Blog Articles from Allegiant Mortgage, LLC

The broker channel is still the best way for prospective homebuyers to get a mortgage. That’s the message of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts (AIME), a new professional association for mortgage brokers.

Posted by Rose Tignor on May 23rd, 2018 12:08 PM
Posted by Rose Tignor on February 12th, 2018 6:06 PM

     There aren't many 100% financing loan options available these days but one choice available to Tennesseans is the THDA Great Choice PLUS Program. While this is not a true 100% mortgage, the Great Choice PLUS Program provides qualified Tennesseans up to 5% downpayment and closing costs assistance to be used with FHA, VA, USDA-Rural Development and uninsured Conventional loans.  The 5% assistance is up from the previous amount of 4%.  A factor which has not changed with the new program is that homebuyer education is still required.  The easiest way to meet this requirement is to sign up for the online class.  To register for the online course, visit

     Great Choice Plus is technically a second mortgage, but it is not as complicated as it may sound. Since it is a 0% interest, non-amortizing, deferred loan, there are no monthly payments. The second mortgage loan is forgiven at the end of the term of the Great Choice first mortgage loan. If you choose to sell your home prior to the end of the loan term, or refinance your first mortgage loan, the second mortgage balance would be due.  This is another change from the previous version of the program which had a 10 year recapture period so that under the new program the recapture period is essentially the life of the first mortgage loan.

The following list outlines the minimum qualifications needed for the Great Choice Plus Program:

  1. Satisfactory credit history. THDA currently requires a 640 credit score. To find out your credit score, contact one of our approved lenders in your area. If your score is lower than 640, our homebuyer education counselors can help you with strategies to raise your credit score or visit our credit score resources page here.
  2. Household income not above maximum limits. Great Choice Loans are designed for low to moderate income Tennesseans. Income limits are based on the size of your household and county in which you will be purchasing your home. To see a list of maximum income limits by county, please click here.
  3. Purchase Price of home not above maximum limits. The Great Choice Loan Program is meant for modest homes, therefore maximum purchase price limits are in place and vary by county. To see a list of maximum purchase price limits by county, please click here.
 TO APPLY FOR THIS LOAN VISIT: or contact our office at 615-717-3185 for more information

Posted by Rose Tignor on February 13th, 2017 8:01 AM

Building your credit can help tremendously when trying to purchase a home. While we at Allegiant Home Loans do go down to a 580 FHA, it is always good to keep a high credit score. Here are some reasons why your credit is so important when it comes to making such a large purchase. 


Why your credit is so important

Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay. Lenders get your credit history by obtaining your credit score.

You’ll most likely need to borrow funds from a lender. This is why credit is such an important component to the home buying process.

What is a credit score?

A credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time. It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner. The better your history appears, the more attractive you become as a loan customer.

The lending industry follows these house-buying guidelines:

    • Better credit scores usually lead to better rates
    • Lower scores do not automatically disqualify you
    • As your credit information changes, your score changes

Do I need perfect credit?

Absolutely not. Lenders aren’t looking for consumers with “perfect credit.” If you feel you’re ready for homeownership, you may be continuing to rent unnecessarily instead of building equity in the home of your dreams. And the longer you put off buying a home, the longer it will take to build equity. It’s easy to apply for a loan. We have expert advice aimed specifically at first-time homebuyers.

Improving your Credit

There are several different ways you can improve your credit score. One way is through credit counseling or debt management agencies. These are “non-profit” companies that provide several different types of services.

Do I need credit counseling?

As with anything else in life, it’s nice to have someone guide us through the rough spots. That’s essentially what credit counseling is.

Credit counselors will work with both you and your lenders to find a fair resolution. Most lenders are willing to do this because they receive some of their owed money back in a timely fashion. As you improve your credit, your score will improve as well, which can widen your choice in homes.

How can I improve my credit score?

Some people need outside help, others don’t. Here are a few things you can do:

        • Cut back on unnecessary expenses
        • Apply the savings to paying off debts
        • Pay off and close multiple credit card accounts

Paying off your debts will generally improve your score within a few months. Keep this goal in mind and work toward it diligently.

Monitor Your Credit

Your credit score is a key determinant of the interest rates you’ll pay when borrowing money. Whether you have excellent, good, or poor credit, it’s important to monitor your credit situation.

