Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The History Behind Our Halloween Traditions

Each year everyone scurries around buying candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters, making their Halloween costumes and planning festivities.  Do you ever wonder why we do all these interesting things in preparation for this spooky holiday? Your Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender is here to share with you the history behind all these traditions!

Dressing Up in Costumes

The tradition of dressing up in costumes has both Celtic and European roots.  Winter was an uncertain and frightening time because food supplies often ran low and for those afraid of the dark, the short days were full of constant worry.  It was believed that ghosts came back to Earth on Halloween and people thought they would encounter these spirits if they left their homes.  To avoid being recognized as the living, people would where masks when they went out so that these ghosts would mistake them as fellow spirits. To keep ghosts away on Halloween, many people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter the home.


The tradition of trick-or-treating dates all the way back to the early All Soul's Day parades in England.  During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in exchange for prayers for their dead relatives.  The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits.  "Going a-souling" as the practice was called, was eventually taken up by children who would visit the neighboring houses and be given ale, food and money.

Carving Pumpkins 

Every Halloween season, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps.  The practice of decorating Jack-O-Lanterns actually originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack."  According to legend, Stingy Jack tricked the Devil into promising to leave him alone and not claim his soul is he were to die.  When Jack eventually died, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into Heaven and the Devil kept his word about not claiming his soul.  Jack was sent off into the dark with only a burning coal to light the way.  According to the story, Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since.  In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own version of Jack's lantern by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes.  They used the lanterns to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits.  When immigrants brought the tradition to America, they found turnips were hard to come by and they began using pumpkins instead.

Bobbing for Apples 

Once the Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic territory, two Roman festivals combined with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.  One of these festivals was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.  They symbol of Pamona is the apple and this festival probably led to the tradition of "bobbing" for apples.  The game began as a British courting ritual with several different variations.  In one set of rules, each apple was assigned to a potential mate and the bobber would attempt to bite into the apple named for the young man she desired.  If it took just one try, they were destined for romance, but two tries meant their love would fade and three meant their love was doomed. Another set of rules stated it was a race to be the first to bite an apple and the first to emerge successful would be the first to marry.  The game eventually declined in popularity, but at the end of the 1800s, Americans explored their immigrant roots and brought back the tradition as a game for both children and adults at Halloween parties.

As your residential mortgage lender here at the Lake, I would love the opportunity to help you manage your Lake of the Ozarks Mortgage Loan or refinance.  Give me a call at (573) 746-7211 or send me an email at with any questions you may have!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211

Thursday, October 23, 2014

8 Reasons to Refinance Your Home

Refinancing your home at the Lake of the Ozarks has its perks.  The first reason that probably comes to your head is to get a lower interest rate. Although this is a great reason to refinance, there are many other reasons to consider a new home loan.  As your Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender, I'm here to help you consider all your options.  

1. Lower Your Interest Rate

The number one reason people refinance is to get a lower mortgage rate.  Depending on when your home was financed, the interest rates have most likely gone down.  You could save tens of thousands of dollars just by taking the time to fill out the necessary paperwork and gather the needed documents.

2. Lower Your Monthly Payment

Refinancing your home at the Lake of the Ozarks to a lower interest rate could also drastically decrease your monthly payments.  If you're struggling to make ends meet and a couple extra dollars each month could help, now is the time to consider refinancing.  Although refinancing to lower your loan payment could increase the term of your loan, it could make sense for your situation.

3. Shorten the Term of Your Loan

If you currently have a 30-year mortgage, now may be a great time to refinance.  With record low interest rates, you may find that a 15-year mortgage is not much more expensive than the 30-year loan payments you've been making.  Use a mortgage calculator to get an idea of what your payment could be and then contact your Lakelender to see if refinancing is for you!    

4. Stabalize Your Interest Rate

With numbers always changing, many people are seeking fixed-rate loans and getting rid of their adjustable-rate mortgages. Everyone is frightened about inflation and they want stability.  So if they have an adjustable loan, they want out of it.

5. Put Cash In Your Pocket

Sometimes people need cash and one way to do that is to take a mortgage out on a home that is already paid off. Maybe they want to take a vacation or buy a second home with cash.  When they cash out their first home, they have the cash for the second one and don't need a financing contingency, putting them in a better place to bargain. Starting a new business, as well as many other reasons could cause someone to consider taking out a new home loan at the Lake of the Ozarks on a paid-off property.

