Applying for a Loan First-Time Buyers

How a Mortgage Broker in Bethesda Helps You Save

Negotiating a home purchase is no easy task. You’ll have to navigate the complexities of the mortgage market and the real estate market simultaneously. It’s important you put enough time and energy into securing a great rate. But with all the moving parts, it can feel overwhelming. This is where a mortgage broker can provide invaluable guidance and assistance. Mortgage brokers work on your behalf to negotiate better rates and guide you through the mortgage journey. It’s important to understand what a broker brings to the table when you decide to work with them during your home search. Here’s how a mortgage broker in Bethesda can help you save.

What Does A Mortgage Broker Do?

A mortgage broker operates as a negotiator between those looking to borrow and the mortgage lenders offering the loan. They will assist you in finding the best mortgage to fit your situation and financial circumstances by finding competitive rates and mortgage terms. Before shopping for a home, a mortgage broker will help you find what size of mortgage you will qualify for, thus helping guide and refine your home search. The main goal of a mortgage broker in Bethesda is to assist you in finding the lowest mortgage rates available from a lender with a positive reputation. 

The Advantages of Working with a Broker

Having a mortgage broker in Bethesda guide your mortgage process will initially save you time and effort by performing the research on rates and fees as well as finding a lender that will specifically benefit your personal situation. Their knowledge of the mortgage industry will help you to avoid mistakes and fraud, which would otherwise bring the entire process to a screeching halt. Mortgage brokers will also assist you in the pre-approval process so that you can begin a home search with an idea of what you can afford. The main advantage of having a mortgage broker in Bethesda is their ability to save you a significant amount of money on your mortgage. 

How A Mortgage Broker Saves You Money

Throughout managing your mortgage process, a good mortgage broker will take every route possible to reduce your total expenditure. When negotiating with your lender, a mortgage broker in Bethesda will push to waive or reduce fees associated with the mortgage process. These fees can quickly add up and the option to reduce them will greatly impact your final cost. Mortgage brokers often have access to a large network of lenders. This allows mortgage brokers to choose from a variety of lenders with terms that are in the buyers’ best interest or a lender that will give you a loan when you have specific circumstances that would otherwise prevent you from securing a loan from typical lenders. When creating the loan terms, mortgage brokers will negotiate a more advantageous position uniquely for your situation as the buyer. Knowing the potential costs that you will face in your mortgage process will better prepare you to financially handle them and a proper mortgage broker will make you aware of additional costs you may incur. During the negotiation process, your mortgage broker in Bethesda will represent you and ensure that you receive a beneficial interest rate and mortgage term. With most mortgages lasting 15-30 years, receiving better terms on your loan can potentially save you tens of thousands over several decades.

Professional Mortgage Brokers in Bethesda Maryland

If you are interested in getting the best mortgage terms and interest rates available to you, Federal Hill Mortgage is here to help. Our mortgage brokers will work hand in hand with you throughout your entire mortgage process, offering expert advice and comprehensive guidance in order to secure you an advantageous mortgage. Take on your mortgage with the confidence that comes with having a professional mortgage broker in your corner. Call or contact Federal Hill Mortgage to get started today.

Applying for a Loan Mortgage Education

Learn With a Mortgage Lender in Frederick MD: Credit and Loans 

In today’s world, credit is critical to financial stability. It affects your ability to take loans and it essentially works as a score that is based on your ability to pay back debts in a timely manner. Before you embark on a journey to get a high credit score, it is beneficial to first understand how it works and what you can do to affect your credit. When it comes to mortgage loans, having a good credit score can save you dividends on the interest rates from your loan, as a higher credit score means less risk to a mortgage lender in Frederick MD.

The Major Credit Bureaus

To begin, it is important to understand how reports are compiled and who complies them. The three main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They are responsible for compiling credit scores about individual borrowers and through their scoring models, they show consumer creditworthiness. These are private companies that are highly regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While there are several other credit bureaus, these three dominate the market. They use the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and VantageScore models, however, each bureau has its own FICO models for different types of lending. When retrieving a credit score report, they may differ between the different bureaus due to their different scoring models and inconsistent data collection times.

