Do you suffer from Offer Fatigue?

Google Offer Fatigue and I bet it doesn’t come up.  The reason is, it’s a new term and I have recently adopted it.  I cannot take credit for it’s origin.  I think it was a real estate agent that said it to me a few years ago.  You still don’t hear much of the term Offer Fatigue, but let me tell you, it’s real.  And I want to help people overcome it.

So, what is Offer Fatigue and what are the symptoms you ask?  Well it’s submitting one offer after another on a house or condo, only to have them all rejected.  This occurs over weeks, months and even years.  It comes with low-ball offers, over-list offers, closing cost credits and offers to the seller they can live in their home for months for free as they look for a house. Finally, it comes with the prognosis that no offer is going to stick, and I might as well get out of the home buying search.  Today I am here to offer you a new perspective, it’s not you….it’s your team!

Home buying is a team event.  You can’t rely on one person in today’s market.  You have to have a team of professionals there to help you every step of the way.   A team is not only a real estate agent, but a real estate attorney (notice how I didn’t say any attorney, but a real estate attorney…must be an attorney who is real estate centric) and of course, a mortgage banker like myself.  The reason is, the team can help the seller answer all their questions and concerns about a buyer.  The team provides all the resources it can to help the buyer, and seller get the deal done.  The team is there when you need them.  The team knows the answers and will convey them correctly.

Here’s a couple examples how a team can work.  On the North Shore and Boston, there are a few tricky things to look out for that could hurt someone’s preapproval and buying power.  In Boston, it’s common for a condo to be listed for sale on MLS with a resident exemption tax rate instead of the full tax rate.  If you live in a property you own in Boston, you get up to a $2700 a year exemption in your tax bill.  That is over $200 a month.  If a home buyer’s preapproval is tight, $200/month could result in a denial on the loan.  If it’s not caught until after the offer accepted, a home inspection and appraisal is ordered, the buyer is out $100’s if not $1000’s of dollars.  That’s in addition to the time and anxiety of the process.  Money, time and energy wasted by all parties.

West Gloucester has sewer projects deferred billing added every other quarter to the tax bill.  So, we must look at the full year taxes and not the quarterly taxes.  Lots of Cape Ann’s roads are private and require a private road agreement.  However, in Gloucester, these private road agreements rarely exist.   I know how to get around it, and a good local team would know too.

If you think you are suffering from Offer Fatigue, you need to get in touch with me asap.  I will review your preapproval for free, and then connect you to one of the great real estate agents here at  From there we will create your dream home buying team.

Don’t go into the last parts of the spring buying market suffering Offer Fatigue, get energized by The Pratt Mortgage Team at CrossCountry Mortgage and its teammates!

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Where’s the affordable housing?

Six.  That’s the amount of single family homes for sale in Gloucester under $500k as I write this post.  There are 61 single family homes for sale in Gloucester in total.  So that means 55 of the remaining homes for sale in Gloucester are listed at over a half a million dollars.  MLS shows the average list price of homes for sale in Gloucester currently at $1.389mil…that’s not very affordable.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend close to $1.5mil to buy a home in Gloucester.  It just means there is a shortage of homes for sale that are considered affordable.  The majority of the current homes for sale are on the water, marshes and beaches of Gloucester….some absolutely beautiful homes.   This is common with the spring market, as buyers would want to be in Gloucester for the summer.  This is prime second home buying season.  We are six or so weeks before Memorial Day, which is the typical length of a home-buying transaction.

There are more affordable homes for sale outside of Gloucester and Cape Ann, and that’s where things seem to be busiest as well.  People are moving further north to the border towns of Mass, and crossing the boarder into New Hampshire.  There are just more homes to buy that people can afford.

If you want to know what you can afford, and the towns that have the best affordable housing options, please contact me directly.  I am licensed as a mortgage banker in both Mass and NH, with offices in both downtown Gloucester and Danvers.  I can help you identify the best ways to get your offers accepted, connect you with great real estate agents (like the agents who are on and find you a home you can afford!  Don’t wait for mortgage rates and home prices to increase more.

Brandon Pratt

NMLS 46922

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Mortgage Rates Continue to Drop

Daily Mortgage Rates

If you were a home shopper, or wanted to refinance your home this fall, you were probably in for sticker shock.  Not at higher home prices, but higher home-mortgage rates.  Mortgage rates through December rose to the upper 4’s and lower 5’s.  Combine that with escalating home prices, and some people all of a sudden got priced out of the market.

The good news in 2019 is we may have stabilizing mortgage rates.  The Fed announced last month they may be easing the rate hikes they had planned for 2019.  In 2018, the Fed had 4 increases to the benchmark lending rate.  On January 17, 2019, the Fed said they are going to be more careful of rate hikes in 2019 as to not to interfere with the economic growth the country has been experiencing.

