First Secuity Bank
The mortgage professionals at First Security Bank offer a variety of loans to get homebuyers the rate, terms, and total costs that work best for their budgets. We talked to Mike Milner, executive vice president of mortgage lending, about the Conway housing market and what homeowners and first-time homebuyers should consider when purchasing a home or refinancing an existing mortgage. First Security Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.
In what ways has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Conway housing market?
MIKE: Conway has been in a strong purchase and refinance market since early March 2020. Historically low interest rates coupled with online mortgage application, processing, and closing capability has enabled the Conway housing market to remain strong during the COVID crisis.
What trends have you noticed in the Conway housing market?
MIKE: Sales of current property have been and remain strong since March of 2020. In some price ranges, properties are on the market less than 24 hours prior to selling. Low interest rates have created a strong refinance demand. Homeowners are refinancing in order to obtain a lower interest rate, lower term, or both. Many borrowers are refinancing in order to take equity out of their existing home in order to consolidate debt and make home improvements.
Interest rates are down, making it not only a good time to buy a home but also to refinance an existing mortgage. What should homeowners consider before refinancing?
MIKE: Homeowners need to consider how long they plan to stay in a home prior to refinancing. Homeowners need to consult with a mortgage lender to determine if refinancing will be advantageous to them. A mortgage lender can assist a homeowner in determining if what the homeowner is trying to achieve – whether it is debt consolidation, taking equity out of the home for home improvement, or simply lowering their existing interest rate or loan term – will be advantageous to them.
Why is Conway a desirable place to buy a home?
MIKE: Conway has so many positive things – from schools, location, forward-thinking leadership, and a robust local economy.
When is it advantageous for someone buying or refinancing a home to take out a 15-year mortgage instead of a traditional 30-year mortgage?
MIKE: Now is a great time for prospective or current homeowners to consider the 15-year mortgage option in our current interest rate environment. With rates at historic lows, a 15-year mortgage is more affordable than ever. The interest savings between a 15-year mortgage and a 30-year mortgage are tremendous.
What is the one piece of advice you give to every first-time homebuyer?
MIKE: Go to a mortgage lender you trust and get pre-qualified for a loan. First-time homebuyers sometimes fail to realize the overall impact of owning a home doesn’t stop with the house payment. There is deferred maintenance, yard work, utilities, and other expenses a first-time homebuyer may not be thinking about. A mortgage lender can take you through the home loan process while assisting a first-time homebuyer with determining the right loan product and answering overall budget questions. Pre-qualifying with a mortgage lender should be a first-time homebuyer’s first step before looking at a home.
First Security Mortgage is a full-service mortgage lender serving real estate professionals, builders, and homebuyers throughout Arkansas. To learn more about First Security Bank and its products, including mortgage loans, visit fsbank.com.