How Reporting Works

The three major credit bureaus collect data on your credit activity from lenders that you have accounts with. They receive this information, compile it all together and then run it through the relevant scoring model to produce your credit score. Lenders provide these agencies with the financial information that they have gathered in lending you finances, for free. The agencies then sell the information back to lenders that are looking for insight into an individual’s creditworthiness. Let’s say, for example, a mortgage lender in Frederick MD collects all of your mortgage payments on time and in full for the entire duration of the mortgage. They then will provide the credit bureau with this information and, after it is run against all of the other factors, your credit score will rise as you make timely payments.

How Scores Work

Before understanding how credit scores work, it is important to know that the three major credit bureaus compile their data at different times of the month. This means that there may be an inaccurate score within the three depending on when you request them, For this reason, when collecting a credit score, it is encouraged that mortgage lenders in Frederick MD do so from all three major bureaus to gain a more accurate scope of what your true credit score is. Normally, lenders will only look at one but, with a large amount of money being lent in a mortgage, a more accurate depiction of the borrower’s credit is required. As previously mentioned, there are two primary scoring models used. The first is the FICO score, which is commonly used, and VantageScore, which was created as a collaboration between the big three reporting agencies. These scores are affected by your timely payment history, the length of your credit history, types of credit, and new credit. The more that you borrow, the bigger impact it will have on affecting your credit score. If you want to build credit, it does take time. Your credit score is a reflection of your ability to pay back a loan and lenders will want to see that you have a history of being a borrower that pays back their loans on time. 

How These Factors Affect Your Ability to Get a Loan from a Mortgage Lender in Frederick MD

Lenders differ on the scale that they refer to when deciding your loan terms, but typically the FICO scoring model is used. The FICO scoring model is broken down into sections from 800-850 as being considered “excellent” and “poor” being below 580. Where your credit score fits on this scale determines what the lender is willing to offer you in regard to loan terms. If you have a low credit score, you are seen as a larger risk to the lender, based on your previous credit experiences. A high score shows the opposite and that you are a low risk to the lender. If your credit score is considerably low, a mortgage lender in Frederick MD may deny you a loan altogether. 

Take Control of Your Credit and Loans With a Mortgage Lender in Frederick MD

Having a good credit score is pivotal to your ability to secure positive loan terms as it is the main point of reference used by lenders. The lower your credit score, the higher risk you pose to lenders, and the higher your credit score, the lower the risk you are to a lender. When it comes to taking out a mortgage, having better terms and lower interest rates can make a major impact on your overall expenditure during the duration of the loan. When searching for a mortgage lender in Frederick MD, look for one that will assist you in securing the best loan terms possible. At Federal Hill Mortgage, our team of experts will assist you in ensuring that you get the best deals available and help you financially secure your new home. Call or contact Federal Hill Mortgage today to get started!

Applying for a Loan Mortgage Advice

Questions to Ask Philadelphia Mortgage Advisors

Searching for the perfect home in Philadelphia can be a very exciting endeavor, but add in fluctuating mortgage rates and different lenders and the process transforms into a rather overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be. As Philadelphia mortgage advisors, we understand the intricacies of the mortgage process and are here to guide our clients through these unchartered waters. Our goal is to streamline each step and provide valuable knowledge, expert guidance and mortgage resources. 

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or refinancing your current mortgage in Philadelphia, it is important to also conduct your own initial research, to ensure you are well informed and confident in every decision you make. Here are some common questions to ask your Philadelphia mortgage advisors to help you get started with confidence and ease.   

1. What Type of Loans are Best for Me?

With a variety of different loan options to choose from, your Philadelphia mortgage advisors will begin by evaluating your current situation and learning your wants to formulate the best plan for you. Long-term-fixed-rate loans are common with most new homebuyers, however, there are other options available such as adjustable-rate loans, interest only loans, and negative amortization loans. When meeting with your mortgage lender, ask them to thoroughly explain all the loans available to you and what repayment would look like overtime. Getting a complete picture of your loan options, allows you to make an informed and educated decision.             

2. What Are the Additional Costs Associated With This Loan?

Most monthly mortgages will consist of three parts: the principal, interest, and taxes / insurance. It is important to discuss with your mortgage advisor the additional taxes and fees included with the loan, to determine if the monthly rate is feasible for you. Each Philadelphia mortgage advisor is different and will be able to offer different rates on loans and the additional fees, so be sure to shop around. 

