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The History of the Federal Hill Neighborhood

Since our inception, we’ve been proud to call Federal Hill home. Not only is Federal Hill our company’s namesake, but it is also a wonderful neighborhood with a unique history that is important to the larger story of Baltimore City. Today, we want to give you a little insight into the neighborhood of Federal Hill.

Early History Within Baltimore

Federal Hill’s location directly on the Inner Harbor was central to its historical significance. In the 18th century, the Federal Hill neighborhood was a hub for shipbuilding. As wooden parts were traded for iron, the shipyards of Federal Hill adapted. This includes when WWII arrived and the neighborhood became a central location that supplied and repaired ships to assist with the war effort.

Federal Hill Park

A central feature of the neighborhood is of course Federal Hill Park. A lovely spot for recreation, with some of the best views of the city to boot, Federal Hill Park has also played a key role in Baltimore’s history. Visitors to the park will notice the replica cannons aimed at the Inner Harbor. These cannons represent a central piece of Civil War history within the region. Following the Baltimore City Riot of 1861, a thousand Union troops under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler established a small fort at the location of the park. Artillery cannons were aimed directly at Baltimore’s downtown area. This was to help ensure the allegiance, or at the very least, good behavior, of Confederate supporters within the City. This show of force fortunately never played out, but it remains an intriguing piece of Federal Hill’s history.

Federal Hill Today

Today, Federal Hill is one of Baltimore’s most desirable neighborhoods for residents and visitors. The park draws in a crowd to take in the gorgeous views offered of the Inner Habor and Harbor East. Federal Hill’s main strip also offers a lively nightlife scene. Throughout the neighborhood, there are a variety of unique attractions for visitors to experience. The Cross Street Market incorporates dining and mixed vendors in a renovated, historic building. The American Visionary Art Museum offers unique, one-of-a-kind art displays, while the Baltimore Museum of Industry celebrates the long history of Baltimore as an industrial powerhouse.

We’re proud to call Federal Hill home. We couldn’t think of a better namesake for our business, and we’re honored to see how the neighborhood continues to grow and change. As the number #1 ranked mortgage lender in Maryland, Federal Hill Mortgage is here to help you find the home of your dreams. Reach out today to get started.

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Maryland Mortgage Rates: What Are My Options?

One of the most stressful parts of shopping for mortgages is undoubtedly finding the rate that is right for your budget and needs. With so many options out in the wild, it can be tough to know where to find the best rate, and what to look for. Today, we’re going to weigh some of the options available when shopping Maryland mortgage rates.

Types of Maryland Mortgage Rates and Loans

The rate you ultimately select is going to be dependant on the type of loan you choose. There are a variety of options, with some only available to certain types of homebuyers. Let’s break down the most common options available to you as a home-buyer.

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is one of the most common options available. As the name implies, you take on a loan with a 30-year payment period where the interest rate doesn’t change. Some pros to this option are that you will likely have a more affordable monthly rate than shorter loan options. Because the rate is fixed, there is also more predictability to your monthly payments.

15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage plays off the same premise of a 30-year loan, but the shorter time means it’s often used for different reasons. This option is a strong choice for those looking to refinance. Your monthly payments will be higher than a 30-year loan, but the interest payments will be cheaper than the long-term option.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

Adjustable-rate mortgages offer a unique kind of flexibility. You select a mortgage rate that is locked in for a set amount of time, say five years, and then is adjusted after that period lapses. This can be advantageous if you believe mortgage rates may be lower in the future, or if you aren’t planning to have the mortgage for an extended period of time. The downside is that if the rates are higher when the readjustment period comes, you can end up with a higher rate than you initially expected.

FHA Mortgage

Now, we begin to get into mortgages that may only apply to specific types of buyers. A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage is a loan insured by the federal government’s FHA. They are designed to help more moderate-income earners be able to afford the home buying process. The two key aspects of an FHA mortgage are that buyers can pay as little as 3.5% of the home cost for the downpayment and that those with credit scores as low as 500 may be able to apply. FHA loans help make Maryland mortgage rates more affordable by lessening some of the barriers to entry.

VA Loan

VA mortgages are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans are available to active duty service members as well as veterans. VA mortgages have distinct advantages, including no required downpayment on most properties, but there are income and property-value caps depending on the region. If you are a service member or veteran, this may be a great option for you.

