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


Reverse Mortgages in St. Louis Reverse Mortgages in St. Louis, MO 

By David Puzniak with First Integrity Mortgage Services in St. Louis, MO 

Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of income in retirement, yet 23% of married couples and 46% of single people receive 90% or more of their income from Social Security.

Plus…68% of Baby Boomers will carry mortgage debt into retirement.That being said, many retirees are not prepared for income loss or increased spending.  

The Reverse Mortgage was created to provide flexibility in diversifying a seniors’ income and assets. This happens by allowing them access to the hard-earned equity built up in their home. A Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit can be the difference between financial hardship and comfortably staying in your home. 

The benefits of a reverse mortgage in St. Louis:

  • The ability to use your home equity - That will help you maintain a more comfortable standard of living, in your own home
  • Great flexibility - You can choose to take your proceeds as a line of credit; monthly advances for a set period of time; a monthly stream of funds for as long as you live in your home; a lump sum; or a combination of these options.
  • No monthly mortgage payments - If you qualify and have an existing mortgage, home equity loan or any other type of debt, you can pay it off and reduce your monthly expenses. Or, if you own your home free-and-clear, you can get the additional funds you need with no minimum monthly repayments required. (As the homeowner, you remain responsible for paying property taxes, homeowners insurance, and homeowner’s association dues if applicable.)
  • Opportunity to have funds for travel.
  • A cushion for the unexpected.

No matter the decision you choose to make regarding a Reverse mortgage or refinancing, it is recommended you use a qualified mortgage professional to assist you with your decision. You will want to share your financial goals with your mortgage professional in order to provide them with the information necessary to properly advise you to meet your financial goals.

Licensed mortgage professionals at First Integrity Mortgage Services use their experience, expertise, and the special programs available to discover your goals, present multiple relevant options, and recommend the program that best meets YOUR needs!

Contact David Puzniak NMLS # 559106 to schedule an appointment today at 314-486-2652 or to start the process of refinancing your home!

First Integrity Mortgage Services is a locally owned mortgage banker located at:

1807 Park 270 Drive, Suite 265

 St. Louis, MO 63146, NMSL#276593.

 Visit us today at and see the difference!!


Home Loan Down Payments in St. Louis, MO 


By Dave Puzniak

A home purchase is in your future, NOW is the time to start thinking about a down payment. When considering buying a home, the down payment amount plays an important role. So, what is a down payment? 

A down payment is a percentage of the home’s purchase price, which is paid upfront to obtain home financing; it’s viewed as an investment, from the buyer, in the house. While there are programs that have little to no down payment requirements, it’s always wise to have money set aside when purchasing a home. A home is typically one of the most substantial lifetime investments, and it is considered best practice to begin with money down.

While there are many ways to gather a down payment, here are 5 of the most common methods: 

1. Tax Time, Right Now! Over 80% of tax filers are expected to receive a tax refund this year. Why not use that nice refund to help purchase a dream home? 

2. 401K or Other Investment Accounts: A retirement and/or investment account is a common source for a down payment. Of course, consult a financial, tax, or legal advisor before withdrawing or making any decisions about investment accounts. 

3. Down Payment Assistance Programs: There are county and state programs designed to help homebuyers get into a home through assistance with a majority of, if not all of, a down payment. There may be credit, property, and/or income limitations to these programs. Check with a loan officer for eligibility. 

4. Gifts From Relatives: Sometimes, your family can be of help; it’s common for parents to assist their children in the purchase of a home. As long as the assistance comes from a relative and the funds provided are genuinely a gift (no repayment is intended nor required), it is an acceptable source for a down payment. 

5. The First Integrity Mortgage Services  Power Plus Loan Program: This unique product can ONLY be found at First Integrity Mortgage Services. Not only will it reduce the down payment to only 5%, but it can also eliminate without taking a rate hike for the program. 

The best down payment option will vary from buyer to buyer and will depend on their current financial situation. Regardless of the method, set up a consultation with a lender to discuss all options. Creating a clear and concise action plan will make the home buying process easier.

Licensed mortgage professionals at First Integrity Mortgage Services use their experience, expertise, and the special programs available to discover your goals, present multiple relevant options, and recommend the program that best meets YOUR needs!

Don’t sell yourself short. Call today to start your home buying path, 314-878-7900!

Contact David Puzniak at First Integrity Mortgage at 314-486-2652 or for a complimentary loan preapproval or refinance assessment. NMLS# 559106.