3. What Documents Are Needed to Apply?

Before submitting your application, you will want to discuss with your loan advisor what exactly they will need from you and what the process will entail. Generally speaking for most loan applications you will need to provide proof of identification, detailed financial information, income statements, tax returns, and undergo a credit check. 

4. Is Mortgage Insurance Required? 

Not all loans will require mortgage insurance. This will change depending on the type of loan and the amount you use for a down payment. When meeting with potential Philadelphia mortgage brokers, ask them to explain your different loan options, detailing which loans will require mortgage insurance and how the insurance is calculated. If insurance is not something you were expecting, ask your mortgage advisor if there are changes you can make to change the need for insurance. 

5. Do You Provide Underwriting Services In-House?

Once your Philadelphia mortgage advisor gathers all the necessary documents and information, they will either verify the information in-house or contract the task out to another firm. Be sure to ask your advisor if they will be handling the underwriting in-house and to ask them what exactly that entails and what the timeline is once the documents are submitted. At Federal Hill mortgage, we believe in complete transparency and open communication when it comes to finding you the right mortgage. Walking our clients through each step of the process and making sure they are updated, are two of our top priorities, because we think being in the know is just better.  

6. Am I Eligible to Be Pre-Qualified? 

In Philadelphia there is currently a shortage of homes for sale, meaning with low supply and high demand, houses go quickly and for higher than asking price. For this reason, you will want to ask your Philadelphia mortgage officer if you are able to be pre-qualified. This process only requires a few financial documents and gives you financial insight into what type of mortgage you can afford. Being pre-qualified simplifies the process once you put an offer on a home.   

7. How Much Down Payment is Required? 

A 20% downpayment is the usual rate, however, it isn’t always the case. Depending on if you’re well-qualified, you could pay substantially less. You may also pay less if you qualify for government-backed loans such as FHA or VA loans. In some cases though, that may mean you have to find private mortgage insurance and have to pay a higher monthly payment. When meeting with your Philadelphia mortgage officer, it is important to know all your options when it comes to your loan and down payment, so don’t be afraid to ask.    

8. What Will My Interest Rate and Annual Percentage Be? 

Deciding which mortgage broker in Philadelphia to go with is a very important decision. Each broker will be able to offer you different interest rates and with varying annual percentages (APR). Take the time to consider all the options in front of you and ask your broker for all the information on how the rate was calculated for you and what the monthly payment would be. At Federal Hill Mortgage, we take the time to fully explain to all of our clients the breakdown of the financial part of things so they can choose the best loan that fits their life.  

9. How Much Time Should I Expect for Loan Processing?

Each mortgage lender in Philadelphia will have varying loan processing times. The time is affected by what services are available in-house or need to be contracted out, whether all the documents that are needed are present, and other factors like firm resources. As mortgage brokers, we understand at Federal Hill Mortgage that this can be a very stressful time for clients, not knowing what could be coming next. This is why we like to communicate the whole time while we process your loan, so you are always informed and at ease. 

Overall, these questions are a great place to start if you are looking for a mortgage broker in Philadelphia. When beginning the home buying process, it is important to first establish what your goals are and to do foundational research so you can meet with prospective mortgage brokers with confidence. 

For more information on mortgage advisors in Philadelphia, contact Federal Hill Mortgage. We would love to partner with you for your mortgage journey! 

Applying for a Loan First-Time Buyers Home Buying Advice

Understanding Debt-To-Income Ratio

When you apply for a loan, lenders will take a look at a variety of metrics to analyze your creditworthiness. From your credit score to your forclosure and bankruptcy history, various aspects are factored together to create a clear picture of your financial health. However, one of the most important is your debt-to-income ratio or DTI. If you’ve ever wondered what DTI is and how it affects your likelihood of getting a loan, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is Debt-To-Income Ratio?

DTI is a metric used by lenders to analyze your existing financial obligations, and how they weigh against your current income. Any form of debt or large ongoing payments you have may be factored in. For instance, a car loan, credit card debt, medical debt, student loans, or other property loans such as for an investment property will be looked at. Unpaid tax debt may also be factored in. These outgoing financial obligations are then weighed against your monthly income from all sources. DTI is valuable for lenders because it gives them an idea of the additional financial responsibilities you’d be capable of taking on.