6. Consolidate Debt

When house prices were rising, many borrowers got cash-out refinances.  They refinanced for more than they owed in order to get cash to either spend or invest.  This craze stopped when the housing bust began. However, many people are still cashing out to pay off credit cards and consolidate their debt.

7. Buy Other Property

A new refinancing trend is to cash out on your current mortgage to purchse other properties. Often times it's to buy investment property. Borrowers need to understand that this can bring up unexpected tax and mortgage writing issues, so be sure to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional.  A lot depends on how the refinanced house and the new property will be used.

8. Family Issues

Divorce often leads to a refinance as a means of removing the former spouse from the note. Other family issues can also lead to a refinance.  Sometimes emergencies come up and you need some extra cash.  For example, tells a story of a mother who used a cash-out refinance to bail out her son who what facing forclosure on his own house.

With interest rates currently at an all-time low, now is the time perfect time to refinance your mortgage at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Despite the sinking rates we're seeing today, a lot of people haven't refinanced.  Many homeowners may not even be paying attention to the news and may not know that interest rates have dropped.  As your Lakelender, its my job to make you aware of these changes and show you the options you have.  Give me a call today at 573-746-7211 to get started!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Major Reasons Banks Reject Mortgage Loans

Compared to a few years ago, getting a home loan at the Lake of the Ozarks can be tough. Lenders only accept about 55% of all mortgage applications.  If you're thinking about purchasing a home in the near future, now is the time to start your research and make sure you are prepared to do everything you can to get approved.  Here are 3 major reasons banks reject mortgage loan applications from

1. Improper Income Documentation

Having great credit doesn't automatically mean that you will be approved for a Lake of the Ozarks mortgage loan.  If you can't prove your income and back it up with tax records, you won't be able to get a loan. Some income related activities to avoid if you're planning to apply for a mortgage loan would include job hopping, gaps in employment, not having two consecutive years in the same industry or moving from a salaried position to commission-based work.  All of these activities make it difficult to document your track record and true earnings history.

2. Lack of Strong "Compensating Factors" 

In mortgage industry lingo, a "compensating factor" is a positive aspect in your mortgage application to offset other negatives.  Examples of these factors would include:
  • A large down payment, more than 20%
  • Lower than normal loan-to-value ration, less than 80%
  • Lots of cash reserves, 12 months or more
  • High credit score, above 740
If your application has some issues and you're on the borderline of qualifying because maybe your debt-to-income ration is a little high, compensating factors could help strengthen the application.

3. Property Type

Many Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lenders can be leery of certain types of properties such as second homes and investment properties.  There are funding options for these types of properties; however, they carry more stringent terms such as bigger down payments and more cash reserves. Newly developed condos can also fall in this category.  Many banks won't lend money on condos unless 70% or more of the units have been sold and lenders won't issue mortgages on condos that aren't on the FHA's approved list of condos.

For the full article with additional reasons, please visit:

When it comes to your financing needs, I'm committed to working with you every step of the way. I'll discuss financing options, offer competitive interest rates and back it up with the FIRST Class Service you deserve and I guarantee.  Contact me today at 573-746-7211 to get started on a mortgage for your new home at the Lake of the Ozarks!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Home Loan You Deserve

VA Home Loans

With favorable terms, competitive interest rates and no monthly mortgage insurance premium, VA Loans at the Lake of the Ozarks are designed to make homeownership more affordable for qualified U.S. veterans.  VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as your Lakelender Michael Lasson. However, the VA guarantees a portion of that loan, enabling the lender to provide more favorable terms.  You served our country and now we'd like to serve you!

Benefits of a VA Loan

If you're eligible for a VA-guaranteed loan, you've earned several major benefits, including:
  • 100% Financing
  • NO monthly mortgage insurance premiums due
  • NO pre-payment penalties
  • Low closing costs
  • In-house processing and underwriting

A Team of Professionals

Our team of knowledgeable lenders, processors and underwriters work to extend competitive rates on the best mortgage product for you.  We use reputable local appraisers to provide you with a quick and accurate appraisal, and we are committed to providing a smooth and timely closing process for your home loan at the Lake of the Ozarks

Getting Started

You can help speed along your loan process by collecting the following information: 
  • Current drivers license
  • Pay stubs covering the last 30 days
  • W-2 forms for the past two years
  • Two year's tax returns
  • Bank statements for the past 2 months (or any other statement regarding stocks, bonds, 401(k)s, mutual funds, etc.) 
  • *Additional documents may be required

