By: Tim Whitmire 

Yes! Buyers can purchase a home with no cash out of pocket!  How much down payment should you make?

Common questions home buyers have are: How much money do I need to buy a home? How much down payment should I make?  Is it worth making a 20% down payment?

To many people’s surprise, home buyers can qualify to purchase a home with needing no cash to close.  There are two 100% loan programs.  These programs are VA mortgages for eligible veterans and USDA mortgages for homes in eligible rural areas.  Both of these programs require no down payment.  There are still closings costs involved, but closing costs are eligible to be negotiated into the contract for the seller to pay.  It isn’t uncommon for Veterans or those purchasing homes in eligible rural areas to need no money to close.

It is still possible to get into a home with no money out of pocket even if you are not a Veteran and are not buying in a rural area.  This can be accomplished with both Conforming and FHA mortgages with the use of down payment assistance programs.  There are down payment assistance programs in both MO & IL.  There are also down payment assistance programs available through certain counties in MO & IL.  You do not always have to be a first-time buyer to be eligible for down payment assistance.

Even though it is possible for many buyers to purchase a home with no money out of pocket, which can make the dream of homeownership more obtainable, making a down payment can save you money over the life of the loan.  A larger down payment may allow you to reduce the amount of private mortgage insurance (PMI) you must pay or eliminate the need to pay PMI altogether.  A larger down payment can also help you obtain a better interest rate on your mortgage.  If you are an eligible veteran and choose to take advantage of your VA benefit of obtaining a VA mortgage, a larger down payment can reduce the amount you must pay for VA’s up-front funding fee.  There can be a lot of benefits to making a larger down payment. Sources of down payment can include savings, liquidating assets, borrowing against assets such as a 401k or a vehicle, tax refunds, a bonus, inheritance, gifts from family, down payment assistance, etc.

There is a lot to consider when determining the amount of down payment you should make. We at First Integrity encourage you to ask the following questions: How much money is that larger down payment saving you?  What is the source of your down payment?  What is the opportunity costs incurred for the funds used to make your down payment?  Is it worth making a 20% down payment?  It’s important to consider all of your mortgage options and all the true costs of the down payment or lack of down payment, you choose to make.  First Integrity has exclusive programs we’ve designed to meet the needs of home buyers with all amounts of down payments.  Ask how you can make less than a 20% down payment and truly pay no PMI!

  • We Care enough to take the extra time necessary to make all of the mortgage programs you qualify for available to you 
  • We Think through the pros and cons of each mortgage option and help you make the best decisions for you and your family  
  • We Deliver the best mortgage experience and make buying a home fun

Our Closings are a Celebration! Not a Formality.

Call Tim Whitmire at 314.402.8184 to get pre-approved and learn about all of the mortgage options you qualify for.  I can also be reached by email at 


By Tim Whitmire  Senior Mortgage Banker With First Integrity Mortgage Services 

Start with a solid plan today!

The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions have to do with health and finances.  We can’t help you eat healthier, exercise, or lose weight, but we can help you get on track to be financially fit with a refinance or by helping you prepare to purchase your first home or your next home in 2018.

The key to a smooth real estate transaction, whether it is buying your first home, your next home, or refinancing, is following a well-thought-out solid plan.

A successful purchase transaction starts well before looking at your first home.  An informed buyer first prepares by talking with their mortgage banker months ahead of time.  So many times home buyers wish they had done this or wish they had not done that.  We have a list of Do’s and Don’ts to share with home buyers looking to purchase a home in 2018. Call us for this FREE and simple guide.

We also help buyers understand their options with detailed loan analysis worksheets.  These worksheets include a complete breakdown of all costs associated with the transaction, cash needed to close, and a breakdown of what the monthly payments will be.  This helps home buyers establish down payment goals, which can be turned into a monthly or weekly savings plan.

