or open credit cards/loans.

DO: Maintain your current employment and income
DON’T:  Make major changes such as quitting your job or changing jobs.

DO: Have a paper trail for funds coming in and out of your account. 
DON’T:  Make large cash deposits into your bank account other than your paycheck.

DO: Keep good records.
DON’T:  Be surprised if you are asked for additional documents. 

DO: Ask questions.
DON’T: PANIC! (Let your Loan Originator at Stepping Stone Mortgage handle it!!)

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on May 18th, 2018 2:54 PM

We are Flexible!

  • You can schedule a meeting with your mortgage broker at a time that is most convenient for you.       

  • We can offer greater flexibility in our loan products, and great responsiveness to our clients, while the big banks and lenders are focused on mass marketing.

  • We know and seek out niches that the Big Banks/Lenders don't bother with.

We are Responsive!

  • We are able to guide you through the lending process in the most efficient, and effective way. 

  • We are personally involved in qualifying you for a mortgage.

  • We are more likely to roll up our sleeves and do the digging that's necessary to get your mortgage approved.

Quicker Closings!

  • By having a number of different lenders to choose from, we can work with lenders that have streamlined their closing process. 

Knowledgeable in the local real estate market!

  • We understand the local real estate market and are available to answer any questions and guide you through the loan process. 

  • We are a part of the local and regional economy, so we know what's going on here – and use that knowledge to help you guide you. 

  • We work with local real estate agents, that want to work with buyers whose lenders know the local market and have a reputation for getting deals done.  This can be reassurance to the listing agent, and the sellers that their sale will close.

Keeping the business in our community and using our local companies will keep the community strong and growing!

Call Stepping Stone Mortgage today at 541-683-3300 to schedule an appointment with licensed loan originator to have all your questions answered.

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on May 8th, 2018 12:04 PM

There are many reasons having higher credit scores will help you in the home-buying process. If you are looking to do a Conventional Loan, it will be important to have good scores. FHA/VA Loans are much more forgiving to lower scores and financing will still be available to you. Here are some of the less known ways your credit scores can affect your mortgage payment:

Interest Rates

Having higher credit scores can substantially change what your interest rate may be. If your credit scores are lower it may indicate more of a risk to the lender and raise your interest rate. A lower interest rate is still obtainable but would be at a cost that may not even be recaptured depending on how long you plan to own your home.

Mortgage Insurance

Usually when you have lower credit scores, your mortgage insurance premium will be higher in turn raising your total monthly payment. The difference in premiums from one credit score range to another can be significant. In fact, it can amount to tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Homeowners Insurance

Having bad credit can even affect your homeowners insurance. Insurance companies will review your credit to help predict losses by determining if you are a risky customer and if you are more likely to file claims. If you have lower scores, this may affect your annual premium, raising your total monthly payment.

If you are looking to purchase or refinance and you have lower credit scores, it will be beneficial for you to work on raising your scores. You may still be able to obtain a mortgage with less than perfect credit by going either FHA or VA. But if you are looking to do Conventional you will end up saving money if you raise your scores. If you have questions about how your credit scores will affect your mortgage or would like to know ways to help raise your scores, give us a call at 541-683-3300.

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on March 30th, 2018 9:26 AM

A cash-out refinance is the process of replacing your old mortgage with a new mortgage of a larger amount and receiving the difference of the amount in cash. Cash-out refinances are a great option if you have equity in your home and you need cash for certain expenses. Home equity increases when you pay down your loan balance and can also increase if your home gains value due to a healthy real estate market or home improvements. There are many uses of the cash from a cash-out refinance but here are some of the most typical uses:

1. Paying off high interest debt from credit cards
Paying off high interest debt from credit cards can end up saving you hundred and possibly thousands of dollars a month while also reducing your overall debt.

2. Paying off student loans 

Paying off the debt from student loans can also lower monthly payments and reduce your overall debt. 

3. Remodeling your home

Home improvements can be quite expensive and difficult for most people to fund. When you take cash out, you can fund the needed or wanted repairs in your home. 

4. Use for college funds 
If either yourself or a family member of yours needs the funds to go to college, a cash-out refinance can be a great option for you to receive such funds. 

5. Use toward the purchase of an investment (rental) property

The cash you receive back from your primary residence cash-out refinance can be applied towards the purchase of an investment property. 

Cash-out refinances can be a wonderful tool. To find out if a cash-out refinance is something that would benefit you and your needs, contact us at 541-683-3300! 

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on March 16th, 2018 1:28 PM

Have you found a home in a great neighborhood, but it’s in bad shape? There are loan programs that will help you finance the fixer-upper! The Conventional Homestyle and the FHA 203k Mortgage programs will let you purchase a home and fund the needed or wanted repairs all in one loan. 