All of this means that consumers, at the moment, have a brief interest rate respite as rates are lower than they’ve been in months.  In addition, home equity has never been higher in recent years.  These two positive events mean that if you were thinking of buying a home, but was put off in the fall, now is the time to get that preapproval updated and start looking again.

If you were thinking about refinancing, now may be that time to do it.  Taxes are going to be due soon, so that paperwork a mortgage person will be asking for should be handy.  Christmas bills are rolling in, and we can help consolidate that debt to make your budget friendlier.  You can also tap some equity to do some home projects you were thinking about doing.  The great thing with lower rates, it may not cost you anything to refinance and even lower your bills.

There is no reason to wait to for higher rates and home prices.

This is the time to get the lowest rates in months.  Contact me today for a free consultation to see how you easy it is for you to buy or refinance a home.

Brandon Pratt- CrossCountry Mortgage Gloucester, MA- 180 Main Street, Suite A and or for an easy online application,

Click on and Apply Now.

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Down payment Assistance is Here

One of the biggest obstacles people face purchasing a new home is the down payment.  It’s not that people can’t save, it’s the amount they need to save to buy a home here in Eastern Massachusetts.  Prices are high, and therefore the down payments tend to be higher because down payments are a percentage of the home price.

Most people think that you need 20% to purchase a home, but that couldn’t be furthest from the truth.  In fact, most mortgages require as little as a 3-3.5% down payment.  The more you put down, the better the terms.  5% is better than 3%, 10% is better than 5%, and so on.  So that’s why you hear about 20% down being required, because that’s when it’s the best terms.  However, if everyone waited for 20% down, we would not have over 60% of the population homeowners.  It’s just not realistic.

What I want to share is that we at CrossCountry Mortgage on Main Street in Gloucester has a few programs that offer no money down mortgages!  It’s usually a combo of a first and second mortgage.  The first mortgage being the mortgage after down payment, and the second mortgage being the down payment amount.  In Gloucester (and some North Shore cities and towns), the City has down payment assistance but the income limits are fairly low.  Therefore they are not easy to get.  That means a couple who want to buy a home with down payment assistance from Gloucester cannot make more $64,900 combined.  For Masshousing, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, the income expands to just under $108k.  This is for anyone on the loan….so if a couple combined makes more than $108k, then one person can go on the loan if they qualify by themselves.

The great news is that here at CrossCountry Mortgage on Main Street in Gloucester we have all of these programs!  We can do the state Masshousing mortgage, the national programs through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and of course, the City of Gloucester grant.

Below is an example of a condo for sale in Gloucester under $300k that qualifies for down payment assistance.

Contact me today for a no hassle and free consultation to see if you qualify!

Brandon Pratt- CrossCountry Mortgage

NMLS 46922-

Direct 617.688.6891

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Home Interest Rates and Price Dropping in 2019?

Pratt SignHappy New Year!  I hope you all had a festive and wonderful holiday season.  As January 2nd is upon us, it’s time to start planning for the year ahead.   With that, I want to touch on a few financial and real estate topics that may be beneficial to everyone.

In the beginning of December, all the talk was about increasing interest rates, home prices declining and inventories rising.  Now in the beginning of January, things are looking a little different.  How is that possible?  The Fed increased the benchmark interest rate .25% in December, it’s the holiday season where there tends to be less home buyers and even less sellers and we are going into winter when it’s typically slow.  The easiest way to explain this is to look outside.

While the decent winter weather can account for more people buying and selling homes, that has nothing to do with interest rates.  I mean the Fed did raise the interest rate in December, so how can mortgage rates dip shortly thereafter?  Well it depends which window that mortgage money comes from to fund a home purchase.  There are two common ways to get a mortgage, a local or larger bank or a mortgage lender.  We at CrossCountry Mortgage happen to be a mortgage lender, which means we lend money directly to the consumer.  We are governed by each state’s Division of Banks and are considered a non-depository lending institution.  Meaning we don’t provide bank accounts, we just provide money for home purchases and refinances directly to the consumer.

We at CrossCountry, tend to get our money through the secondary market, which is affected more by bonds and the stock market.  The price of the mortgage bonds has gone up lately, and that means the yield has gone down.  When yields go down, rates go down.  So the stock market is beating up the bond yield, which is good for mortgage rates.  Local banks tend to get their money from the treasury and fed, and they are the ones who just increased their rates.  So with the stock market getting clobbered, here is one bright spot in the financial markets!

So what will really happen with interest rates and housing prices in 2019?  It depends on what type of house you want, where you want it, the down payment amount and credit scores.

If you don’t have the answers to the above questions, contact me today for a no-cost and hassle-free mortgage and home ownership consultation!!

Brandon Pratt and 617.688.6891

180 Main Street, Suite A, Gloucester, MA, in historic downtown Gloucester



Credit Score and PMI Explained

One of the most important aspect of any person’s financial profile is their credit score.  This is the first thing all creditors look at when making a credit decision for an applicant.  Someone’s credit score will help determine whether they will get a loan or not, and more importantly, what that loan will cost.  The lower the credit score, chances are it will come with a higher interest rate. Conversely, a higher credit score is going to get someone a better and more competitive rate.