Please consult with your attorney, financial consultant/planner, accountant, and/or tax advisor for advice concerning your particular circumstances. The information contained herein is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional, tax, financial or legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. The information or opinions contained herein should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any particular product or service.?
Posted by Rose Tignor on February 9th, 2016 9:04 AM

Your Investing Life: Buying your first home

These are some amazing tips that will help you in the long run when it comes to buying your first house.

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You've pictured walking up to your front door, opening it, and stepping across the threshold into a place you own. Now you're finally ready to make the leap and buy your first home. It's exciting—and probably a little nerve-wracking too.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you stress less as you get ready to become a homeowner.

Start a house savings fund

You'll want to have a decent-sized down payment already set aside before you start house hunting. Aim to have at least 20% of your home's purchase price saved, so you can avoid the added expense of private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Most lenders require you to pay PMI until you build up the equity—the amount of the home you own as opposed to your mortgage lender—to that percentage.

"You might be tempted to invest your down-payment dollars in something more aggressive than a money market fund or savings account, especially when interest rates are low," said Mary Ryan, a financial planner with Vanguard Asset Management Services.

"A word of caution, however. Investments such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds can go down as well as up. And because you'll need to use the money you've saved for your down payment, the possible gain might not be worth the investment risk," Ms. Ryan said.

Fix your price range

A good rule of thumb is to buy a home that's less than 2½ times your annual income. When you look at the amount you can afford to pay, include all the expenses that come with owning a home: taxes, utilities, maintenance, plus any home improvements you may want to make.

"One thing you want to watch out for is becoming 'house poor.' There's more to life than your home purchase," Ms. Ryan said. Try to find a balance between stretching a little—an extra $20 a month over the course of 15 or 30 years might make sense—and stretching too much. It's your first home, so you may have to compromise on your dreams a bit to keep your budget from bursting.

Polish your credit history

Request copies of your credit report before starting your home search. Make sure your credit history on the reports is accurate and work to fix any problems that you find. A clean credit history puts you in a stronger position to get a mortgage and helps make you more attractive to sellers.

Prepare with preapproval

Work with a mortgage lender or bank to get prequalified for a mortgage loan. You—and the owners of the home you'll potentially buy—will know that you've been approved. You'll also have an idea of what your monthly payments will be, minus any taxes or fees. Be prepared to provide some detailed financial information about yourself—along with a co-purchaser, such as a spouse or partner, if you'll have one. If you own your own business, you may have to provide several years' tax returns to verify your income.

Use retirement funds with care

Your employer may allow you to take a loan against your retirement plan balance for home purchases. The advantage of this type of loan is that, instead of paying the interest to a third party, you pay it back to yourself. Getting approved to take the loan also won't be as difficult as it might be when securing a mortgage from a lender, especially if your credit rating isn't the best. The interest rate you'll pay back could also be less than what a mortgage lender might demand.

However, this action could have some consequence on your finances if you change jobs before you pay off your loan balance. Most employers require you to pay the outstanding balance in full when you leave. You may also give up some investment returns, depending on the rate you pay back to your plan account versus the rate of return you may have received if the loan amount remained invested.

Also, if you withdraw money from your IRA for a down payment on your first home, the normal 10% penalty that those younger than 59½ pay for withdrawals from traditional IRAs doesn't apply. And at any age, you can withdraw up to $10,000 penalty-free from an IRA to buy or build a first home for yourself, your spouse, kids, grandchildren, or parents.

While it can be an option, tapping your retirement savings, whether it's in an employer plan or an IRA, is something to consider carefully before moving ahead. You'll want to balance buying your first home now with your desire to meet your financial needs once you retire.

Find a great rate with a reputable lender

As the song says, "You better shop around." There are a number of sites on the internet that let you compare rates from multiple lenders and explore some of the additional costs and fees they charge. You can also check lenders' reputations to feel confident in the lender you choose. And, as with every contract, read the fine print, which will reveal any costly closing fees that can add to the purchase price.

You may have "points" on your mortgage. Each point, which is a fee paid to your lender, equals 1% of your loan amount. There are two types of points: Discount points allow you to prepay some interest on your loan to lower your rate and can be tax deductible, while origination points cover the lender's cost to create—or originate—your loan and aren't able to be deducted on your tax return.

To help you decide whether it makes sense to use points for your mortgage, consider the size of your down payment and the length of time you expect to be in your new home. If you have enough money saved for your down payment to pay the cost of discount points upfront or plan to be in your house for a long enough time to cover their cost, using points can make sense. There are zero-point loans available if you need to keep closing costs, including your down payment, as low as possible.

