Whether you are looking to buy or sell, your credit score can play a major role in your finance approval. By definition, your credit score is a number that reflects your credit worthiness at any given point in time. When a landlord, lender or credit card company is asked to loan money, they run a credit report to determine the amount of risk involved in investing in you, the applicant. Loan approval and the amount of money you are eligible to receive is one of the most critical elements of your real estate transaction – which makes it important to understand how credit scores work.

Your credit score is calculated based on a number of different factors. These factors are broken down below by percentage of consideration:

  • The number of new account and credit requests you’ve made (10%)
  • Your credit risk (10%)
  • The length of your credit history (15%)
  • Your total indebtedness (30%)
  • Your payment history or record of paying your bills on time (35%)

If you have questions about your credit score and real estate financing or want to see what type of loan you could be pre-approved for, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am here to help!

Carlos Figueira – NMLS# 147484


Keypoint Mortgage LLC

Posted by: cfigueira | September 25, 2018

6 Steps to Take Now to Buy a home

Now is the time to get things in order for a home search next year.

If you’re thinking about buying a home in 2018, November and December are the perfect time to “warm up” for the house hunt so you can hit the ground running in the new year.

I’ve asked real estate professionals to chime in about what prospective home buyers should do to ready themselves for buying a home. From learning what to look for at an open house to save money to find a real estate agent and mortgage lender, there is plenty to keep you busy!

6 Steps to Be Ready to Buy a House in 2018

1. Check your credit score.

A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher your score, the better.Good credit is like gold when obtaining a mortgage.  Typically, you’ll get the best interest rate on a mortgageif your score is 740 and above.  If your credit score falls short, get busy repairing it. Correct any errors that might be on your report, start paying all your bills on time, and get your credit limit raised. Note, though, that you shouldn’t max out your card each month. It’s best to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.

2. Don’t open new credit cards.

Turn down every offer to open a credit card, even if you could save 20 percent (or more!) on your holiday purchases. Tempting as saving at checkout can be, opening new credit may hurt your chances of getting a mortgage, or at least of getting the best rate on a loan.

By opening the account, you have created another line of credit.  That credit line, and what is borrowed, can change the application numbers and jeopardize the application.  What could save you a few dollars now could cost you far more in the long run if your mortgage payments will be higher. And along those same lines, Don’t overspend during the Holidays or on a vacation.  Especially on impulse purchases that can be tempting.

3. Suggest financial gifts for the holidays.

Besides the mortgage loan, you’ll need a sizable amount of cash to buy a house. There’s the down payment to consider, closing costs, and moving costs. You should also set aside money for unexpected repairs and costs.  Not being prepared “is probably why nearly half of millennial’s have incurred unexpected costs during the mortgage process.

A potential solution? Bulk up that emergency fund.  Instead of getting gifts for the holidays or a birthday [prospective homebuyers] can suggest cash instead that will be put toward their home. Remember, you might be getting some money back after you file your tax return. Don’t blow it on vacation.  A tax refund is a great way to add to your cash reserves for a down payment.

4. Interview potential real estate agents.

If your neighbor, relative, or friend of a friend happens to know (or is) a real estate agent, that’s great. This person might be the perfect agent for you But you owe it to yourself to shop around. “Look for [an agent] who is knowledgeable, good, integral, and can assist you in reaching the goal of homeownership.  Make sure they are not a novice, new, or just unaware of how to do a specific transaction.  The end of the year is usually a slow time for agents, so chances are they’ll be more accommodating to making an appointment on your schedule.

5. Find a mortgage lender.

Before you even start looking for a home (and yes, we even mean browsing online listings), look for a mortgage broker to find out if you can afford to buy a home. If you can’t right now, there’s no use torturing yourself by finding your dream home that’s just out of reach.  Your real estate agent can also refer a good mortgage broker to you.   Once you know how much home you can afford, perform your home search based on your preapproval amount or less.

6. Get preapproved.

When a mortgage broker gives your financials the once-over and preapproves you for a mortgage, you’ll be able to show sellers that you really can buy their house. But how do you get preapproved? By preparing a few documents, which you can do several months in advance of the actual purchase. Here’s what you need to buy a house.

