Chris Reh Mortages in St.Louis By Chris Reh

If you've been listening to the radio, following the news, or even just talking to friends and family, you may have heard that mortgage rates are at an all-time low and that maybe it is the right time for you to refinance your current home mortgage, if you have one. But, though the interest rate is important to your mortgage, it is not all about the interest rate. Let’s talk about how the refinance works, and then you can decide if it is indeed the right move for you right now

The way a refinance works

When you refinance any type of mortgage loan, you are exchanging an existing loan for a new one. The new loan pays off the current mortgage and then becomes your mortgage moving forward. The goal of refinancing could be to switch from one loan type to another loan type, or to improve your mortgage situation by securing a lower rate and or lowering your monthly obligation/payment.

For example, let’s say you have a 30-year fixed mortgage with a 4% interest rate and you’re able to refinance to a 3% interest rate, on that same 30-year term, you'll not only lower your monthly payment, you will also reduce and save a full interest point off of your overall loan term.

You will have closing costs and prepaid escrow fees at the time of closing. These can be rolled into your loan if you have enough equity to cover them. You get your full escrow balance refunded from your current mortgage that you are paying off after closing. You can also skip two months of payments, keeping additional money in your pocket to pay down some debt or make some home improvements. With enough equity, you may pull out cash for some debt consolidation and or home improvements.  

You must do the math to determine the break even when deciding if a refinance is worth the cost. So, if you are looking at $4,000 in closing costs, but refinancing also lowers your monthly mortgage payment by $200. In that case, you'd need to stay in your home for 20 months just to break even. So will you be living there for longer than 20 months? If not, it might not make sense to refinance as the costs will outweigh the savings. Talk to your lender today to learn about your specific options.

Is it time to refinance your mortgage right now

Essentially, while it does make sense for some homeowners to refinance their mortgages right now, that doesn't apply across the board to all home owners. You need to think about you, your goals and your situation. Things such as how long do are planning to stay in the house, and is your credit score high enough to get that low competitive rate that you hear talked about every day, will determine whether a refinance is the right move for you. I welcome you to call me today for your free mortgage checkup so I can help get you the information you need to make this potentially life changing decision to refinance your current home mortgage.  

For more information about the process or if you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Chris Reh, NMLS# 1773185, at 314.420.3122 or

First Integrity Mortgage Services is licensed in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, and California.

Why First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis! 

Michelle Lewis Loans in St. Louis

By: Michelle Lewis

When considering which lender to choose for your mortgage loan, why should you think First Integrity Mortgage Services?  

First Integrity because We Care! We Think! We Deliver! For us, those words are more than just a slogan; they are a source of pride in who we are and what we do. It is our priority to provide you with the best service, process, and options! We are local, offer a refined process along with competitive products and pricing, we are relationship-oriented and community involved, educated, experienced, and here for you.  

Why First Integrity? We Care! We genuinely care about our clients, community, employees, and referral sources. You are not just a number but are our priority, and we care about providing you with the best service and options available!

As a testament to our commitment to client satisfaction, see what over 400 of our clients have said in their 5 Star Google Reviews (check out our 5 Star Google Reviews).

We also care about our community, and we give back; every month, we donate to a charity in our community that a member of our First Integrity Family is personally involved with because we believe in community involvement. We also contribute annually to our primary local philanthropy The BackStoppers, who assist families of fallen first responders. 

Why First Integrity? Because our leadership cares about employees, providing us with the tools and support needed to be best equipped in the industry. They invest in their employees, offering education and insight above and beyond any other lender in the area. This backing from leadership is rare and priceless in the mortgage industry.

Speaking of leadership, we have the best! Our leader, Joe Bayer Jr., was previously the president of the St. Louis Chapter of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and currently as the Secretary of Mortgage Bankers Association of Missouri. Also, he is currently serving (as appointed by the governor of Missouri himself) on the Residential Mortgage Board.

Kiara Johnson, a loan officer at First Integrity, is the current president of the St. Louis Mortgage Bankers Association chapter. Her installation made history as she is the first African American President in the chapter.  

At First Integrity, we are encouraged to become involved within the communities we serve. This community involvement keeps our fingers on the pulse in our industry, keeping our enterprise educated and most informed so that we can best serve our clients, community, and referral partners.

Why First Integrity? We think!  We think outside of the box. We do not conform with the way things have always been done, but do them differently, with better results! Also, due to the structure, The First Integrity Difference (check out the video here), of our enterprise, we have the unique opportunity to offer rational lending. We know that not everyone fits in the same little box, and we can offer solutions with make-sense lending practices. To put it simply and to quote our SVP of Sales, Dan Goldman, we have more products and programs than any other lender out there, from home improvement loans to first time home buyer products, to healthcare workers loans, to hobby farms. We also have the ability to fund the loan ourselves, so you are not waiting for a wire from someone (in another state) to send over funds.   

