Buying or Refinancing Can Still Be Part of Your Plan

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Was 2020 the year to buy or refi?
You don’t have to delay your decision.

Whether you planned on buying a new home or refinancing your existing mortgage three months ago or three days ago, we’re still here to help you get a loan. Many of our loan programs have minimal or no restrictions.

Be sure to check with us regularly to see what’s available. The same goes for rates, which remain historically low but are still fluctuating daily. We can definitely pre-approve you at any time so you’re ready to get the loan and rate you want when the time is right.
Be well, and don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you.
Brandon Pratt
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VP of Mortgage Lending / Loan Originator
D: 617-688-6891
M: 617.688.6891
NMLS 46922
Apply Now
The Brandon Pratt Team
CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC
180 Main Street Unit A
Gloucester, MA 01930
NMLS 1605090 NMLS 3029

Home buying and Mortgage Update

Home buying and Mortgage Update

Well it’s been quite a few weeks, and I hope everyone remains safe and well.  Please keep to social distancing and do you part for our community.  With that being said, I wanted to update you all on the real estate financing industry.

We at CrossCountry Mortgage, and many other mortgage lenders, we are open for business.  We are accepting online and phone loan applications and we are in constant communication with our clients, real estate agents, attorneys, title insurance agents and local and state officials.  It’s been a constantly changing environment and communication has been and will be paramount during this time.

New home purchases believe it or not are continuing.  However it’s with a lot of changes.  There is now social distancing and no more open houses (for the most part).  There are virtual open houses and tours.  Buyers can go into empty homes as well.  With these adaptations, we are still seeing multiple offer situations.  People are still buying houses

Refinances are still happening at a very brisk pace and are closing every day.  I personally closed on my refinance Thursday at my home, at a 7 foot long table complete with Lysol, wipes and our own pens.   Some attorneys are choosing to close outdoors too.   However they choose, it’s being done safely with separation.  We are also eager for a bill to be passed, which I understand is sponsored by our Senator Bruce Tarr, that will allow video closing and notarization.  The rules thus far seem complex, but it is very encouraging nonetheless.

The Registry of Deeds are open for business, just not open to the public.  The Essex South Registry in Salem, which is the Registry for Cape Ann and most of the North Shore, accepts electronic recording.  They have for years, and this is nothing new.  So Deeds and Mortgages can be recorded and closed just like they have been.

The Fire Departments have issued a smoke certificate inspection moratorium, so that is another item that’s not an issue.  That responsibility will shift to the home buyers, instead of the home sellers.

Appraisals for new home purchases and many refinances can now be done via an Exterior Only so the appraiser does not need to into a home.  This is not the case with FHA and VA loans, as those require inside inspections for functioning utilities.   Also refinances for a better rate and term, often do not even require any appraisal at all (this was true before COVID 19 too).  If you take equity out, then an appraisal is most likely.  Your lender, like myself, should be able to tell you before you proceed with refinancing.

Municipalities are open for tax information so we can get up to date property tax info.  If they are not, there are ways around that too.

Mortgage rates have seemed to lower and settle now with the stimulus bill that just passed.  These lower 30 year and 15 year rates are only for traditional Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA and FHA loans (govt agencies).  Jumbo loans now have much higher rates as that market has seemed to dry up overnight for those mortgages.  This is because the government is pumping billions of money into mortgage bonds, driving down the yield.  These bonds are only for conventional and government loans, like the aforementioned Fannie, Freddie, FHA and VA.   The mortgage bond purchasing is not for jumbo and non-traditional mortgages.  These government loans are not commonly found at local banks, but traditional mortgage lenders like CrossCountry Mortgage in Gloucester and Danvers.

So the home purchase market, refinances and mortgage market are quickly and constantly adapting and continuing business as best we can.  In my next article coming this week, I am going to talk about what to be aware of when buying a house in this market, how to draft contracts to protect yourself in the case of a job loss (with the advice of an attorney) and other things to be aware of. during the COVID 19 pandemic.

If you have any home buying, homeownership questions or need assistance, reach out to me directly at or call 617.688.6891.  I am here to help the best I can.

Lastly please continue to be safe, be well and helping others.

-Brandon Pratt


Wenham Open House Sunday 12-2pm

Join Bob and Sue McDermott of the McDermott MacCarthy Team, along with myself Brandon Pratt from CrossCountry Mortgage-Gloucester, Sunday 12-2pm in Wenham at 2 Charles Davis Drive. 

This quintessential family home, with it’s four bedrooms and five full baths, was also designed for entertaining. As their children grew, they enjoyed hosting team celebrations, philanthropic gatherings and intimate dinners. Upon entering, guest’s eyes drifted up the double winding staircases, leading to the fire-placed master suite and three ensuite bedrooms. Gleaming hardwood floors, a chef’s kitchen and abundant pantry, four fireplaces, and walls of windows to drink in the outdoors complimented their sophisticated tastes. The heated, in-ground pool brought the wonder outdoors as the fire pit teased star gazing, conversation and laughter well into the night.  This house so many amazing features, it must be seen to be believed.

Please contact Bob or Sue McDermott for showing options or stop by Sunday 12-2pm.

Please reach out to myself for financing options, rates, payments and complimentary preapprovals.  With low interest rates, this home is cheaper than you probably think.  See you Sunday!

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Coronoavirus fears cools Mortgage Rates

Coronoavirus fears cools Mortgage Rates

What does a virus that started in China have to do with the economy in the United States?  Well if you have a 401k, stock account or any other retirement account, it means a lot.  If you own a house, it means a real lot….of money in your pocket!

Mortgage rates today are the lowest I have seen since 2013, or 6-7 years.  Rates today are in the mid 3’s and that’s down almost a 1.5% since this time last year.  If you have purchased a home in the past 12-24 months with a down payment less than 20% and a rate with a 4 or higher in front of it, we need to talk.  Chances are you are paying PMI in addition to the way above market mortgage rate.  You could end savings thousands of dollars without even realizing it.  That’s why I am here!

It’s tax season now and you should have the information available that I need to figure out how much you can save.  All I need is a current mortgage statement, recent paystub and 2019 W2.  I also have special and discounted closing costs for mentioning you saw this post on Good Morning Gloucester’s Cape Ann Home.

Email, call or visit me today for your no-cost home-mortgage review.  It takes only a few minutes to save a few thousand dollars.

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