What Does DTI Look Like in Practice?

To best understand how DTI works in practice, let’s take an example. Let’s say John’s bills breakdown like this: his car payment is $400, he also has student loan payments of $200, and his monthly credit card expenditures are $300. Lastly, his rent is $1,000 per month. John earns an income of $6,000 each month. If we add all of his expenditures and divide them by his income ($1,900 ÷ $6,000) we get a debt-to-income ratio of 0.31, or 31%.

What Is an Ideal Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Lenders have a DTI range that they’ll consider acceptable. Typically, a DTI of 43% is the maximum allowed to obtain a loan. Ideally, you want your DTI to fall below 36%. However, one caveat is that rent or mortgage payments are expected to account for no more than 28% of your total debt ratio. This consideration is to ensure that you have wiggle room to take on other debts that may arise.

How Can I Lower My DTI?

If you’re disappointed with your own DTI after calculating yours, it’s important to consider ways you can lower it. A lower DTI may help you secure more favorable rates as you’re seen as a more trustworthy borrower. One of the most obvious ways to lower your DTI is to focus on lowering your monthly payments. If your car is near being paid off, it might be best to do that before applying. Contact the billing departments of outstanding debtors to discuss methods of reducing monthly payments. You may be able to explore debt consolidation options as well, where you bundle high-interest debts into low monthly payments and pay several off at once.

Your DTI is a valuable metric to lenders big and small. Trying to balance your expenditures with income is crucial for your long-term financial planning. If you want an outstanding mortgage broker to help you work through the process, look no further than Federal Hill Mortgage. Apply today to get started.

Applying for a Loan First-Time Buyers Mortgage Education

About Pre-Approval from a Mortgage Broker in Philadelphia

When shopping for the right mortgage, the preparation can be as important as the shopping itself. The approach matters, and how you prepare can help make you a more informed shopper. When you’re looking to work with a mortgage broker in Philadelphia, one service you’ll see advertised is pre-approval. Pre-approval is a valuable tool for buyers and brokers alike. Today, we’ll dive in to what pre-approval is, how it works, and why you should seek pre-approval when shopping for your home.

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

Before we get into the weeds of pre-approval, we should first clear up the conflation of pre-qualification and pre-approval. Pre-qualification is an early-stage process, where you have a broker or lender take a cursory glance at your finances to see if you’re even in the right financial position to afford a home mortgage. This is usually the first step and reserved for those who are interested in the prospect of homeownership but are entirely unsure if that’s feasible for them.

Pre-approval, on the other hand, is a deeper dive into your financial standing. It’s not meant to only assess whether you can afford a mortgage, but how much you will be able to afford. Pre-approval requires more effort on your part to source documents and provides a clearer view of the mortgage process down the road for you.

Required Documents for Pre-Approval

While the required information you need to provide can vary per the mortgage broker in Philadelphia you’re working with, generally, there are several types of documentation you will need for your pre-approval application. These include:

  • W-2s
  • Previous tax return
  • Past 60 days of bank statements
  • Past 30 days of pay stubs
  • Monthly debt payments, including car loans, credit card payments, and student debt
  • Proof of assets and their values, if neccesary or applicable.
  • Drivers license or passport

Individual brokers or lenders may require additional information.

Steps in the Pre-Approval Process

Once you’ve gathered the necessary documentation, here are the steps you should take to secure pre-approval

  1. Obtain your credit score: Your credit score is a valuable tool lenders use to determine your overall credit health. Lower credit scores may result in a higher down payment being required from lenders. Generally, the minimum score lenders will accept is 630, the floor of the “fair” category. However, those with lower scores may be able to seek specialized loans such as an FHA loan to assist with loan eligibility and down payment assistance.
  2. Obtain your free annual credit report: Every year, you are entitled to a free credit report from the three major reporting companies, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. To obtain yours, simply click here. Make sure to review for any errors, and work to have them corrected before proceeding.
  3. Calculate your Debit-to-Income Ratio: This is one of the most important numbers lenders use to assess whether you are a qualified borrower. Your debt-to-income ratio allows them to take a look at how effectively you take on debt and pay it versus what you make. If you’re unsure of how to do that, check out NerdWallet’s DTI ratio calculator for help.
  4. Fill out application: Once you’ve gathered the neccesary information, it’s time to fill out the pre-approval application for your chosen mortgage broker in Philadelphia. Here, you will be asked for some more information usually. This includes things such as the type of loan your seeking, employment information, information about your realtor if you’ve already selected one, and infromation about the property if you have one in mind. The more info you can provide a broker or lender, the more accurate they’ll be able to be when delivering you with results.

