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Mortgage FAQ

This page is dedicated to answering some of the most common questions related to mortgage loans and the mortgage process. If you can’t find the answers you were looking for please call (773) 575-1609 or use the online contact form.

General Mortgage Questions

How Soon After A Derogatory Event On My Credit Can I Apply For an FHA Loan?
Derogatory EventWaiting Period Requirements
Bankruptcy—Chapter 7 or 112 years from discharge date
Bankruptcy—Chapter 131 year out of the payout period
Foreclosure3 years
Mortgage Modification3 years
Short Sale(Deed in lieu of foreclosure)3 years
How Soon After A Derogatory Event On My Credit Can I Apply For A Conventional Loan?
Derogatory EventWaiting Period Requirements
Bankruptcy—Chapter 7 or 114 years
Bankruptcy—Chapter 132 years from discharge date, or 4 years from dismissal date
Multiple Bankruptcy Filings5 years if more than one filing within the last 7 years
Foreclosure7 years
Mortgage Modification4 years
Short Sale(Deed in lieu of foreclosure)2 years
Advantages of using a mortgage broker over a bank
In seeking a mortgage, an individual needs to decide whether to apply to a bank or to use a mortgage broker. Over half of all Americans enlist the services of a mortgage broker to find them the best terms and rates. Why? Brokers provide consumers with:

Choice of Mortgage Porgrams

Mortgage brokers have regular contact with a wide variety of lenders, some of whom you may not even know about (some lenders work exclusively with mortgage brokers). The alternative to working with a broker is to call up dozens of lenders and compare their mortgage terms and rates on your own. A broker saves you the time and headache of having to do that. A broker also can steer you away from certain lenders with onerous payment terms buried in their mortgage contracts.

You May Save Some Fees

There are several different types of fees that can be involved in taking on a new mortgage or working with a new lender, including origination fees, application fees, and appraisal fees. In some cases, mortgage brokers may be able to get lenders to waive some or all of these fees which can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Competitive Interest Rates

Brokers help keep loan rates low due to their minimal overhead and setup costs, and from the consumer perspective, with rare exception, the broker does not get paid unless and until the loan closes.


The biggest advantage of mortgage brokers is that they know the business. A person might need to obtain a mortgage only once or twice in her life. Typically, this is all a broker does. Brokers are aware of the entire market. They follow the trends, know what mortgage products are available and are aware of which institutions might be offering special discounts. They may know of exclusive deals that are not offered on the open market. They are able to identify the most appropriate lender for the specific circumstances of a borrower.


Another significant benefit of the broker is that they handle the paperwork and the interaction with the institutions. This saving of time, work and stress is a big factor for many individuals who retain a mortgage broker. Because brokers develop professional and personal relationships with representatives of lenders, they can frequently reduce the processing time of an application.

Brokers’ Interests Align With Your Own

Because brokers, unlike bank employees, are compensated only after closing of the loan, they will make sure customer loan pre-approval is thorough and that customers are fully prepared and informed throughout the entire mortgage process, until the loan closes. Customer satisfaction and convenience also increases the chances for return business, new referrals and reinforces stronger relationships with the Realtors, thus the broker has the ultimate incentive to provide the best possible customer service.

Mortgage brokers are also more regulated and monitored than bank employees and often a higher standard of knowledge and experience is required to maintain mortgage broker license.

Can I borrow money to build a house?
Unfortunately, currently no construction, or construction-to-permanent loans are available through BIZ Inc., The only exception are some instances of VA (Veteran Administration) loans.
How much can I borrow?
Your current income (which includes commission, bonuses, overtime – i.e. any additional money that is subject to tax) will determine how much you can borrow. Some lenders calculate borrowing ability by a straightforward multiple of your income while others will work out your net disposable income and then allow you borrow a percentage of that. We will help you calculate how much you can borrow.

Mortgage Programs

What are the most popular home loan programs?
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

The 30 year fixed rate mortgage is one of the most popular and secure home loan options available, especially if you want your monthly payments to be low and never change. Apply now for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage.

15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage

If you’re looking to save thousands in interest expense and you want to own your home quicker versus a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, a 15 year fixed rate mortgage could be good for you. Plus, your payment and interest rate will never change during the term of this mortgage. Apply now for a 15 year fixed rate mortgage.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

Take advantage of the lowest rate available with an adjustable rate mortgage! It’s a great loan option if rates are on the decline or you’re staying in your home for a short time. Apply now for your ARM.

FHA Loan

Offering loan flexibility and rate security if you want it, an FHA loan is an easy way to get a new home loan. Downpayments can be as low as 3.5%. Apply now for your FHA loan.

VA Loan

With relaxed credit standards and low down payment options, the VA loan is geared specifically to help veterans and military personnel get a mortgage and own a home. Apply now for your VA loan.