USDA Mortgages

USDA mortgages are backed by the US Department of Agriculture and are reserved for those who wish to purchase a property located in rural areas. However, some suburban properties may qualify as well. Like VA Mortgages, most USDA home loans do not require a down payment. This option is rather specialized but is great for buyers searching for specific types of property.

Find Great Maryland Mortgage Rates with Federal Hill Mortgage

In the world of mortgages, there are a variety of options that can dictate the rate you end up with. Above all, it’s important to have a qualified, professional team in your corner helping you secure the best rate available. Federal Hill Mortgage is the top-ranked mortgage lender in Maryland. We can help you secure the home of your dreams. Get started on your application today.

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How to Find the Right Mortgage Lender in Baltimore, MD

Buying a home is a big decision, one you’ve undoubtedly spent days, weeks, months, or even years thinking about. While it may be exciting to search the listings for the perfect place, finding the right home is only half the battle. Financing that perfect purchase is essential. Finding the right lender may not be as fun as finding the home you want, but it doesn’t have to be such a challenge. Today we breakdown how to find the right mortgage lender in Baltimore, MD.

Begin With Your Credit

Before shopping for loans, it’s important to straighten your own credit out to the best of your ability. A credit checkup will help you get an idea of what you can afford, and what rates may be offered by lenders. Annually, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the big three credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. By visiting AnnualCreditReport.com, you can get a sense of your current credit health and monitor for any inconsistencies or issues you may need to address. This is a useful step to help streamline the mortgage shopping process and make it easier to find the right mortgage lender in Baltimore, MD. Ensure you are making your credit payments on-time and taking any necessary steps to bring your score up as much as possible before seeking a home loan.

Trust Experience and Feedback

Once the lender shopping is underway, it can be rather overwhelming considering the vast number of options out there. To sort through them, it’s important to take into account the feedback they’ve received from past clients. This will help you get a clear indication of what working with a particular lender will be like in practice. Did they address a client’s needs in a timely manner? Did they work their hardest to offer a good rate to the prospective client? Sorting through reviews can help you answer many of the burning questions you may have before going with one lender over the other.

Seek Pre-Approval

Pre-approval is a quick and easy method of getting a clearer sense of what you can afford. Pre-approval will help you in your home shopping process. With a clearly defined window of what you can afford, you’ll be better equipped to find a home that fits within your budget.

To apply for pre-approval from most lenders, you’ll need a few things:

  • a state issued ID
  • Social Security numbers for any applicants
  • Employment history with verification
  • Proof of income
  • Two months of bank statements
  • Proof of any outstanding debts
  • Downpayment information
  • Two years of federal tax returns

Individual lenders may request more information, but these are generally the basics of what will be required for pre-approval. Once pre-approval is secured, you’ll have a much better idea of your mortgage loan prospects and can be more informed while you shop.

Go Local

To find the right mortgage lender in Baltimore, MD, trust who the locals trust. With over 150 five star reviews on Google, Federal Hill Mortgage is the number 1 rated mortgage lender and brokerage firm in Maryland. Our team works tirelessly to secure a loan that works for you. Get started with your pre-approval today or contact us with any questions about the mortgage loan process you may have.

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New Maryland Law Exempts Real Estate Investors from Paying Tax

If you own investment property in Maryland, you may
now save thousands of dollars under this new Law

September 2013

For many years, Maryland law has provided an exemption from recordation tax when
refinancing a mortgage that is secured by a principal residence up to the amount of the
unpaid principal balance of the loan being paid off.

Within the last few months, the scope of that recordation tax exemption has expanded and
now applies not only to individuals who are refinancing their principal residences but also to
any person or entity (i.e., LLC, Corporation, Trusts) and to any type of property, including
investment properties and second homes.

Under the new Law, the recordation tax exemption is now available to any refinancing
mortgage as long as the borrower is the original mortgagor of the current mortgage (which is
the case most of the time).

What this means for you:

If you own an investment property or second home that has a mortgage with an even
slightly than higher market interest rate, provided you qualify otherwise you can now
refinance that mortgage with zero state recordation tax. Depending upon the property, this
may cut your closing costs down by half or more, provided the paper work is prepared
correctly.