Consider the tax implications

You may qualify for some tax deductions, especially if you take out a mortgage to buy your home. You can find details about what you can deduct—and what you can't—at

The mortgage interest deduction allows you to deduct interest on up to $1 million of debt used to buy or improve a home. If you've previously just taken the standard deduction when filing your income tax form, "itemizing your tax deductions can be an attractive option once you buy your first home," said Sarah Hammer, an investment analyst in Vanguard's Investment Strategy Group.

If you chose to include discount points in your mortgage, you can deduct them provided the cash you paid at closing via a down payment equals the points you purchased.

You can also deduct local property taxes from your taxes each year, provided you aren't subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). It's common to reimburse the seller of your home for any local taxes already paid on the property. You may be able to deduct this amount in the year you buy your home, so check the settlement sheet you'll receive when you close on your home purchase to confirm this amount.

There are some tax credits (up to $500) available for energy-efficient home improvements. "A tax credit is more valuable than a deduction because it directly reduces the tax bill, dollar for dollar," Ms. Hammer said.

Also, keep your receipts from all the home improvements you make. You can add them to the price you paid for your home to determine its final purchase price, or its "cost basis," for tax purposes. If you invest a substantial amount of money into upgrading, you could end up reducing the amount of profit—the spread between the purchase and sale price—on your home, which may help you limit the tax you'd owe when (or if) you eventually sell.

Get a home inspection

Before you sign on the dotted line, it's a good idea to hire a licensed home inspector to give your potential new home a thorough once-over. The cost of the inspection will more than pay for itself if it allows you to avoid costly and unexpected repairs or gives you the opportunity to walk away from the purchase.

Consider hiring a buyer's agent

Engaging a buyer agent who's contractually bound to put your interests first can save you some money and headaches. Without that agreement, it's possible that both the seller's agent and the agent who showed you the home you're buying could be representing the seller's interests, rather than yours. A buyer's agent can help advise you during the bidding process.

Enjoy your new home

Buying a home is a big decision. But by taking a few sensible steps, you can feel confident taking that step and ready to "make this place your home."


  • All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
  • An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although a money market fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund.
  • We recommend that you consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual situation.

Posted by Rose Tignor on February 4th, 2016 7:59 AM
Buying a home for the first time can be both exhilarating and scary. It helps when you are well prepared and know what all you will need to bring to the table. This article should be able to help with that at least a little bit and make things easier for you.

Documents the mortgage lender will want from you

Mortgage lenders require paperwork that verifies every facet of your financial life: income, debts, assets and more.

The lender will request the following documents, so gather them before you apply for a mortgage.


  • W-2 forms from the previous two years, if you collect a paycheck.
  • Profit and loss statements or 1099 forms, if you own a business.
  • Recent paycheck stubs.
  • Most recent federal tax return, and possibly the last two tax returns.
  • A complete list of your debts, such as credit cards, student loans, car loans and child support payments, along with minimum monthly payments and balances.
  • List of assets, including bank statements, mutual fund statements, real estate and automobile titles, brokerage statements and records of other investments or assets.
  • Canceled checks for your rent or mortgage payments.

About the W-2s
Guidelines typically require the most recent Form W-2 wage and tax statement, but some borrowers are asked for two years of W-2s.

"If your loan hasn't closed by the time that new W-2s should be received by the employees, then (the lender) may ask for that, certainly," says Julie Miller, a residential mortgage planner for Broadview Mortgage Corp. in Tustin, California.

About the profit statement
Self-employed borrowers may have to submit a current-year profit and loss statement, especially if the year is more than half over or they haven't filed their prior year's tax return.

During the housing boom, many self-employed borrowers got loans with little or no income documentation. Those loans are rare now.

About paycheck stubs
Loan guidelines typically specify one month of verified income. You can prove this with paycheck stubs. Employees who are paid electronically may be able to access a corporate website to print out paycheck stubs.

About tax returns

You will be expected to provide tax returns, including all the pages and schedules. The returns will be scrutinized for unreimbursed employee business expenses, self-employment business losses and signs of loan fraud, such as reported income that doesn't match your W-2s.

You'll be required to sign IRS Form 4506-T, which allows the lender to get a transcript of the tax return from the IRS. It's not a bluff: The lender will get the transcript of your tax return straight from the IRS and compare it with the copy of the return that you gave to the lender.

Ordering your tax transcript "has become an industry standard as fraud prevention," says Brad Blackwell, executive vice president and portfolio business manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

About the list of debts

All the above documents (W-2s, paycheck stubs, tax returns) tell the lender how much you earn. The list of debts tells the lender how much you owe each month. The lender then calculates your debt-to-income ratio, which is key to the loan decision.