Why First Integrity? We deliver! We have a proven and improved process. We do not have the typical segmented, outdated “assembly line” approach to mortgage lending like most companies, where five or so different strangers in different departments work on your loan. With these lenders, you may have your loan processed, underwritten, closed in all different locations. With that structure, your processor may be in Iowa, underwriting in Florida, closing in Dover (with none of the staff knowing each other or having any working relationship) leaving you to feel like a ping pong ball bouncing around people’s desks! At First Integrity, we collaborate and work as a team. We have on-site underwriting, management, and operations and solid working relationships.  

So Why First Integrity Mortgage Services? We understand that when you choose a lender, there are many factors to consider. Call us today to learn more about what we can offer you, and to see first-hand how we care, we think, and we deliver!

If you or someone you know is thinking about homeownership or refinancing at this time, have them reach out to First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, MO today.

For more information about the process or if you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Michelle Lewis, NMLS# 640206, at (314)662-0364 or

First Integrity Mortgage Services is licensed in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, and California.

Types of Mortgages in St. Louis 

By Senior Mortgage Banker David True 

When you go to a doctor, they must diagnose the symptoms to figure out the problem. Then, the doctor must figure out the best way to cure the problem. Well, that process is similar to how a lender and YOU find the best loan option for your financial needs.

At First Integrity Mortgage Services, we ask questions to determine our clients’ goals for their mortgage needs and then recommend a solution. We also look at the larger financial picture of the borrower to understand all of their assets, liabilities, and income. There are many different types of loans and each offer their own unique benefits.

The basics of each different type of loan program available today are outlined below.

Types of Loans:

  1. Conventional Loan: A home loan that is not insured by the federal government. They are ideal for borrowers with strong credit, a stable income, and employment history.
    1. The borrower may choose from two different types of conventional loans.
    2. Conforming: This type of loan meets the loan amount limits that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set.
    3. Non-conforming: These loans do not meet the guidelines. Jumbo loans are the most common type.    
    4. The borrower can pay as little as 3% down for a conventional mortgage.
    5. There will be PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) until there is sufficient equity in the property.
    6. Higher credit scores are generally necessary for this type of mortgage.
  2. Jumbo Loan:
    1. A loan amount in excess of $510,400(current 2020 loan limit)
    2. Down payments of at least 10 to 20% are typically required.
    3. Will need funds in savings account, investments or a combination of both for reserves.
  3. FHA Loan: This is a government program that helps make a home affordable for those who have weaker credit scores and do not have a large amount of funds for down payment.
    1. Requires 3.5% down payment.
    2. The program allows for credit scores for as low as 580.*
    3. This program requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium (1.75% of the loan amount) and ongoing monthly mortgage insurance.(0.85% of loan amount)
    4. Open to repeat and first time homebuyers as well as those who want to refinance.
  4. VA Loan: This type of loan is for members of the US military and their families.
    1. No down payment required
    2. No PMI(Private Mortgage Insurance)
    3. Closing costs are capped and could be paid by the seller.
    4. Funding fee is charged by the VA as a percentage of the loan amount, but can be rolled into the loan amount.
    5. Open to repeat and first time homebuyers as well as those who want to refinance.
  5. USDA Loan: Helps moderate to low income borrowers buy homes in rural areas.
    1. Home must be in a USDA eligible area.
    2. Borrowers must meet certain income limits to qualify.
    3. Some loans do not require a down payment for eligible borrowers.
    4. Open to repeat and first time homebuyers.
  6. Fixed Rate Mortgages: Keep the same rate over the life of the loan.
    1. Typical loan terms are 10, 15, 20 and 30 year repayment options.
    2. Monthly principal and interest payments stay the same for the life of the loan.
    3. Makes budgeting easier.
  7. ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage): A mortgage with an adjustable rate after initial lock period.
    1. If you are planning to purchase a home that you will only own for a few years, then the rate on an ARM could be more attractive and save you on interest.
    2. While the rate could adjust after its initial lock period, it is a good idea to understand how much the rate could change after the initial locked period.
    3. Payments could increase/decrease depending on the fluctuation of the rate after the initial lock period.

If you or someone you know is thinking about homeownership or refinancing at this time, have them reach out to First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, MO today.

For more information about the process or if you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact David True, NMLS# 604989, at (314)566-6200 or

Dave True Mortgages in St. Louis Credit and Mortgages in St. Louis 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Credit: By Senior Mortgage Banker, David True

So, you have made the decision to either purchase the home of your dreams or refinance your current mortgage. It is important for your credit reports and scores to be as pristine as possible because interest rates and the ability to receive an approval rest on your credit today.

