LINTHICUM, MD, January 2, 2018— NFM Lending is pleased to honor Sergeant (Sgt) Paul E. Ralston, Jr. as the NFM Salute for January 2018.

After high school graduation in 1963, Ralston voluntarily enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, where he served from 1963-1967. He was immediately deployed to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC for infantry training. At completion of training, Sgt. Ralston was sent to Pensacola, FL where he attended school for Communications and Electronic Warfare. From January 1966 to January 1967, he was stationed in Huế (Phu Bai), Vietnam, during which time he worked his way up the ranks to Sergeant. Sgt. Ralston received the Vietnam Campaign Medal, Expert Rifleman, Pistol Sharpshooter, Good Conduct Medal, and Top-Secret Security Clearance. Sgt. Ralston is father to two daughters: Debbie, born in 1965 in a Marine Corp Hospital, and Kim, born in 1967 on the Marine Corp birthday.

Sgt. Ralston was nominated by his daughter, Kimberly Ralston.

“I am very proud of him for serving our country at such a difficult time in a world full of conflict and controversy. My dad was dedicated and hardworking all my life. I believe his time in the service helped to mold him into the man and father that he is today.”

NFM Salutes is an initiative in which one military member or Veteran is chosen each month to be honored as the “Salute of the Month.” Salutes are chosen from nominations on the NFM Salute website, The “Salute of the Month” will be featured on the website with a brief biography and information about his or her service, and NFM Lending will make a $1,000 donation to a military or Veteran non-profit in the Salute’s name. Sgt. Ralston chose Platoon 22 to receive this month’s donation.

Selected NFM Salutes may choose from one of the following three non-profits: Platoon 22, AnySoldier, and the Gary Sinise Foundation. NFM looks forward to the opportunity to continue to honor military and Veterans through the NFM Salute initiative.

If you are in the market for a new home, one of the first things you should consider financially is how much of a down payment you can make. Most home buyers know that the most common mortgage loan (a Conventional loan) requires 20% down payment. This means that if you purchase a home worth $200,000, you must have $40,000 cash available, on top of the closing costs needed to purchase the home. This may deter many potential home buyers from purchasing because they only have a small amount of money saved. However, Conventional loans are only one of the many loan options available. Here are five of the most widely used mortgage loans and their down payment requirements.

FHA Loan – 3.5% Down Payment*

A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is a mortgage loan that is insured by the government’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency. FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment for purchases and it typically offers very competitive rates compared to rates from a conventional loan. Due to the low down payment, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP) are required in order to protect lenders against losses as a result from defaulted mortgages. There is an up-front premium paid at closing, and a monthly premium that is paid along with the monthly mortgage payment. FHA has several guidelines that all loans must meet, such as loan limits, allowable closing costs, and debt ratios.

VA Loan – 100% Financing**

A VA loan is a mortgage loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA loans help service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses purchase a home with a competitive interest rate, limited closing costs, no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) requirement, and often without a down payment (as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value). This is because VA guarantees a portion of the loan, which allows the lender to provide favorable terms. VA loans have several guidelines that all loans must meet, such as eligibility and loan limits.

USDA Loan – No Money Down

A USDA loan is a mortgage loan guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). With a USDA loan, home buyers can purchase a home in eligible rural locations with no down payment, and can finance up to 100% of a home’s appraised value, plus closing costs. For eligible borrowers, USDA loans often come with the lowest interest rates and program insurance premiums of all government-backed loans. USDA loans have several guidelines that all loans must meet, including property eligibility and income eligibility.

80-10-10 Loan – 10% Down Payment

Also known as a Piggyback loan, an 80-10-10 loan is a great option for home buyers who have great credit but lack capital, and wish to avoid paying PMI. The mortgage loan works by having 80% of the property value covered by a first loan, 10% of the property value covered by a second mortgage which carries higher interest rates than the first conventional mortgage, and 10% will be covered by the home buyer’s down payment. Loans that are 80% or less of the home value do not require PMI.

State Bond Programs – Specific Assistance

Several U.S. states offer state bond loan assistance programs. These bond programs aim to help first-time home buyers or buyers with low capital by providing below-market interest rates, down payment assistance, long term affordability, and/or other benefits specific to the programs. These loans have program-specific income and occupancy requirements, and limitations.

There are many more mortgage loan options available not mentioned but these are the most commonly used. If you are looking to purchase a home soon, make sure you speak with a licensed mortgage loan originator. Choosing a down payment option is a big decision and a licensed mortgage loan originator can help you find options that best fit your needs. They can also walk you through the loan process and explain to you all of the eligibility requirements for the loan you choose.