Debt-to-income ratio

Percentage of monthly income that is spent on debt payments, including mortgages, student loans, auto loans, minimum credit card payments and child support.

Debt payments / income

Example: Jessie and Pat together earn $5,000 a month. Their total debt payments are $2,000 a month. Their debt-to-income ratio is 40 percent ($2,000 divided by $5,000 = 0.4).

About the list of assets

The lender will want current bank statements, and possibly previous bank statements, too. These documents will be scrutinized to verify that you're telling the truth about the source of your down payment money. If you saved up for your down payment, without gifts from family, your bank records will verify that.

The lender will want to know your other assets, too. The lender wants evidence that you will have enough savings and investments to weather unexpected expenses after you have paid for the down payment and closing costs.

About canceled rent checks

Often, renters will be asked to supply 12 months of canceled rent checks and bank statements showing that the rent was paid on time. Renters without that documentation can provide the landlord's name and contact information for payment verification.

For current homeowners, the lender might ask for canceled checks and bank statements showing that the mortgage was paid on time. Any late payments are likely to show up on the credit report, too.

Speaking of the credit report

The lender will check your credit reports. Months or weeks before applying for a mortgage, check your own credit reports. Correct any errors, such as:

  • Accounts listed on your report that don't belong to you. Often this is mistaken identity; sometimes it's a sign that you're a victim of fraud.
  • Notations that say an account is open, when you have paid it off and closed it.
  • Incorrect details regarding credit limits, amounts owed, account opening dates.

Other documents you might have to provide

  • Home sale contract, including the purchase price.
  • Proof that a gift isn't a loan.

If you receive a cash gift or grant toward your down payment, you'll have to provide a letter from the giver that declares that the gift isn't a loan. The lender might even want a canceled check and the giver's bank statement.

"It's not that big a deal, except that Mom and Dad don't like to give (their kids) a copy of their bank statement, especially if there is a lot of money in the account," says Joe Metzler, who heads Mortgages Unlimited in St. Paul, Minnesota.

  • A lease agreement, if you're renting out your former home.
  • Proof of rental property income.
  • If your income includes rents from investment property, it needs to show up on your tax return. Canceled rent checks and bank statements showing those deposits might be OK if the property was purchased in the current calendar year.
  • Proof of a child's age if child support is counted as income.
  • Bankruptcy discharge papers.
  • A copy of a divorce decree might be requested in some cases.

Loan documentation tips

When asked for documents, provide them promptly. Never cross out, white out or alter any information on a document. "If you white out anything, it's not a valid document for our purposes," Miller says.

Always provide every page of every document -- even the pages that say "This page is blank." "They want that, too," says Peter Ogilvie, president of First Residential Mortgage Corp. in Santa Cruz, California. "If it says 'page one of seven,' they want to see all seven pages."

Finally, remain ready to supply updated documents. "Documents expire after 60 days," Blackwell says. "So if homebuyers take a long time in their house-hunting effort, we won't need the whole thing again, but they will have to bring the most current paycheck and that type of thing."


Posted by Rose Tignor on January 21st, 2016 8:52 AM
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If you’re young and looking to purchase a new home to live in, maybe you should consider “why your first home should be an investment property?” instead. While most people wait until after they’ve bought their first or second home to begin investing in real estate, you could start much sooner than you think.

In doing so you can leverage your less than perfect credit, less than perfect lifestyle and limited responsibilities into an investment.  All it takes is a little bit of smarts, and real estate shrewdness.

The idea of your first home as an investment goes against the general notions of personal finance. In fact it goes against how most people approach post-college life. The typical financial timeline for your average American adult might look like this:

  • College
  • First Job
  • First rental
  • Second/third rental
  • Marriage
  • Starter Home
  • Children
  • Second Home
  • Education
  • Investments

There’s nothing wrong with the above, it allows plenty of time to develop credit, save money, enjoy being young, and make plenty of questionable decisions.

But if you’re a 22 year old college graduate with a solid job (good for you), waiting until your well into your 30’s or 40’s to begin putting your income to work for you is a long time. Especially when you add up how much your investment property could increase in value while supplying you with rental income. Talk about lost opportunity.

Granted deciding to purchase a first home as an investment property is just as big of a decision as buying your first home. It will  require some lifestyle changes, careful planning and may even demand that you embrace your inner Bob Vila.