What Can Pre-Approval Do For Me?

When you’ve completed pre-approval, your broker or lender will give you a pre-approval letter. This is documentation that identifies how much they estimate you can afford. It can be useful, as you can present it to realtors and sellers to show that you are capable of affording a particular property and are serious about moving forward with purchasing the home.

What Can Pre-Approval NOT Do for Me?

While it can inform sellers of your intentions, it is crucial to remember that pre-approval is NOT the same as having a loan guaranteed. The numbers you receive from the pre-approval process are not a promise of your final loan amount or term, and it’s important to emphasize that you don’t actually have a loan until the documents are signed

Get Started on Your Pre-Approval Today

If pre-approval sounds right for you, get started working with a celebrated mortgage broker in Philadelphia and across the east coast in Federal Hill Mortgage. Our top-ranked team can help you achieve your loan goals with prompt pre-approval services. Apply today to get started.

Applying for a Loan Real Estate Advice

Loan Options for Investment Properties in Philadelphia

Investment real estate is a strategic way to build your long-term financial portfolio. If you’re just getting started on your investment journey, determining how you should finance your prospective purchase is crucial. There are several options available to you, with each presenting advantages to different situations. Today, we break down the loan options for investment properties in Philadelphia.

Distinguishing Property Types:

To understand loan options, we first must understand how residential housing is categorized. There are three primary categories

Primary Residence: This is the residence where you primarily live. For a home to be considered your primary residence, you don’t need to live there year-round. However, you can only have one property considered your primary residence at one time, and it should be for all intents and purposes, your main home.

Second Home: If you own another property that you occupy for parts of the year, it is considered your second home. To clarify, you can have mutiple second homes, as long as you occupy them for some portion of the calendar year each year. Common examples of second homes include seasonal homes and vacation homes.

Investment Properties: Finally, we come to investment properties. These are residences that you don’t ever occupy and exist solely as a way to generate income. There are ways to utilize a primary residence as an investment property, such as in the case of house hacking, but usually, your investment property will be entirely separate from your residence.

The Loan Options Available for Investment Properties in Philadelphia

When it comes to loans for investment properties, there are a few different options you have at your disposal, each fitting some circumstances better than others. Let’s take a look at those.

Traditional Bank Loan

If you’re already a homeowner, this is the option you’re probably most familiar with. Like financing your primary residence, you have the option of securing a traditional bank loan for your investment properties in Philadelphia. This is a straightforward option and requires much of the same financial information you had to provide for a home loan, including credit score, debt-to-income, W2s, tax records, etc. Finding the right loan for an investment property can be challenging, which is why working with a qualified mortgage broker may be the right step for you. Brokers like those at the Federal Hill Mortgage team can help streamline the process and have existing relationships with lenders that allow us to help negotiate better interest rates and mortgage terms. If you are looking to purchase an investment property, have strong financial standing, and are not looking for a fixer-upper, a traditional bank loan is likely the best option for you

Fix-and-Flip Loan

If you like the idea of property investment as a building block for your financial future, but don’t want to hassle with landlord duties or property management companies, fixing and flipping may be an option worth exploring. This is the process of purchasing outdated, damaged, or even vacant properties, remodeling them, and selling at a profit. If you have construction experience and can handle the remodel yourself, this is an even more effective method. If you are hiring a remodeling company, ensure you budget carefully to guarantee that the remodel won’t cost more than you can earn by selling the property.

If you want to purchase a property but aren’t sure if you can finance the remodel, a fix-and-flip loan is a great option to explore. A fix-and-flip is a short-term, hard money loan meant to help you finance the remodel and flip the property for a greater profit. A hard money loan essentially just means that the loan is backed by the property itself. There is more flexibility within these loans than traditional bank loans, mainly because lenders may be more focused on the potential profitability of the property than solely on your financial standing. Though, those items will still be of interest. Lenders estimate the after-repair value (ARV) to determine whether or not the property is viable for a loan. The biggest downside of fix-and-flip loans is that interest rates are often far higher than those of conventional loans.