*LTV’s of up to 96.5% for FHA loans. **Veterans Affairs loans require a funding fee, which is based on various loan characteristics. †100% financing, no down payment is required. The loan amount may not exceed 100% of the appraised value, plus the guarantee fee may be included. Loan is limited to the appraised value without the pool, if applicable.

LINTHICUM, MD, December 4, 2015— NFM Lending is proud to announce that it was ranked #1 of 100 Top Workplaces in the Baltimore area by The Baltimore Sun. This is the fourth year in a row that NFM Lending has been named a Top Workplace. NFM Lending was also highlighted by the newspaper for being ranked No. 1 Midsized Company.

Each year, The Baltimore Sun distributes a survey to employees of Baltimore area workplaces. The survey analyzes the job satisfaction and engagement of the employees, and the values and organizational health of the company.

“It took years to develop our culture and to find our identity,” said Jan Ozga, President of NFM Lending. “Now it has become infectious and a way of life at NFM. It’s not winning this award that’s exciting— it’s knowing that people love where they work. The financial rewards mean nothing in comparison to receiving this award four years in a row. At the end of the day, if you have built a company where people love working, then you have done your job as a leader. In order for NFM to operate, we must be profitable; in order for NFM to survive, we must always have a fair and happy work environment.”

NFM Lending prides itself on its exceptional culture. The company’s executive team has an open door policy, which allows a clear line of communication between management and staff. Employees are encouraged to voice their questions and concerns directly to management, so that they can be addressed promptly and correctly. Managers often surprise staff members for their birthdays, and the company holds contests, holiday celebrations, health fairs, and other initiatives to show employees their appreciation.

“We believe that it is important to have an environment where people feel welcomed, encouraged, appreciated, and most importantly, heard,” said Bernadette Pearson, HR Director. “The people of NFM are what make NFM so unique, and without their input and passion, NFM’s executives could not have built or continued to maintain the culture we have today. I feel honored to work with such amazing people and to be part of such a unique culture. “

In addition to this most recent award, NFM Lending has been recognized many times for its exceptional company culture. In 2015 alone, it was named one of the Washington Post’s Top Work Places in the Washington, D.C. area; a Top Mortgage Employer by National Mortgage Professional Magazine; and one of Mortgage Executive Magazine’s Top 50 Best Companies to Work For. NFM Lending is proud of each member of its team, and the work they do to make NFM a Top Workplace.

For more information please contact:

NFM Lending
Toll Free: 1-888-233-0092
Twitter: @nfm_lending

About NFM Lending

NFM Lending is a mortgage lending company currently licensed in 29 states in the U.S. The company was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1998. They attribute their success in the mortgage industry to their steadfast commitment to customers and the community. NFM Lending has firmly planted itself in the home loan marketplace as “America’s Common Sense Residential Mortgage Lender™.”

For information on NFM Lending, please email or visit their website at

For the online press release, click here.

One of our previous blogs on credit scores, Understanding Your Credit Score, talked about the factors used to calculate FICO scores (the most widely used scoring system). However, the blog did not go into detail on what a credit score is or the difference between credit report and credit score. The two are not only different, but they are used for different purposes. Here are the main differences:

Credit Report

A credit report is a record of your credit history. The report may include loan amounts, current balances, credit companies used, dates accounts were opened, recently opened lines of credit, payment history, third-party collections, and even details of public record, such as bankruptcies. These detailed reports are created by the three National Credit Reporting Bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each one of the Bureaus maintains one credit report per person. However, these reports can vary, since creditors do not have to report information to all three Bureaus. Federal law requires that each of the three Bureaus give consumers a free copy of their credit report every 12 months. You can receive a free copy of your credit report by going to

Credit Scores

A credit score is an algorithm used to measure your financial risk based on the information on your credit report. FICO scores are the most widely used, but VantageScore, and banks have their own. FICO scores have 5 factors used to calculate credit scores, and it weighs each factor differently. The other credit companies use similar information but may have different weights and/or include other data.

Key Differences

Here are two key differences between credit reports and credit scores to consider:

  1. Credit scores are calculated based on information found on your credit report at the time it was pulled. If your credit report changes, your credit score changes.
  2. There are several different credit scores from each company – FICO has 53! You only have one credit report per Bureau.


Lenders use credit reports and credit scores to see if you are responsible for your finances, and to make sure that you won’t be overwhelmed if you take on another loan. When taking out a mortgage loan, lenders look at both your credit report and credit scores, and are required to show you the three credit scores that were pulled from each of the three National Credit Reporting Bureaus for the application.

Interest rates, terms, and whether you can apply for certain loans are factors that are affected by your credit score. Contact one of licensed mortgage loan originators today if you have any questions or would like to see if you qualify for a mortgage loan.