As your Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender at the Lake of the Ozarks, I'm committed to working with you every step of the way.  I'll discuss financing options, offer competitve interest rates and back it up with the first class service you deserve and I guarantee. Give me a call today at 573-746-7211 to get started!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211

Friday, October 3, 2014

5 Mortgage Loan Tips for Prospective Home Buyers

The home buying process all starts with a mortgage loan. Most people don't have enough money lying around to pay cash for a new home at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Whether you're a first time buyer or just looking to refinance, Lakelender Michael Lasson is here to help!  My Mortgage Insider wrote a great article with tips from some of the most influential real estate and mortgage professionals on Google+. Here are some of the top mortgage loan tips pulled from their article:

1. Do Your Homework. 

If you're looking to refinance a home at the Lake of the Ozarks, it's important to do your homework first. You want to make sure you make the best decisions for your investment.  Here are some questions to ask your mortgage lender before getting started:
  • What are your fees? 
  • What loan programs do you offer? 
  • What interest rates are you offering? 
  • Can you lock in my rate and if so, for how long? 
  • What are my estimated monthly payments? 
  • How much can I expect to pay in closing costs? 
  • What percentage of refinance loans do you close on time? 

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

When buying a home, many people think you should start with searching for a home. That's where they're wrong.  The first step in buying a home is to find a reputable mortgage lender at the Lake of the Ozarks and get pre-approved for a loan.  By getting pre-qualified, you will get a ballpark idea of how much you can afford, while a pre-approval will tell you almost precisely what you can afford.  To get pre-qualified takes about 5-10 minutes of just talking with a loan officer.  A pre-approval however takes a little longer because you have to provide all the necesssary documents showing your financial situation.  Once you've been approved, now is the time to start looking for the perfect house within your budget.  Talking to a loan officer accomplishes many things:
  • Helps you identify credit issues up front to give you time to fix things if necessary. 
  • Gives you guidance in terms of what monthly payment you qualify for. 
  • Knowing what you qualify for gives you guidance for what home pricing you should be looking at. Often what you qualify for is different than what you know you can (or want to) pay on a housing payment.

3. Keep Trying If You're Denied. 

If at first you are denied for a home loan at the Lake of the Ozarks, get your ducks in a row and apply again. For tips on re-applying after you've been denied, check out our blog titled 5 Tips to Get a Mortgage Loan If You've Been Turned Down.  Every mortgage lender uses some variation of the official mortgage guidlines. This means you could have been turned down for a credit score that was too low, maybe your debt to income ratio wasn't the best, or various other reasons could be the case.  Be sure to talk with your lender about the issue so you can correct it before you apply again. 

4. Interest Rates are More Important Than Home Prices. 

Don't put too much importance on the price of the home without considering the interest rate.  A 1-2% increase in the interest rate could end up adding an extra $50,000 over the life of the loan.  Rather than trying to wait until home prices are falling, pay attention to how interest rates are doing.  Even if you're spending a little more on the home, you could end up saving money with the right interest rate! 

5.  Be Prepared. 

Before you start looking to buy a house, you want to be prepared financially.  You need to make sure your credit and debit situation is in order.  Is your loan file the kind that mortgage lenders want to see?  You also need to ensure your credit score and credit profile are good enough.  Here are some tips to be prepared to get that loan:
  • Check your credit reports at least 6 months before you plan to start looking for a home. For this purpose it's ok to use an online service since you're just beginning the process and looking for an idea of your credit scenario. Later, you will want to talk with a mortgage professional. 
  • If you see any mistakes or errors, or missing information on your credit reports, now is the time to address them. Don't wait until you've found your dream home and are applying for a mortgage. 
  • Address all derogatory information that is pulling your credit score down. 
  • Be proactive to build up your credit score. There are ways to increase your score significantly in the 6 months leading up to your home search.Tthere are also many things that can bring your score down. Check out our blog titled Things Not To Do When Getting a Home Loan
  • If financially possible, pay down any credit card balances below 30% of your limit, called your revolving credit utilization ratio: the ratio of balance to limit.

For the complete article, please visit:

As you're Lake of the Ozarks mortgage lender, I'm here to help you every step of the way!  I would love the opportunity to help you manage your mortgage loan or refinancing at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Give me a call at (573) 746-7211 or send me an email at with any questions you may have!

For Lake area news, resources and tips on financial services, please 

Michael Lasson
Sr. Residential Mortgage Lender
NMLS #: 493712

2265 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B
PO Box 1449
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

Direct:  (573) 746-7211