Credit is also very important.  It is important to know your credit score and how it impacts your mortgage.  Even if you already have excellent credit, increasing your score can help you obtain a lower rate and save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.  A First Integrity Mortgage Banker can help you understand how to improve your score.  Viewing and having a full understanding of your credit months prior to your purchase while there is still ample time to improve your score can pay off in a big way.

Is it better to save for a larger down payment, or to use that cash to pay down debt and improve your credit score?  It’s important to get these answers before you begin shopping for a home.

There are many ways refinancing can help you meet your 2018 financial goals.  

With increasing home values, you or a friend or family member may be able to save money by eliminating Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) from your mortgage.  

Or, you may want to make home improvements.  Did you know that you do not need equity in your home to finance home improvements?  Call today and ask how. (314) 878-7900. 

With the Federal Reserve Bank raising short-term rates and Prime rate increasing, you may need help to pay off high rate credit card debt or you may want to pay off an adjustable rate second mortgage.

Refinancing can help you achieve goals of lowering your monthly payment, paying off your mortgage quicker, consolidating debt, lowering your rate, eliminating PMI, adding or removing someone from the mortgage, etc.  

It takes very little effort on your end to find out if you could benefit from refinancing.  A First Integrity Senior Mortgage Banker will ask the right questions to learn about your existing situation and understand your goals.  With this information, we provide a no cost, no obligation analysis to determine if you could benefit from refinancing.  Call Today! Tim Whitmire 314-402-8184 or 

Renovation Loans | Home Improvement Loans in St. Louis, MO 
By: Ryan Cox

Now is the right time to find that perfect home, make updates, improvements, or renovations so you enjoy them this summer.  Whether purchasing a home or wanting to upgrade your existing home, our Renovation loan programs allow a customer to build the costs of renovating into their mortgage and achieve two goals with one loan.  If you have found that home in the perfect location, but it’s not quite what you want:  Don’t wait, Renovate. Are you outgrowing your current home or wanting to upgrade dated items, but do not have enough equity built up or enough money saved?  Don’t wait, Renovate.

There is a lot of talk in the real estate community about low inventory on homes for sale.  That is true in some cases if you are referring to homes in new, pristine, move-in ready condition.  However, there is a great inventory of homes that are outdated or in a distressed condition in very desirable areas which are great opportunities to purchase and renovate.  These homes are typically being sold below market value so, not only can you get a great deal, but you can also include any and all updates, improvements, or renovations that you would like at the same time.  So, don’t wait until you find the perfect home. Turn any home in your desired area into the perfect home with one of our renovation or home improvement products.

Whether you are spending $15,000 for cosmetic repairs and updates, $150,000 for kitchen and bath remodels, or $300,000 to put on an addition and complete major renovations, we have the right renovation program that can help you accomplish all of your goals.  All of these programs work off the “after improved” value, not the “as-is” value which gives you credit for all the repairs, updates and improvements upfront. This allows access to the greatest amount of funds available. 

These programs are mainly designed to benefit home buyers and homeowners, but they are also a wonderful tool that can be used to help Realtors, Contractors, Investors, Financial Planners, and Insurance agents increase their business and help their clients reach their goals.  These programs work well on all owner-occupied properties, but they can also be used to for second homes and even investment properties.
Choosing the right lender is as important as choosing the right loan program.  Both need to work for you today and tomorrow.  At First Integrity Mortgage Services, you can expect the best possible service to help you plan effectively, purchase confidently, and own successfully.

If you would like to learn more about our Renovation programs or see if one might be a good fit for your next project, please contact our Renovation Specialist (Ryan Cox) to set up a free consultation 618-581-3015 or NMLS# 1547172.

December 2017 Newsletter

By: Kiara Johnson

This is by far one of my favorite times of the year! It’s the time of year where most people come together and realize how important it is to be thankful for the many blessings we have. We know everyone’s story is different, and no one is dealt the same hand. This is why it is so important for us to give back while we can. 