Tim Whitmire Mortgages in St. Louis Home Loan Options in St. Louis, MO 

Goal of Buying a Home 

By Tim Whitmire 

Whether your goal is to buy your first home or your next home, this market demands planning and preparation. Getting pre-approved by a reputable local lender is a great way to start. Our goal at First Integrity Mortgage Services is to help you find the right program that best serves your needs and to make the process as easy and painless as possible.

We start by gathering the information needed to complete your loan application. From there, we will ask a few additional questions to understand what is essential to you fully, so we can put together all the relevant options you qualify for to present to you. There more options than your standard 30 yr. fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment.  

First Time Homebuyers

There are a number of special programs specifically designed for first-time buyers. They are mostly aimed at reducing the amount of cash needed to close. First-time buyer programs require a smaller down payment. Also, there are down payment assistance grants available, and many times you can negotiate with sellers to help pay for closing costs. We can help you get into a home without needing so much cash to close.

Buying Your Next Home

Buying your next home when you already own a home can be a special challenge. A lot of times, home buyers plan to use the equity from the sale of their existing home for the down payment of their next home. This requires your purchase to be contingent on the sale of your current home. The problem is that it can be difficult to get sellers to agree to this in a seller’s market.

There may be options that don’t require the sale of your existing home to make that purchase. The plan may still be to sell your existing home, but working around the contingency can prevent you from losing the home you want to buy. Knowing all of your options can help you make it happen. 

Know Before You Owe 

We put together worksheets to clearly illustrate what fees are involved, what is needed for taxes & insurance, how much cash is needed to close, and your monthly payment all on one page. We can do this for specific homes you are interested in. This way, you know exactly what to expect even before ever making an offer.

We would love to help make your next purchase the enjoyable experience you deserve. Call us to get started today at (314) 878-7900 or (888) 246-8575.

For questions or comments, please contact Tim Whitmire at 314-402-8184 or, NMLS# 279207. 

Ryan Cox First Integrity Mortgage Services Home Improvement Loans 

By: Ryan Cox 

The perfect loan for the almost perfect home. Find out how a renovation loan or what is often referred to as a home improvement loan can help you buy or refinance to create the home of your dreams. Whether your home improvement projects are large or small, a home renovation loan can help you get the job done. With a home improvement loan, you’ll be able to buy or refinance a home and include money needed for simple upgrades, remodeling projects, or even more complex renovations. Monthly payments on home improvement loans are typically lower than credit cards or personal loans, and in some cases, the financing may also be tax-deductible.  

What are some of the features & benefits of Renovation loans? Making significant home improvements such as adding an extra room or replacing the roof not only makes a difference in how much you enjoy your home, but it can improve its overall value as well. If you aren’t happy with some aging features of your house or want to buy a home that needs work, consider using a home renovation loan to transform a house into the home you’ve always dreamed of. Although you may be able to pay for the home improvements with a personal loan or other types of financing, these methods have higher interest rates and monthly payments. With a Renovation loan, you’ll be able to finance a renovation period of up to six months with only one set of closing costs and absolutely no prepayment penalty. While the total loan amount is based on the property’s appraised value, once the updates or improvements are complete, the down payment requirement may be as low as 3.5%.

Do you know all the options for home Renovation loans?

Having the right information gives you, the homeowner or potential homeowner, the details needed to make an excellent decision for your current needs. There are many different Renovation loan products from which to choose:

  • FHA 203K Limited or Streamline (improvements under $35,000)
  • FHA 203K Standard (improvements over $5000 & up to FHA limits)
  • Fannie Mae HomeStyle (Conventional loan product, Primary Residence, 2nd home & investment properties)
  • Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation (Conventional loan product)
  • Design Plus Jumbo Renovation (Up to $810,000 with no MI)
  • VA Renovation (100% LTV with improvements up to $50,000)

Working with someone who knows and understands each product could make all the difference in you having a successful loan experience. Renovation loan programs can be a wonderful option in helping people reach their goals, but doing your research finding a loan that is right for you is a critical part of the outcome. 

If you have questions about any of the different Renovation products and all the benefits they have to offer or wondering if a Renovation refinance or Renovation purchase might be right for you, please contact me for more information, or to schedule an appointment.

Ryan Cox (Senior Renovation Specialist) NMLS# 1547172

Email -

Office – (314) 878-7900

Cell – (618) 581-3015

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