Accessing Home Equity

You’ve probably heard that tapping home equity isn’t an advisable strategy outside of a few scenarios, including substantial home upgrades, and business investments. There are two ways to access your home equity to purchase an investment property, a cash-out refinance or a home equity loan. You may be able to access up to 80% of your home’s value to use towards the purchase of investment properties in Philadelphia.

With a home equity loan, your loan is secured against the equity of your home. You borrow a lump sum, which you repay back at a fixed rate. A home equity line of credit is similar, but you have flexibility in how you access the money. Instead of being given the lump sum all at once, you can choose amounts to draw monthly. If you’re still paying off your original mortgage, both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit act as second mortgages and will be paid on top of your existing mortgage rates.

A cash-out refinance on the other hand acts as an entirely new mortgage that replaces your current mortgage with a larger amount. The difference between your current mortgage and the refinanced mortgage is the cash-out that you receive. Cash-out refinances typically come with lower interest rates than HELOCs or home equity loans.

These are just some of the options at your disposal when you look to finance investment properties in Philadelphia. Navigating all of the options can be challenging when first trying to dip your feet into the investment realty market. Having a professional mortgage brokerage and lending team at your back can make all the difference. Federal Hill Mortgage is made up of the number 1 ranked loan originators on the East Coast. If you’re ready, apply today to get started.

Applying for a Loan Real Estate Advice

How to Raise Your Credit Score in Virginia

Your credit score is an essential piece of your overall financial health and an important factor in the mortgage process. Mortgage lenders use your credit score to assess your financial responsibility, including how diligent you handle loans that have been granted to you. Borrowers with higher credit scores have a better chance of getting a favorable interest rate from lenders. If your credit score is lacking, here are some steps you can take to raise your credit score in Virginia and gain access to a better mortgage rate.

Always Review Your Annual Credit Reports

You may understand that your score is low, but without proper monitoring, you may be at a loss for exactly why it is that way. What some people don’t know is that you’re entitled to an annual report from the three major credit reporting institutions, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Simply follow this link to gain access to the portal for your credit reports. It’s important to gather a report from each institution, as the information they have available may differ depending on what sources report to them.

Avoid New Loans

If your ultimate goal is to improve your credit to achieve a favorable mortgage rate, it’s advisable that you don’t take out any new loans for at least a year prior to applying for your mortgage. A new car can wait when you’re ready to get into your dream home.

Determine Your Outstanding Debt

Your outstanding debt is a significant factor in your credit score and is also information a lender will inquire about when you apply for a mortgage. Take stock of all your outstanding debt, whether it be credit card debt, medical debt, student loans, car loans, or any other money you’ve borrowed. Organize the information by loans that you can most feasibly pay off and begin formulating a manageable strategy to tackle that debt. This is a crucial step to increasing your credit score in Virginia.

Change Your Payment Strategy

For many types of debt, there are tools you can use to make the process of paying it off easier. Autopay for credit cards is a smart option that ensures you never miss a payment and aren’t assessed a penalty on your credit score. Paying twice a month can help you pay off your principal further and avoid accruing interest. For larger debts such as student loans, determine if there is a payment plan option that can help you make consistent payments and chip away at the overall debt.

Ask for Higher Limits (If You Can Avoid Spending)

Raising the limits on your credit cards may sound counterintuitive to increasing your credit score, but it’s actually a sneaky strategy that can be very useful. When you raise the limit on your credit card, you lower your overall credit utilization ratio, even if your spending doesn’t change. The credit utilization ratio is an important factor that can lower your credit score without you even realizing it. However, for this strategy to work, you can’t increase your spending to correlate with the new limit. So keep your spending where it is, and reap the benefits for your credit score.

There’s more to the mortgage process than just attaining a good credit score in Virginia. For all of your other mortgage needs, the expert team at Federal Hill Mortgage is here to help. As the top-ranked mortgage brokers and lenders on the East Coast, our team can help make your dream home a reality. To get started, apply now.

Call Now