Jumbo Loan

If your home loan amount exceeds the current conforming loan limit (in most cases $417,000), a Jumbo loan is likely a good choice for you. Jumbo loans can be of the fixed or adjustable variety. Apply now for a Jumbo loan.

Interest Only Mortgage

An interest only mortgage is great if you are interested in the lowest possible monthly payment for an initial period of time. Apply now for an interest only mortgage.

How long do I have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) on my loan?
If you obtained your loan after July 29, 1999, you can request cancellation of PMI when your loan- to-value (LTV) reaches 80%.

Cancellation requires that you have a good payment history, the property value has not decreased, and you can certify that there are no liens against your property.
Lenders are required (by the Homeowner’s Protection Act of 1998) to terminate PMI at 78% LTV (based on the amortization schedule) if the loan is current or has reached the midpoint of the payoff.

What is the difference between private mortgage insurance and homeowners insurance?
A homeowners insurance (or hazard insurance) policy covers loss from damages to your home, your belongings and accidents as outlined in your policy.

Mortgage insurance is required if you have less than 20% equity (or down payment) in your home and protects the mortgage lender from losses if a customer is unable to make loan payments and defaults on the loan.

What is the minimum down payment for conventional, FHA, and VA loans?
While conventional loans (those not backed by a government agency) usually require a minimum down payment of 5%, we also have other low-down payment programs.

  • FHA mortgages are available for as little as 3.5% down. Although FHA loans have the benefit of a low down payment, in many instances, FHA may be a more expensive financing option and should be considered after thoroughly evaluating all other product options that meet your credit qualifying and financial needs.
  • VA mortgages have a no-down payment option for eligible veterans.

Applying for mortgage

Will homeowners insurance be required at closing?
Proof of homeowners insurance will be required before you can close your loan. Typically, you will need to present an insurance binder and pay for one year’s worth of insurance coverage.
How can I start the mortgage application?
Many convenient ways are available to start the mortgage application process:

What documents and information will I need?
You should prepare the following for all borrowers on mortgage application:

  • 1 month of most recent pay stubs
  • 2 years of most recent W2s
  • 2 years of most recent Federal tax returns (all pages, all schedules)
  • Information regarding employment (if less than 2 years at current job, please include previous job or school to complete a 2 year history). For each job please include:
    • Official position / title
    • Business name of the institution
    • Full address of the institution
    • Telephone number to HR for verification of employment
    • Dates of employment (from-to)
  • Current residential address (if less than 2 years at current address, include previous address information to complete a 2 year history), For each address please include:
    • Dates (from-to)
    • Indicate if owned or rented
    • Indicate mortgage payment, annual real estate taxes, and hazard insurance (if rent, indicate monthly rent)
      • If mortgage present, please include latest mortgage statement (all pages)
  • Current contact telephone number
  • 2 most recent bank statements (all pages, even blank!) showing liquid assets available for down payment and reserves (checking, savings, 401K, IRA, stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • We will also need to check your credit history.

Mortgage Costs and fees

When can I lock the interest rate and how much does it cost?
Unlike many lenders, BIZ Inc. does not charge lock-in fees.

You can lock anytime you locate a property, or start your refinancing process, up until ten business days before the closing. You can select a specific length of time for your lock, usually 15, 30 or 60 days.

Before choosing a lock-in period, ask us to estimate the time necessary to process your loan. Longer lock-ins are usually better. If the loan doesn’t close on time, lenders can extend your lock for free (if market conditions are favorable), charge more for the extension, or charge an additional percentage of the loan amount.

What if interest rates fall?

If interest rates fall during the lock period, you can’t take advantage of the lower rate unless you have included a “float down” provision in the original lock and advise the lender that you want to take advantage of it.

What is the difference between “locking” and “floating” interest rate?
  • Locking ensures that your loan pricing will be unaffected during the lock-in period by giving you a specified period of protection from financial market fluctuations in interest rates.
    Your final rate, which may not be determined until closing, will reflect the pricing that was available at the time you locked.
  • Floating – or not locking – means your rate will fluctuate with the up and down movements of the market.
    The benefit to floating is if interest rates were to decrease, you would have the option of locking in at a lower level of rates.
How much money will be required at closing?
The amount you’ll need to close your loan includes your down payment, closing costs, and prepaid amounts for property taxes , and insurance escrow accounts. We will provide you with a good faith estimate (GFE) of settlement costs when your loan application is accepted. Within 24 hours of your closing, the closing agent will provide you with the final amount that you will need to close.
How are interest rates determined?
Interest rates are influenced by the financial markets and can change daily – or multiple times within the same day. The changes are based on many different economic indicators in the financial markets. View our current interest rates.