Here at First Integrity Mortgage Services, we don’t wait until this time of the year to show support to our community. This is something close to all of our hearts & an ongoing trend year round. Once a quarter, First Integrity Mortgage picks an organization to give back. Money is raised among the employees and donated at the end of the quarter. The organizations chosen are usually near and dear to the employees here. 

1st Quarter 2017 – Team Activities for Special Kids (T.A.S.K.) & Gateway to Hope
2nd Quarter 2017- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
3rd Quarter 2017- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
4th Quarter 2017- Amy’s Wish

Although the majority of our donations come from our employees, everyone is welcomed to participate. If you want to know FIMS current organization of choice, feel free to contact our office at 314-878-7900.

Backstoppers is another organization FIMS holds close to heart. Police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers continue to face great challenges and make sacrifices for our safety every day. Supporting Backstoppers is one of our ways of saying “Thank You”. We give $750 for every Backstopper loan we originate. The borrower receives $500 off closing cost AND we donate $250 to the organization. 
We don’t stop there! Every year, in April, we host a Trivia Night in support of Backstoppers. Our first year in 2016, we raised approximately $8,000.

Our second year, we took it to a new level and raised over $16,000!  2018 we are looking to go above and beyond. Everyone is welcomed to attend our trivia night. More details to come early 2018. 

Another group that we like to show our appreciation and support to is our veterans. The individuals that have fought for our country and our freedom definitely deserve a break and some recognition. Every VA loan that is originated, we waive our origination fee.  Just a simple way of saying “Thank You” and we appreciate everything you have done.   So as we go into the holiday season, let’s show what the season is all about…Love, Peace, & Happiness!

If you would like more information or have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to Kiara Johnson, NMLS# 869292, directly at or 314-568-6389. 

Happy Holidays!

By Christine Elbert 

What’s a VA Loan?

The VA loan program is a specialized loan available only to eligible Veterans. The VA loan is insured by the Federal Government, though the loan is held and serviced by mortgage banks. The VA loan has a number of special features that truly make it a great deal for those who serve our country. AND, at First Integrity Mortgage we waive our lender fee of $985 for all veterans that are utilizing their VA benefit through a VA Home Loan!

What makes a VA loan different?

VA loans are unique in a number of ways that make it a stand-out loan. First, there is no required down payment from the Veteran. Second, there is no monthly mortgage insurance. This allows qualified veterans to qualify for a higher priced house with the same payment as perhaps a lower priced house on a conventional or FHA loan. The VA does have a funding fee charged to the Veteran, but it can be added to the loan amount and financed so no cash out of pocket. The seller is also allowed to pay up to 4 percent of the sales price towards the Veterans closing costs and prepaids.

What kind of VA Loans are there?

VA loans can either be a fixed rate for 10, 20 or 30 years, they also offer an ARM program (ARM loans are Adjustable Rate Mortgages. On VA Loans, ARMS are typically lower rate caps effectively lowering the risk of the market). 
VA loans can be used for a number of things. You can purchase your new home with a VA loan (as long as it is your primary residence) or you can also refinance your home using a VA loan. 

Refinances can be either rate and term (just the balance you owe and the cost to close) or a cash out (cashing out a portion of the equity in your house as well as refinancing the old loan).  VA Loans also offer the IRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Loan) refinance, where a refinance can be done on the principal balance with no appraisal. This loan has helped many Veterans take advantage of lower mortgage rates even if their property has lost value since the original purchase. VA also offers a renovation or home improvement loan product so with a VA loan you can improve the property you are looking to buy or already own and still take advantage of the VA loan program.

If you have questions about your VA eligibility, Veterans can go to the VA benefits website and request a COE (Certificate of Eligibility). Your First Integrity Mortgage Services loan specialist is also able to help with the COE, should you need it.

If you are an eligible Veteran or knows someone who is and would like more information on the VA loan program, please contact Christine Elbert at or 314-495-1865. 

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