FHA 203k Loan

Purchase or refinance

Owner occupied only. 1-4 Unit properties, Planned Unit Developments, and FHA approved condominiums.

FHA down payment as low as 3.5%

6% Seller Concessions allowed

Flexible credit qualifying

Conventional Homestyle Loan

• Purchase or refinance

• 1-4 Units properties. Owner occupied, second homes and investment properties.

• Down payment as low as 5%

If you would like more information about the Conventional Homestyle or FHA 203k loan, give us a call at 541-683-3300. We would be happy to help you!

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on March 2nd, 2018 1:01 PM

What is Refinancing?
Refinancing is the process of replacing and paying off a current mortgage with a new mortgage. Refinancing is typically done if it offers a better interest rate and term to save the borrowers some money.  The original mortgage will be paid off, allowing for the new mortgage to be created. If you have a loan that has a high interest rate or making your payments has been tougher than you expected, you may consider refinancing. Below we have listed some of the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage: 


1. Save money: A typical reason to refinance your mortgage is to get a new loan with a lower interest rate than your current interest rate. In the long run, a lower interest rate could end up saving you a significant amount of money. 

2. Lower monthly payments: Usually when you refinance into a mortgage with a lower interest rate, you can end up having lower monthly payments. This leaves you with more money accessible for other monthly obligations. 

3. Shorten the term of the loan: You may refinance to shorten the term of your loan. For instance, if you have a 30-year loan you might refinance into a 15-year loan to get rid of your debt faster. 

4. Change the type of loan: You may refinance to change the type of your loan. If you currently have a variable-rate loan and want a set monthly payment for the life of the loan, you might consider refinancing into a fixed rate loan. 


1. Transaction cost: Like any home loan, refinancing will still have closing costs. It is important to consider this and make sure refinancing will benefit you and end up saving you money. 

2. Debt: It is important to realize that your loan balance will not change if you refinance. You may have lower monthly payments and a lower interest rate on your new loan but you still have debt.  

As always, you should converse with your mortgage consultant about whether or not refinancing will benefit you and your needs. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment to talk about whether or not you should refinance, call 541-683-3300! We are always happy to help. 

Posted in:Mortgage
Posted by Mike Herborn on February 23rd, 2018 1:56 PM

1. What is the first step I should take when I want to buy a home? 
The first step you should take when you want to buy a home is to go in to speak with a lender. This will help determine how much you can afford and the price range for a house you may be approved for. This will also put you in a better position as a buyer when you are ready to make an offer on a house. 

2. What credit score do I need to buy a house? 
There are many factors that go into what kind of credit score you need to get approved for a loan. The minimum credit score you need to get approved for a loan will depend on the type of loan you qualify for. It will also depend on how much of a down payment you are willing to put down. 

3. How much do I need for a down payment? 
The amount needed for a down payment will also vary depending on a couple of factors. The price of the home you choose and the loan terms that you get approved for. There are different loan options that may let you put down as low as 3% Conventional or 3.5% FHA. There are also 100% financing options and down payment assistance programs that you may qualify for. However, it is important to realize you are required to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) if you put less than 20% down. This will add to your monthly mortgage payment, so it is a good idea to consider this when deciding on how much you would like to put down. 

4. What are my options for a home loan as a senior? 
There are various options for senior citizens looking to get a home loan. If you have enough regular income, you may be able to qualify for a regular mortgage. If you are on living on fixed income such as pensions, social security, or a retirement account you may not be approved for a regular mortgage. However, if you are a homeowner of age 62 or older with equity built up in your home, you may be able to do a Reverse Mortgage. This type of mortgage lets you convert part of the equity in your home into tax-free income and no monthly mortgage payments while you still reside there. 

5. What are some first-time home buyer programs? 

In Oregon, there are many great down payment assistance programs for first-time home buyers. If you are a first-time home buyer locally in the Eugene or Springfield area you may look into local programs such as Eugene HAP, Springfield SHOP, and NEDCO IDA. If you are not looking to buy locally in the area you can click the link below for some more information on down payment assistance programs in Oregon. 

6. What costs are included in my monthly mortgage payment? 

One of the most important aspects to remember is that your monthly mortgage payment will not cover all of the other expenses of home-ownership. Typically, your monthly mortgage payment will include the principal, interest, property taxes, insurance and if you have less than 20% down you will also have PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). It will not include all of the other usual monthly payments such as utilities, internet, cable, and HOA (Homeowners Association) fees. It is important to consider this when determining what kind of house payment you will feel comfortable with once you are ready to buy. 

We hope this answered some of the questions that may have been on your mind. We are always happy to answer any more questions that come up, so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 541-683-3300. 

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on February 19th, 2018 2:20 PM