Before this Law, high recordation tax made it cost-prohibitive for many Maryland property
owners to take advantage of lower interest rates. By removing that recordation tax, the new
Maryland Law thereby opens the floodgates to refinancing in Maryland.

To find out how this law impacts you, contact Tammy Saul (formerly Tammy Lennon) at tsaul@fhmllc.com,
Partner and Expert at Federal Hill Mortgage in Baltimore.

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I Live Here, You Live Here, and It’s Our Mainstreet

The following article was written by Andrea Sommer, Executive Director of Federal Hill Main Street, and was published in the December 2013 edition of the Federal Hill Main Street Association Newspaper.

BALTIMORE, MD – Every neighborhood has their own hidden gems, and one of Federal Hill’s is tucked away on Patapsco Street, just a few steps from the Cross Street Market. Federal Hill Mortgage has been serving customers since 2006, when Ryan Saul and Tammy Saul (formerly Lennon) combined their many years of experience in the indesutry to open their own company. They married in 2011, and Federal Hill is not only home base for their company, but it has also become the neighborhood they call home. Both are fans of city life, and plan to always keep their buiness here. As Tammy states, “this is where the life and action of Maryland are.”

While the financial downturn of 2007-2008 wiped out many mortgage companies, Federal Hill Mortgage actually flourished, and they continue to thrive in this volatile industry. The credit for this success can be given to the talented and driven team behind the company. Ryan Saul handles much of the “behind the scenes” work, such as licensing, compliance and management. Tammy Saul handles almost all of the company’s clients. Her impressive credentials include highschool valedictorian, earning a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore in just one year, graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law one semester early, and then passing the Maryland Bar on her first attempt. Professionally, Tammy spent a few years practicing as an attorney, and continues to be licensed. “People frequently ask me why I left the law firm work for mortgages. In 2003, I met my husband Ryan, a 10-year mortgage veteran. I didn’t take mortgages seriously at the time, but decided to ‘try it out’ for a few months while in between jobs. One month led to another, and 18 months later, Ryan and I had accumulated enough know-how, capital and dedicated client base to open our own mortgage company. Since then, we have grown nearly exclusively by word of mouth referrals.”

These referrals continue to come, bringing clients to their Federal Hill office for a variety of mortgage programs. For Tammy, a first generation immigrant who came to the United States as a toddler, “property and business ownership is the ultimate American Dream. For me, to enable that is powerful. And I love empowering people, both homeowners as well as real estate investors who own property as a form of business ownership.” Her skills and dedication to her clients are apparent to those shes works with, including prominent real estate broker Ben Frederick III of Ben Frederick Realty, who writes: “Tammy’s knowledge of financing is second to none. I have worked with many lenders in my 30 years in the real estate business and no one else matches Tammy’s knowledge, integrity, tenacity, thoroughness and delivery of the absolute best and competitive financing terms for myself and my clients. I trust her implicity to get the job done and to treat my clients fairly and honestly. Her integrity and professionalism are second-to-none. She does her homework and identifies problems and issues early in the transaction process and then works to resolve the issue or direct the client to a solution that WILL work given their situation.”

It is these challenging cases that make Federal Hill Mortgage stand out. Tammy is proud to say “we will find a way if one is out there.” Their personalized approach allows them the time and resources to look at an application more in depth, and figure out all the possible financing options. Over the past six years, the mortgage industry has changed drastically; small details make all of the difference. Federal Hill Mortgage has become very adept at identifying and addressing these details. They can respond quickly to ensure loans are closed, and discover ways to finance applications that have previously been turned down by larger operations. Tammy and her staff are also well versed in the Baltimore City grant programs available to first time home buyers, and tailoring loans that work with those grants. They are experienced working with first-time homebuyers, and can walk them through the entire process.

With their continuing success, the secret is out about Federal Hill Mortgage. You will see much more of them as they are expanding their operations to a new, larger neighborhood location, and expanding their staff as well. Their website, www.FederalHillMortgage.com is also undergoing some big changes. Be sure to check it out over the next few months to discover their new Federal Hill address.

You can reach Federal Hill Mortgage via phone (1-800-551-9198, extension 103 for Tammy Saul) or e-mail at tsaul@fhmllc.com.