  • Tax returns for the past two years
  • W-2 forms for the past two years
  • Paycheck stubs from the past 30 days
  • A list of all your assets, including bank statements, auto titles, real estate, and any investment accounts

Also do not to change jobs, make big purchases, or miss any debt payments as you prepare to get a mortgage.


Posted by: cfigueira | March 6, 2018

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

Power outages commonly occur during winter storms. Here’s a look at what you should and shouldn’t do if you find yourself caught in the dark.


Close doors and cover windows to concentrate heat.
Eat and stay hydrated to provide your body heat-producing energy.
Wear a hat and dress in layers of warm, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
Use Blankets
Employ fire safety and proper ventilation when using backup heat sources such as a fireplace, wood-burning stove or generator.
Ensure that assistive technologies such as respirators and mobility devices have backup power.
Stay at least 30 feet from power lines.


Use a generator, grill, camp stove or coal-burning device inside the house. This could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Plug a portable generator into a wall outlet. The generator will feed electricity back into the neighborhood, causing a safety hazard.
Put candles or oil lamps near flammable materials or leave them unattended.
Allow yourself to become dehydrated. It will interfere with your body’s ability to regulate temperature

Posted by: cfigueira | October 25, 2017

How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report

One of the biggest obstacles standing between you and that house or condo you want to buy may be your creditworthiness.
And, who is it that tells your lender whether or not you are worthy of getting a mortgage? Credit reporting bureaus — known collectively as “The Big 3” (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax), are the first to investigate how risky lending money to you may be.
Let’s take a look at how the determination is made and, more important, why you should be diligent in checking for mistakes made along the way.

The Big 3

Whenever you borrow money, whether it’s for a major purchase such as a car or home or with revolving credit, such as a charge card, the lender will report your repayment history to the Big 3.
But that’s just the beginning. These agencies also receive information about you from debt collectors and they purchase information from public records, such as tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies.
Most, but not all creditors report to all three agencies. Some don’t report to any.

How They Determine Your Credit Worthiness

Each of the three agencies “has its own model for evaluating the information in your credit report and assigning you a credit score,” according to the experts at Equifax. This is why your score may be different with each agency.
A big chunk of your credit score is determined by the types of credit accounts you have and how many you have.
Equifax, for example, bases 15 percent of its determination on these factors.
Payment history, however, is the most important factor.

The Big 3 Are Only Part Of The Story

The three credit reporting agencies report to credit scoring companies, such as FICO®, short for Fair Isaac Corporation. About 90 percent of lenders in the country use a borrower’s FICO® Score when determining whether or not to approve a loan.
FICO® examines each credit report, looking for the following:
  • Payment history – accounts for 35 percent of the credit score
  • Amount of money owed – makes up 30 percent of the credit score
  • Length of credit history – 15 percent of the credit score
  • New credit and credit mix – each make up 10 percent of the borrower’s credit score
The company then assigns you a credit risk score, from 300 (considered poor) to 850. Borrowers with credit scores of 740 or higher qualify for the lowest mortgage interest rates from the majority of lenders.
Those with scores lower than 620 will find it challenging to obtain a loan and, if they do manage to get approved, will typically pay much higher interest rates.

Everybody Makes Mistakes

Your credit score is only as good as the information supplied to the credit reporting agencies. And, errors are common.
“As many as 42 million Americans have errors on their credit reports,” according to CNN Money
Some of these mistakes are egregious enough to ding the consumers’ credit scores. When you’re getting your finances in order to go after that loan preapproval letter, check your credit reports (from all three agencies) carefully.
Some of the most common errors, according to the Federal Trade Commission, include:
  • Identity information – Ensure that your name, address and social security number are accurate. “Mixed files,” those that contain information from two consumers with similar names, are common.
  • Accounts – Check each account to ensure that it is truly yours. Identity theft is another common reason for errors in a credit report.
  • Status – Check that the status of each account (open or closed) is listed correctly.
  • Delinquent accounts – Verify that an account listed as delinquent is actually delinquent.
  • Dates – Each account should list when the account was opened, closed and the date of the last payment. Ensure these dates are correct.
  • Double entries – Dispute any debt that is listed more than once, even if they have different account names or different creditor names.
  • Corrected information – If you’ve received a correction to a previous dispute, ensure that the information in the current report remains corrected.
  • Balances and limits – Check all the outstanding balances and credit limits to ensure they’re correct.

