As an AAFMAA Member, you already know that AAFMAA provides industry-leading, always-affordable life insurance solutions for you and your whole family throughout every stage of your military life and beyond. But you may be surprised to learn you also have access to our wholly-owned mortgage subsidiary — AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS) — which holds licenses to finance homes in 16 states. “AAFMAA created AMS because owning a home is a critical part of achieving financial security for so many military families,” says Rob Greenbaum, AMS Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.
When you work with us, you get access to knowledgeable professionals who truly understand the needs of the military community — many are military spouses or Veterans, themselves. “When you call us to discuss your mortgage needs, an experienced and licensed Military Mortgage Advisor will ensure you get the best solution, tailored for you,” explains Greenbaum. You should also consider getting pre-approval from AMS. Being pre-approved shows your real estate agent and sellers that you’re serious about buying and that AMS already acknowledges that you’re financially capable.
What Happens Next?
When you’re ready to buy, we’re here for you. “With the help of our Military Mortgage Advisors, we will help evaluate your overall financial situation and recommend an affordable mortgage amount that you may qualify for and be comfortable handling based on your budget,” he explains.
Finding the right home for your family could happen in a matter of days, or it may take months. Whatever your situation, when you’ve found a home you want to buy, you’ll work with your real estate agent to structure a purchase offer.
The Application Process
Now it’s time to submit a mortgage loan application. An AMS Military Mortgage Advisor can help you understand the types of mortgages that may fit your situation. These could be fixed or adjustable rate mortgages, conventional or government-issued loans (VA, FHA, etc.).
Use this checklist to help you gather the necessary documents needed for the application.
Once you’ve met all underwriting requirements, and if AMS approves your loan, you’ll receive a commitment letter indicating your loan program, loan amount, loan term, and interest rate. At that point, certain inspections and other activities need to happen, including a final pull of your credit report, an appraisal, and a title search. Your AMS Military Mortgage Advisor will make sure all required services, such as a title search and an appraisal, are ordered promptly.
An escrow or settlement agent will oversee the closing of your mortgage. Under the TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule (TRID), also known as the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule, the lender must provide a Closing Disclosure (CD) at least three business days before you’re scheduled to close the loan. “Use this time to compare your final terms and closing costs to those from the lender’s Loan Estimate (LE), and ask any questions,” advises Greenbaum.
Closing Your Loan
The seller and buyer can sign documents at different times, or together — the seller signs the deed and closing affidavit, while the buyer signs the new note and mortgage, and any other disclosures. The old loan is paid off, and the seller, real estate agents, attorneys and other parties involved are paid.
After the signing, the transaction documents are recorded in the county where the property is located. Title insurance policies are prepared and sent to you and to your lender.
“As part of the closing, you will be given instructions on how to pay your mortgage, including the monthly amount you’ll owe and where to send it,” notes AMS Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Stacey Daniels. The lender collecting your mortgage payments, called your loan servicer, will usually set up an escrow account on your behalf to ensure property taxes, insurance, and other payments (such as HOA fees) are paid automatically, she adds.
Your loan servicer may shift at some point if the lender sells your loan or uses a different company to collect payments — so be sure you check a recent statement if you need to reach your servicer. The servicer’s name and contact information should be in the top left-hand corner of your monthly mortgage statement.
When to Contact Your Loan Servicer
Contacting your loan servicer to set up automatic payments or to make additional payments can be helpful. Also, if you start to experience difficulty making on-time mortgage payments, be sure to contact your servicer for options, some lenders may offer deferment or forbearance.
“Forbearance does not erase what you owe. You’ll have to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future. So, if you’re able to keep up with your payments, keep making them,” Daniels says.
The types of forbearance available vary by loan type. If your mortgage is backed by the federal government — this includes FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans — provisions of the CARES Act allow you to temporarily suspend payments if you are experiencing financial difficulty due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
Loan servicers may also have forbearance or deferment options for non-government backed or private loans, but the exact options available to you may differ.
We’re Here to Help
Whether you’re thinking about buying, ready to start home-shopping in earnest, or considering a refinance, an AMS Military Mortgage Advisor will be happy to provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of affordable mortgages designed to meet your needs.
Ensuring AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today or give us a call at 844-422-3622!
This article was originally published June 24, 2020.