When mortgage lenders are quoting rates today, they need to know your middle credit score. They request all three bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) and utilize the middle score of the three. The higher the score the more favorable the interest rate becomes for you. We encourage clients to review their credit. There are many different services available today. However, the website that offers one free credit report per year from each credit reporting agency noted above is This gives you the ability to review what is currently on your credit report and you can also pay to obtain all three credit scores. 

It is important that you review all three bureaus. There are creditors that do not always report a debt to all three bureaus. They may only report to one or two of them. 

Here are some important tips for how to ensure your credit is in the best shape when you begin the mortgage process:

-Do pay your bills and pay them on time. Any late payments can negatively affect your credit.

-Do pay off judgments. When you do this, you MUST get a “Satisfaction of Judgment” from the courts. If you don’t get this, it will likely remain on your credit.

-Do try to keep your credit card balances at least under 30% of the credit limit.

-Do review your credit report for accuracy. If you notice something on your credit report that is inaccurate or does not appear to be yours, you have the ability to dispute it with the credit bureaus, and they will investigate it for you.  

Once you have begun the mortgage process, ALWAYS contact your loan officer before you make any credit decisions. Even if you think it’s the right decision, it could negatively impact your credit.  

Now, let’s discuss some of the actions you should not take during the mortgage process:

-Don’t apply for new credit. When you do this, it will generate a “credit inquiry”. Credit inquiries lower your total credit score.

-Don’t consolidate or close your credit cards during the mortgage process. 

If you or someone you know is thinking about homeownership or refinancing at this time, have them reach out to First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, MO today. 

For more information about the process or if you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact David True, NMLS# 604989, at (314)566-6200 or

Chris Reh Mortgages in St. Louis Mortgages and Homeownership in St. Louis 

The Process of Homeownership By Senior Mortgage Banker Chris Reh 

Have you ever thought about how awesome homeownership is? There is just a unique feeling of pride and accomplishment when you own your home. Growing up, or even as adults, I think we sometimes might take it for granted. Nonetheless, homeownership is one of the primary components of the “American Dream”.

There are many different paths towards homeownership, and while the process of buying a house can be complicated, these steps are known to help make things a little easier for you to navigate. Do not forget to arrange to have some cash on hand, either from your hard-earned savings or a gift, for a down payment and closing costs.

STEP 1:Talk To a Lender & Get Pre-Approved

Before you do anything, find a lender you trust, and get pre-approved. It will help you determine how much you can afford to borrow in total, as well as your monthly payments. At First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, we believe in making sure you get “Pre-Approved” and not just “Pre-Qualified”, as the difference is crucial. The Pre-Qualification process is one in which a lender will rely on a verbal interview regarding finances, credit score, and debts to produce an amount they could be approved for. Wherewith a true Pre-Approval, a lender, will run and review a borrower’s credit report and supporting financial documents like pay stubs, tax returns, and asset account statements. The Pre-Approval is much stronger and essential to submitting that offer with the utmost confidence you will be approved. When hitting the market to purchase a home, the first thing to do is talk to a lender and get Pre-Approved.

STEP 2: Select a Real Estate Agent

Now you are ready to go out and find your new home-to-be. If a real estate agent did not already send you to the lender for pre-approval, it is time to find one on your own. First, interview full-time agents referred to you by a trusted source. Then select one that best fits you and your goals. I believe it’s best to hire a full-time buyer’s agent who specializes in your desired area. This person will represent you and your interests in one of the largest purchase contracts you will personally negotiate. The great news is that it usually does not cost you a dime as the buyer’s agent is normally compensated by the listing agent who is selling the home. It is an added bonus if your real estate agent works well together with your lender, as communication is key to a smooth buying process.

Step 3: An Accepted Contract

After you find a house, make an offer, and go under contract, you will want to work closely with the lender making sure they have everything they request from you in a timely matter. Do not use credit for anything. Do not open new credit accounts, even if its 0% interest. Do not close any credit accounts, even if you pay the balance down to $0. The best practice is to keep making your payments on time and try to keep your credit as unchanged as possible through the entire process to avoid any changes in credit that could affect loan approval. Expect about 30-45 days to close once under contract. 

The road to homeownership is as easy as 1,2,3. During your move to your new home, don't forget to change your address with the post office as well as other key entities such as your bank, government agencies, and service providers.  

If you or anyone you care about is thinking about entering the homeownership arena, have them reach out to First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, Missouri today. We can get them pre-approved, connected with the necessary people, and help them figure out the best way to realize homeownership. 

For more information on how to purchase your next home, or if you have any questions or comments regarding this article, please contact Chris Reh, NMLS# 1773185, at 314.420.3122 or


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