This is true when buying a home as well.  Not only will a higher credit score give someone a better interest rate, but if they are putting down less than 20% for a down payment, it will also affect how much they will pay in PMI.  PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance.  If a homebuyer wants to buy a house with less than 20% down, most banks won’t make that loan.  The reason is, there isn’t enough equity to pay back the bank loan if the house goes into foreclosure if there is only 5% in equity.  So PMI was recreated in the 1950’s to allow homebuyers to buy a house with less than 20% downpayments (previous to that PMI existed but the industry went bankrupt after the Great Depression).  PMI is commonly paid a few ways today, monthly, upfront or lender paid.  You may hear that someone may not have to pay PMI with less than 20% down, but the fact is it’s Lender Paid and built into the interest rate.  That interest rate being higher than paying PMI monthly.  You can also pay it all at once upfront at closing, which can be up to 60% cheaper than paying it monthly if you add up all the payments over time.

PMI rates are based on just a few factors.  First and most important being the credit score, second the down payment amount (also known as Loan to Value or LTV) and the last items are the type of house and how much debt that person has each month.  A condo could be slightly higher in premium while higher down payments lower the PMI rates.

At the end of the day people just want the lowest possible payment, and that is going to happen with higher credit scores.  Most mortgage professionals want their clients to have higher credit scores, as it makes the deals easier and cheaper for the client.  If you want to learn more about your credit score, please feel free to contact me and I can provide a no cost credit report and debt to income analysis.  If your credit needs to be worked on to get it higher, we can help there too.

Brandon Pratt NMLS #46922

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A New Home for the Holidays?

Every day people ask me when is the best time to buy a home.  Without fail, I usually say it’s one of two times a year….July 4th to Labor Day and Thanksgiving to Valentines Day.  We are currently in one of those times of the year, but this year seems a little different. Let me explain why these two times of the year are good to be a home buyer.

First reason why these times of the year are best for home buyers is simple, less demand and less people.  These are the two times of the year where people take vacations around holidays.  July 4th to Labor Day, everyone is at the beach, on their boats or someplace having fun.  It’s not a time to think about school systems and uprooting their kids before school starts for the year.  So it’s a good time in the real estate business to take a break that time of year.  The other time, Thanksgiving to Valentines is a longer period of time, and a little more complex.  This time of year you have people travelling for the holidays, the holidays themselves and vacations through the new year.  The January to Valentines period is the lull before the spring market.  This is a result of some real estate agents feeling sellers must wait for the leaves to come out and the grass to turn green before they list their house for sale, so the pictures online look better.  Plus there is snow, sand and salt that sellers need to clean up after open houses.  Because of this thinking, what you get are frenzies during the home buying year with a flood of sellers and buyers, that makes certain times of the year harder to buy and sell than others.

The good news is that there are people like myself who feel it’s best to wait for these spurts to subside and try to get better deals.  The old saying is to buy low and sell high.  So I usually advise people to sell during the busy periods, wait a couple months, and then buy during a slower period of time.  The end of the year is especially true as interest rates usually drop (at least become more stable), less buyers are looking at houses, desperate sellers wanting to get rid of their homes before years end and potential tax considerations.

So do I feel that way in 2018?   The answer is kind of.  I’m finding this holiday season turning into one of the busiest home buying seasons in memory and it’s exactly for the aforementioned reasons.  Interest rates are rising, and are projected to continue to do so.  Interest rates today are anything but stable, with the stock market moving up and down 300 points on a daily basis, and murmurs of a bear market in the distance.  There are more people out and about during this holiday than years before, and that’s because prices are dropping for the first time in a while.  And according to MLS data, single family homes that are currently for sale in Gloucester at all price ranges are averaging 119 days on the market.  During the spring and summer, there were multiple offers on every house after the first open house, with the sales prices routinely going above the list price.  Now homes are sitting longer, prices are dropping and rates are rising.

So is this the time to buy a home?  Well it depends on a lot of factors.  The first step is you need to talk to real estate professionals, and first is a mortgage banker like myself.  A mortgage consultation is always free, so you have nothing to lose.  You can get your credit run for free, receive a complimentary debt to income analysis and preapproval letter if you qualify.  From there you can talk to a real estate agent, because now you now what you can afford, where you can afford and what it will take to buy a home.  Plus one of the first things a real estate agent is going to ask, have you been preapproved by a reputable lender?

So is this the season to buy a home?  Let’s find out.

Brandon Pratt- NMLS 46922

CrossCountry Mortgage, 180 Main Street, Gloucester, MA

Direct 617.688.6891 and

NMLS3029 | NMLS1605090

CrossCountry Mortgage, Inc. is a licensed mortgage lender in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department