How To Correct Errors In Your Credit Reports

Each credit report includes information on how to dispute information contained in it.
  • Experian – handles all their disputes online. Learn more, here.
  • Equifax – they, too, handle all disputes online. Go to equifax.com to get the details.
  • TransUnion – dispute your credit report online, by mail or phone.
The dispute process takes time, so start it as soon as you’ve decided to purchase a home.

If you have questions about your credit score and real estate financing or want to see what type of loan you could be pre-approved for, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am here to help!

Carlos Figueira – NMLS# 147484


Keypoint Mortgage LLC

Assess your requirements: Firstly, you need to determine your needs and wants. Consider all important aspects such as your need to purchase a home in the current market, the neighborhood, proximity to schools, entertainment, logistics etc. Once you prioritize your needs, look out for the most suitable areas and real estate properties that fulfill all of your requirements.

Calculate your costs to make a purchase within your budget: The down payment is a concern for most of the homebuyers who think of buying a home. You need to be aware of the taxes involved, property insurance and closing costs to ensure that the total calculated cost doesn’t exceed your budget.

Call Keypoint Mortgage and explore mortgage options: By choosing a professional loan officer, you can make the home buying process hassle free. A loan officer can suggest to you various flexible loan programs with lower down payment and a lesser interest rate.

Be financially ready: Before you decide to buy a home, you need to be financially stable and secure. You can also figure out your current credit score by getting your credit report. A lender can also educate you about various other eligibility factors to increase the possibility of loan approval.

Start gathering documents: Apart from calculating costs, you need to keep the essential documents ready to submit during loan processing. Documents range from income tax records, bill payments, employer verification, bank and asset statements, etc. After submitting these documents, an underwriter will evaluate each parameter to determine your eligibility to receive a loan.

Look out for first time home buyer programs: You need to look out for various factors like pricing trends, mortgage rates, depending upon your preferred location. For instance, as a first time home buyer in a state like Texas, you can look out for different grants and programs that can assist you in financing. FHA and USDA loan programs are widely popular among home buyers who look for smaller down payment and low interest rates.

Find the right real estate agents: You need to find a reputed and trustworthy realtor who can assist you in first time home buying. You can ask for recommendations from friends/relatives to look out for agents who specialize in the kind of property you wish to buy.

Posted by: cfigueira | January 20, 2014

Which are the 50 safest communities in New Jersey?

Mahwah is the safest community in New Jersey, according to one security organization.Star-Ledger file photo

New Jersey’s safest community straddles the state’s border with New York.

That’s according to a ranking published by security organization SafeWise, which has determined Mahwah is the Garden State’s safest place.

Mahwah, a township of about 26,000 in northern Bergen County, edged Sparta in Sussex County for top honors.

SafeWise determined its rankings by combining 2011 FBI crime data with other factors such as unique safety initiatives and security programs, the company said in a release.

A municipality must have at population of at least 15,000 to qualify for the list.

SafeWise said it was impressed with the Mahwah police’s Stay Connected app in which citizens can report zoning violations, service requests and other concerns. Mahwah police didn’t report any murders, rapes, robberies or arson in 2011.

Two other Bergen communities also made SafeWise’s top 10: No. 6 Dumont and No. 8 Bergenfield.

Sparta got high marks for its low poverty rate (1.5 percent). Sparta cops reported fewer than 20 burglaries in 2011.

“From relaxed rural countrysides to fast-paced city living, the 50 safest communities in New Jersey share one critical, crime stopping characteristic: community cohesiveness” SafeWise security analyst Alexia Chianis said.

