FEATURE — Clean air. Warm climate. A family-friendly atmosphere with a wide variety of outdoor activities and some of the best views in the state. While it’s no secret among locals, the fact is, living in Southern Utah is amazing.
Recently ranked among the top cities in the country for growth over the past five years, it appears St. George’s economy is now on track to be better than ever.
Unemployment in the area is lower than the national average at 3.1%. Additionally, the housing market is strong, and although some people might think the American dream of owning a home is out of their reach, local experts say ownership is far from impossible.
According to Becky Staples of Sun American Mortgage, now is the perfect time to think about purchasing a new home.
“A lot of people think they have to put more down than they actually do,” Staples explained to St. George News, adding that it is a common misconception that 20% down is always needed to securing financing for a home.
Staples said there are actually many zero-down and low-down ways to start financing. In fact, six different 0% loan options are available in Washington County right now, including the following:
- Utah FirstHome loan — This program is open to first-time buyers, with limited income and minimum credit score of 660. FirstHome loans can even be used for purchasing certain manufactured homes. A home buyer education course is not required, and in Washington County there is a purchase size limit of $278,400.
- Utah HomeAgain loan — This loan is not restricted to only first-time buyers and is a great option for people who do not have a down payment in advance. Income must be $96,000 or less, and buyers can apply for a second mortgage for up to 6% of the first loan amount and can be used for a down payment and closing costs.
- Utah Housing Score loan — An ideal option for borrowers who do not meet the minimum FICO requirements of the FirstHome or HomeAgain programs, A minimum credit score of 620 is required, and the borrowers income must be less than $78,500 with a debt ratio that does not exceed 45%.
- Utah Housing NoMI loan — This program is the only one to remove the requirement to carry mortgage insurance. Only 5% of the loan is available to be used for down payment assistance, home buyer education is required within 90 days, a minimum FICO score of 700 is required and the property must be occupied by the owner throughout the term of the loan.
- USDA Rural Housing Zero Down loan — Designed to help smaller population communities grow by giving buyers better purchasing options, USDA loans require 0% down payment, have low monthly mortgage insurance costs and buyers can finance up to 103.5% of the home’s appraised value to help with closing costs.
- VA loans — VA loans are available to eligible veterans of the armed forces and allow for 103% financing, so homes may be purchased with no money down and closing costs included in the sale. With both fixed and adjustable rate terms, these loans are perfect for veterans that need affordable financing.
Staples said it was important to note that these terms are not a commitment to lend but are to be used for educational purposes. However, she added that with the help of her team at Sun American Mortgage, they have helped secure more financing for homebuyers than anyone in Washington County.
Recently honored by the Scotsman Guide as one of the top loan officers in the United States, Staples was ranked No. 180 for the most closed loans and the No. 76 Top Woman Originator in the nation.
“It’s a lot of loans, but I’m more focused on helping people,” she said. “It’s more about each person that I help, not the number for me.”
After being in the industry for 13 years, Staples said the recognition is great, but at the risk of sounding a little old-fashioned, she added that the reason for their continued success is because they simply care about serving people. For her, “changing lives one home at a time,” is more than just a company motto.
“The best part is the closing. They’re so excited,” she said. “I feel grateful that we’ve been able to grow and that I’ve been able to help a lot of people get into homes.”
Staples said her ultimate goal is to make sure the process is simple and easy. Her team is dedicated and passionate about finding a way to help everyone get into a new home, whether it’s a first-time starter for a young couple or the second family residence.
“It’s just a pleasure to be able to serve people in a business that I know how to do well, and I can make the process really smooth for them.”
To find out more about available loan options in Southern Utah and how Sun American Mortgage can help you, contact Becky Staples at 435-216-3081 or visit their office at 221 E. St. George Blvd., St. George.
Becky Staples Sun American Mortgage | Personal NMLS 912705| CO NMLS 160265| Equal Housing Lender | UT -BK #9211514
Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- Sun American Mortgage | Address: 221 E. St. George Blvd., St. George | Telephone: 435-216-3081 | Website
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