Eugene Mortgage News

Are you struggling to find a property that you can afford, here are a couple of suggestions: First, use a mortgage broker. Our interest rates and fees are typically less than our competitors. Recently, we had a buyer working with a local lender, and that lender’s interest rate was .75% higher than what we could get them, and their fees were $2,200 higher than ours. That .75% in rate could be a breaking point for buyers. Secondly, take a look at other loans/interest rate programs to help with affordability, like a 2-1 Buydown. With a buydown, you can purchase a home with lower monthly mortgage payments to start. The payment is temporarily reduced as if the rate were ‘bought’ down for the first 1-2 years of the loan. Having a lower payment for the first few years is great for you if you need to ease into a mortgage and are expecting to be in a better financial situation a little down the line.  Lastly, look at single premium mortgage insurance, which could possibly be paid by the seller. We have other suggestions as well.  Please contact Stepping Stone Mortgage at 541-683-3300 with any questions you may have about mortgage home loans.

Posted by Mike Herborn on September 21st, 2022 12:13 PM

Rents in Oregon will be increasing soon!  

In the State of Oregon, Starting Jan. 1, 2023, landlords in Oregon are allowed to legally increase rents by up to 14.6%.  If you are paying $1600 in rent, it could increase to $1833 a month.

We do have a few home loan programs that could get you out of renting and into a home.  

  • Down Payment Assistant Program - Down payment assistance is in the form of a grant,
  • equal to either 2% or 3.5% of the purchase price, combined with 6% seller-paid concessions
  • 100% Financing – 2 programs
    • USDA financing in eligible rural areas and meeting the income eligibility
    • VA-100% financing for military veterans
  • Low 3.5% Down Payment Programs-FHA and Conventional Programs

Please give us a call at 541-683-330 with your questions or click on the link below and apply!

Applying for your loan is easy!


Stepping Stone Mortgage, Inc. is a qualified mortgage lender with all loan officers and processing staff trained to handle your questions. Our dedicated staff will help you through the loan process in a very efficient manner for you to purchase or refinance your home.

Posted by Mike Herborn on September 14th, 2022 1:25 PM

Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral

Disabled and senior citizens can "borrow" money from the state of Oregon to pay property taxes.   To apply or find out more about this deferral program, please click on the following link State of Oregon tax deferral programs

Lane County has other property tax exemption programs available

  1. Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse
  2. Surviving Spouse of Public Safety Officer

Lane County has property tax special assessments for

  1. Farm Land
  2. Timber Land

To apply or learn more about the other property tax exemption or assessments, please click on the following link Lane County Assessment and Taxation or you can reach them at 541-682-4321. OFFICE HOURS: Monday-Thursday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


Posted by Mike Herborn on September 7th, 2022 1:39 PM
Are you looking to build your own home and need a construction loan? There have been new updates to the requirements for construction loans that will make building your dream home more attainable! These new updates include:

  • Now as little as 10% down with a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) of 90%.
  • Six, nine, or twelve-month construction term programs allowing for payment of interest only during construction.
  • Tear-down and major renovation construction eligible for twelve-month construction period.
  • Soft costs (architectural, engineering, and permit fees) may be financed.
  • Offering 15 or 30-year loan terms.
  • Eligible property types are: 1-unit site-built homes, Planned unit development (PUD), Modular home, Site condominium (detached), Rural properties, Tear-downs & major renovation.

Give us a call at 541-683-3300 and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have! 

Posted in:General
Posted by Mike Herborn on August 25th, 2022 12:43 PM

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 August 25th, 2022 12:41 PM
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

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