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New FHA Loan Limits

The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced that they are increasing FHA loan limits for most counties in 2019. In high costs areas, the new FHA loan limit ceiling increased to $726,525, and the FHA majority increased to $314,827. For a county-specific list of the maximum loan limits in the U.S., click here.

What does this mean for you?

  • This means you can purchase a higher priced home with more financing options! 
  • This will open up more houses to more buyers and the ability to finance more while avoiding jumbo loans. 

Why the increase?

The average US home price has increased by 6.9% between 2017 – 2018, so HUD has adjusted the baseline conforming loan limits by the same amount. 

New Conforming Limits For 2019 & What That Means For You

The FHFA announced that the maximum conforming loan limit will be raised for mortgages purchased in 2019 by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $453,100 to $484,350. This is the third consecutive year FHFA has increased the baseline loan limit. For a county-specific list of the maximum loan limits in the U.S., click here.

What does this mean for you?

  • This means you can purchase a higher priced home with more financing options! 
  • This will open up more houses to more buyers and the ability to finance more while avoiding jumbo loans. 

Why the increase?

The average US home price has increased by 6.9% between 2017 – 2018, so Fannie & Freddie have adjusted the baseline conforming loan limits by the same amount. 

Fall Maintenance Checklist

Outdoor Tasks:

  •  Rake leaves & shred to use as mulch.
  • Check chimney & roof for cracks and damage.
  • Inspect your trees & trim limbs that interfere with power lines or are too close to your home.
  • Clear gutters of dead leaves & other debris.
  • Store outdoor furniture & cushions.
  • Remove hoses from spigots & drains. Store hoses and turn off outdoor water.
  •  Test snow blower & have it professionally serviced if necessary.
  • Drain & turn off sprinkler system.
  • Direct drainage away from your home.
  • Stow your lawn mower.

Indoor Tasks:

  • Test smoke & carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Change batteries in all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, & your thermostat, whether they’re “dead” or not.
  • Check windows & doors for weather-tightness and install weather stripping where needed.
  • Seal gaps where critters could enter.
  • Have your furnace professionally inspected.
  • Wash summer bedding & get out winter bedding.
  • Swap out summer clothes & get out winter clothes.
  • Replace air filters.
  • Remove window A/C Units.

For a PDF of our Fall Maintenance Checklist, Click HERE.

Interested in a VA Home Loan?

Veterans & Active Service Members have the ability to purchase a home with no money down and very little costs up front. However there are numerous factors that go into your VA loan eligibility, and you may be wondering if you are eligible for a VA home loan?

Are you eligible for a VA Loan? 

You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you’ve served in the…

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard

In addition to serving in on of the above, you must also meet one of the following:

  • Active duty service must have served at least 90 days in the military during a time when the country is at war. 
  • Active duty during peace must have served at least 181 days as a full-time military personnel. 
  • National Guard or Reserves Service must have served at least six years in the Reserves or National Guard. 
  • Surviving spouse is also eligible if they are of a person that was either perished while serving in the line of duty or died due to a disability related to their service. 

Want to start the Pre-Approval Process?

Apply Online

The VA Home Loan Process

American Mortgage Brokers is extremely aggressive with VA rates and our process for doing VA home loans is second to none. If you are interested in starting the VA home loan process, here is some information on how a veteran or service member can breeze through the application process. 

  1. Step One: Apply online or give us a call at 612-282-8185
    • We typically can get you qualified for a loan in less than 10 minutes
  2. Step Two: Determine your VA loan eligibility
    • We may need a copy of your DD214 to obtain your VA Certificate of Eligibility
    • The Certificate of Eligibility provides us with details on your entitlement & ability to participate in the VA loan program. 
  3. Step Three: Credit Review
    • The minimum VA loan credit score is as low as 500.
      • Achieving the minimum credit score does not guarantee approval, items that could compromise your approval are the following:
        • Liens
        • Slow Payments
        • Foreclosures
        • Bankruptcies
  4. Step Four: Sign a Purchase Agreement
    • If you are not already working with a real estate agent, American Mortgage Brokers can help connect you with a real estate agent who understands the needs of military homebuyers.
  5. Step Five: Locate Income Documentation
    • We will need to provide documentation of your ability to repay your loan by verifying your income. 
    • Documents that we may ask for include:
      • Tax Returns
      • Paycheck Stubs
      • W2’s 
      • Retirement Statements
      • Disability Documentation

Want to start the Pre-Approval Process?

Apply Online

Know Where You Rate When It Comes To Rates.

Getting the lowest rate possible for your situation is important. But finding the best rate on your own, or worse, relying on a single loan provider for rate information, won’t always get you the full story or the best rate.

Before you ask the rate question, it’s important to know what type of loan you need and your credit score. Different loans will offer different rates and credit scores have an impact on rates, too. Instead of asking what the current mortgage rates are, ask for specifics.

For example, “I have a credit score above 700, and I want a $300,000, 30-year, fixed-rate, conventional loan, and I have 20% saved for a down payment. What are your rates today?”

Knowing your credit score and specific loan needs anre only half the battle.

Interest rates fluctuate daily, so you’d need to get an accurate comparison. you’d have to get the mortgage rate quotes all on the same day.

Using a mortgage broker who can do the comparison shopping for you with a variety of lenders saves you time. The mortgage broker will even help you identify which loan or loan options best fit your particular situation. The broker can find apples-to-apples loan products and mortgage rates so you don’t have to do the legwork yourself with multiple lenders.

Why Did We Change Our Name?

Earlier this year, we changed our name to American Mortgage Brokers from a name we’ve had for over a decade – Granite Mortgage Company.

The main reason for changing our name to American Mortgage Brokers, is because we are, in fact, a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker is significantly different than a bank or conventional lender and we felt that it was important for this to be reflected in our name.

So why is being a broker significant? Easy answer. As a mortgage broker, we match you with a loan and a lender that best fits your particular situation. We review your financial information and look over an wide variety of lenders to match you with one who will give you the best rate and terms. Simply put, as a broker we can offer you more choices to better fit your needs.

We always liked the “Granite” part of our name. We felt it projected a solid and substantial image. But we didn’t want our new name to be too similar, thus potentially confusing. We figured that since we’re in the business of helping people finance their “American” dreams, American was a good choice to round off our new moniker.

Along with the new name comes a new website,, and a new email address. Beyond that, we’re the same hard-working team that’ll help you find the right mortgage fit for you. We look forward to working with you.

Experience Matters.

A lot can go into finding a mortgage that’s the right fit for you so, before you go with a lender because your brother-in-law’s car mechanic said his buddy got a good deal from XYZ Mortgage Company, you might want to do a little homework on your own.

And here’s a great place to start.

Ask what kind of experience the mortgage broker has.

This is an especially important question if you’re a first-time home buyer or if you’re refinancing. Getting a mortgage is not a walk in the part and it’s good to have someone in your corner to guide you through the process.

Here are a five important considerations and questions to ask.

  1. Are they easy to get a hold of?
  2. Do they answer requests in a timely manner?
  3. Do they provide honest, straightforward answers?
  4. Do they communicate the way you do – phone, email, text, etc.?
  5. Are they experienced? Be sure to ask for references.

There is certainly more that goes into the decision-making process, but if the mortgage broker doesn’t pass the experience test, move to the next one on the list – regardless of what your pet groomer’s brother might say.

First Snow of the Season!

Today marks a very big day for us Minnesotans, the first snowfall of the season. It means 3 things, commutes will be longer due to slick roadways instead of construction, you get to pull out those new Sorels you got on clearance last spring, and your strategy for selling your house should change. 

Check out this article for some great tips!