Here is SafeWise’s Top 50:
1. Mahwah (Bergen)
2. Sparta (Sussex)
3. Warren (Somerset)
4. Washington (Morris)
5. Bernards (Somerset)
6. Dumont (Bergen)
7. Hopatcong (Sussex)
8. Bergenfield (Bergen)
9. Madison (Morris)
10. Plainsboro (Middlesex)
11. New Milford (Bergen)
12. Montgomery (Somerset)
13. Wyckoff (Bergen)
14. Monroe (Middlesex)
15. Ridgewood (Bergen)
16. Readington (Hunterdon)
17. Hopewell Township (Mercer)
18. Morris Township (Morris)
19. Hillsborough (Somerset)
20. Montville (Morris)
21. Randolph (Morris)
22. Raritan Township (Hunterdon)
23. Cliffside Park (Bergen)
24. Mount Olive (Morris)
25. Manchester (Ocean)
26. Fort Lee (Bergen)
27. Princeton (Mercer)
28. Marlboro (Monmouth)
29. East Windsor (Mercer)
30. Jefferson (Morris)
31. Palisades Park (Bergen)
32. Manalapan (Monmouth)
33. Scotch Plains (Union)
34. Cranford (Union)
35. Denville (Morris)
36. Westfield (Union)
37. Parsippany (Morris)
38. Barnegat (Ocean)
39. Pequannock (Morris)
40. Nutley (Essex)
41. South Brunswick (Middlesex)
42. Roxbury (Morris)
43. West Milford (Passaic)
44. Summit (Union)
45. Lakewood (Ocean)
46. Fair Lawn (Bergen)
47. Middletown (Monmouth)
48. Medford (Burlington)
49. Piscataway (Middlesex)
50. Hazlet (Monmouth)

By: Jeff Golman/The Star-Ledgar

Rumors continue to swirl of a potential government shutdown if a budget agreement cannot be reached by Friday April 8th.  In the event that a budget agreement can not be reached, a government shutdown would affect several areas of the mortgage business.

• IRS Tax transcript: In the event that the IRS is not open, Lenders will be unable to obtain tax transcripts.  It is our policy that tax transcripts must be received prior to the closing of a loan.

• Flood insurance:
Borrowers living in flood zone areas may have difficulty obtaining flood insurance through FEMA during this period.
• FHA: We have been advised that during the shutdown FHA Connection will be operational and that case numbers can still be obtained.  However, during the shutdown, no one will be able to perform CAIVRS’ checks or obtain insurance endorsements, including lender insurance.  We anticipate a mortgagee letter will be released prior to the shutdown to address the systems and functions that will be affected.
• Rural Housing: We have learned that USDA will allow our Lenders to close loans for which we had already received a commitment.  During the shutdown, USDA will not issue any new commitments or Loan Note Guarantees for closed loans.  Unlike FHA, the GUS system will not be available during the hiatus.

At East Coast Mortgage Corp., our goal is to keep you informed.  We are working to minimize consequences that may affect our business because of a government shutdown.

Posted by: cfigueira | April 7, 2011

FHA Case Numbers

Potential Government Shut down

While it is unknown at this time if congress will pass a balanced budget, East Coast Mortgage Corp.  strongly suggests that any pending case numbers be ordered as soon as possible in the event that the government does a temporary shut down. If a shut down does occur, it is believed that FHA connection will not support ordering case numbers. Again, I strongly suggest that you order your case numbers today.

Posted by: cfigueira | April 5, 2011

UPDATE: TILA Compensation


TILA Compensation Rule Stay Dissolved On April 5, 2011.  The U.S. Court of Appeals ordered that the stay on the TILA Compensation Rule be dissolved. Loan applications received by East Coast Mortgage Corp. on or after April 6, 2011 will be subject to the rule.

Posted by: cfigueira | April 1, 2011

Loan Originator Compensation Rules

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has granted a temporary stay of the implementation of the Federal Reserve Board’s Loan Originator Compensation rules. The court has directed the defendant Federal Reserve Board to file a reply brief by Monday April 4th. The plaintiffs, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) and the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals (NAIHP), have until Tuesday morning April 5th to file their reply briefs. After that filing takes place the Appeals court can order a hearing or make a decision on the basis of the filed briefs. The stay the court has ordered is a temporary measure freezing things in place while the appeal is considered. If the court decides in favor of the NAMB and NAIHP then the most likely course of action would be that the case would move back to the District Court. The stay would probably be extended to cover the period of time the case is in the District Court and could be extended further if there is another appeal. If the Appeals Court decides in favor of the Federal Reserve the stay will be dissolved upon the issuance of the decision

Older Posts »