Here’s are five reasons why you should entertain the idea of investing in real estate while your young, and how to go about doing it.

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home

1. You’re Young

Aside from having no credit and, being young and on your own can be pretty amazing. You make your own rules, live where you want, buy what you want and travel whenever you can. But that can get old pretty quick especially if you have other goals in mind.

All the money you’re currently spending “living the life” while living in a crappy apartment, could be spent on “building the life” while living in a crappy apartment. Saving money to pay your bills on time and build up your credit isn’t impossible. In fact that it’s very possible and that’s really all you’ll need to qualify for a loan (more on that below). More importantly your lifestyle allows for penny pinching that you might not otherwise be able to undertake later in life because of larger obligations. Leaving you with plenty of cash for a down payment, or to purchase a distressed home.

2. Real Estate is Cheap

According to recent reports from National Association of Realtors home prices are on the rise. However, most real estate markets present many bargains to potential buyers in the form of distressed sales. Distressed sales are homes or properties that have usually been foreclosed on that the bank is willing to sell at a loss in order to clear it’s books. These distress sales also help to drive down the cost of all properties in the area because there is so much inventory.

There are thousands of distressed homes for sale right now. According to a February 2013 RealtyTrac report there are a total of 947,995 U.S. properties in some stage of foreclosure. Foreclosure related sales accounted for 21% of all U.S. residential sales during 2012.

Most economists agree that the market is poised for a rebound , it is simply a matter of when. Buying a distressed home right now would allow you to own an investment for significantly less than market value, especially as prices begin to rise.   Nevertheless, the question of “how much house can you afford?” still remains.

How Much House Can I Afford and Other Real Estate Questions

3. Rental Income

Rent increases are outpacing purchase increases in most locales due to demand and tighter restrictions on loan applications. If you are purchasing an investment property, your monthly mortgage payments may be less than the market price for rent. In other words you will make money, and have plenty left over to reinvest in your property.

4. FHA Loans

The timeline listed above has one major disadvantage, by the time you get to the age where real estate investing  typically takes place, you will be required to put at least 20% down. With current requirements that 20% is probably closer to 30-35%. But if you’re young you can purchase an investment property with much, much less than that. How? With an FHA loan.

If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s chances are your credit isn’t the greatest, which is why  FHA loans exist. If you decide that investing is for you, an FHA loan could be the perfect way to finance the purchase. There is one catch, FHA loans require that you live in the property you seek to purchase. However you can purchase a property with up to four rental units as long as plan to make one unit your primary residence. The rental income from the other three units is factored into whether or not you will be able to afford the loan.

Find out now: Do I qualify for an FHA loan?

5. Changing Demographics

According to a report produced by the Research Institute for Housing America,  home ownership among immigrants nationwide is expected to account for 36% of housing growth over the next decade. This is due in large part, according to the report, to the strong desires among immigrants to become homeowners.

Evidence of this can already be seen in rapidly changing urban neighborhoods. Would you want to miss out on the opportunity to own  property in a neighborhood that is set to see values skyrocket? Your future self probably wouldn’t.

Start figuring out if your first home should be an investment property with the SmartAsset,  “how much house can I afford?” calculator.

5 Signs You’re Not Ready to Buy a Home

Photo Credit: flickr

Posted by Rose Tignor on January 19th, 2016 9:14 AM

Applying For A Mortgage: Why So Much Paperwork? | Keeping Current Matters

We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank provebeyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again
  2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business. Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation. The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate probably at or below 4%.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of <4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

Posted by Rose Tignor on October 26th, 2015 11:46 AM

Why You Should Stop Renting & Buy Today! | Keeping Current Matters

There are many young people debating whether they should renew the lease on their apartment or sign a contract to purchase their first home.

Housing Cost & Net Worth

Whether you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing cost.

As a buyer, you are paying YOUR mortgage.

Every mortgage payment is a form of what Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls “forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The principal portion of your mortgage payment helps build your net worth through building the equity you have in your home.

As a renter, you are paying YOUR LANDLORD’Smortgage.

Below is an example of the home equity that would be accrued over the course of the next four years if you were to buy a home by the end of this year; based on the resultsof the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Home Equity Over The Next 4 Years | Keeping Current Matters

In this example, simply by paying your mortgage, you have just increased your net worth by over $34,000!

Bottom Line

Use your monthly housing cost to your advantage! Meet with a local real estate professional who can explain the opportunities available in your market
Posted by Rose Tignor on September 21st, 2015 8:15 AM


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