Your credit score is the numerical value assigned based on the information on your credit report. Credit-reporting bureaus use complex and proprietary algorithms to calculate these, but the most widely used are FICO scores. FICO scores can range from 300 to 850, and they give potential lenders an idea of how much of a financial risk you are. To them, the higher the score, the more likely you are to repay the debt and not be late on payments or go into default.

How Are Credit Scores Calculated

Each type of credit score uses algorithms to calculate the potential risk by adding value to items such as payment history and number of credit inquiries. For FICO scores, there are 5 factors used to calculate credit scores. Each factor has different weight in how much they affect your credit score.

  1. 35% – Payment History
    The greatest impact on your credit score is paying off debts on time. If you have late payments, delinquencies, or charges, your score will be impacted negatively. However, having a few late payments doesn’t mean that you will automatically have a low score since this is just one piece of the information used to calculate the credit scores.
  2. 30% – Amount Owed
    The ratio between the amount owed and the remaining available credit has a high impact as well. Owing money on credit accounts doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact on the score, but having high balances can indicate that the person is overexerted and more likely to miss payments.
  3. 15% – Credit History
    The length of time credit lines have been opened increases your score. Note that it is also taken into consideration how long it has been since you used certain accounts.
  1. 10% – Type of Credit
    Types of credit, such as credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, and mortgage loans will be taken into consideration. Having good debt, such as credit cards and installment loans, will bring up your scores.
  1. 10% – Inquiries and New Credit
    The number of inquiries and new credit accounts are taken into consideration since people that opened several credit accounts in a short period of time are a greater risk of not paying back their loans.

Knowing your FICO score and credit worthiness is important, especially if you are looking to get a new loan. You can use websites that provide free credit scores, but often these websites provide you with an estimate rather than your actual score. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published a report on the differences between credit scores available to consumers and those to lenders, so make sure you do your research before you submit an application for a loan. Should you have any questions about credit scores, whether you qualify for a mortgage loan with your current credit score, or how to apply for a loan, click here to contact one of our licensed mortgage loan originators today!

LINTHICUM, MD, June 25, 2015 — On June 24, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a proposed rule change and request for public comment regarding TRID.  In the announcement, the CFPB proposes to move the rule’s effective date to Saturday, October 3, 2015.

“The Bureau believes that moving the effective date may benefit both industry and consumers with a smoother transition to the new rules,” said the CFPB on their website. “The Bureau further believes that scheduling the effective date on a Saturday may facilitate implementation by giving industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems. A Saturday launch is also consistent with existing industry plans tied to the original effective date of Saturday, August 1.”

The proposal is open for public comment until July 7, 2015. Click here to view a copy of the proposal.

NFM Lending will continue to prepare its employees and clients for TRID. For more information about what NFM Lending is doing to prepare for these important changes, visit

About NFM Lending

NFM Lending is a mortgage lending company currently licensed in 29 states across the United States. The company was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1998. They attribute their success in the mortgage industry to their steadfast commitment to their customers and their community. NFM Lending has firmly planted itself in the home loan marketplace as “America’s Common Sense Residential Mortgage Lender.”

For more information about NFM Lending, please contact:

NFM Lending
Toll Free: 1-888-233-0092
Twitter: @nfm_lending

When you are ready to purchase your new home or refinance your current one, you will be given a series of documents you need to sign at settlement. Understanding what you are signing is important and it will help ensure that you are making the correct decision. Three important documents to review and understand are the Deed, the Note, and the Deed of Trust.

The Deed

The Deed is a legal document which gives rights to something. In real estate, a Deed transfers title of ownership and gives the new owner the rights to use the property. Click here to find out more about Deeds and the different types there are.

The Note

The Note (or Promissory Note) is a contract where a party makes a promise to pay a sum of money to another party under specific terms. In real estate, the Note is the legal document that binds the borrower to repay a mortgage loan. This agreement will contain important loan specification, such as the loan amount, interest rate, due dates, late charges, and the terms of the mortgage.

The Deed of Trust 

The Deed of Trust (or Mortgage or Security Instrument) is a legal document that grants the lender the rights to take the property if the borrower goes into default and does not pay under the terms of the Note. The lender holds title to the property until the borrower has repaid the debt in full.

The Differences

  1. The Note is signed by the people who agree to pay the debt (the people that will be making the mortgage payments). The Deed and the Deed of Trust are signed by those who will own the property that is being mortgaged. Typically in a residential settlement, the signers of the Note and the Deed of Trust are the same, but this is not always the case.
  2. The Note itself has virtually nothing to do with the property. If the borrower does not pay the agreed amount, the lender can sue “under the Note” and obtain remedies for breaching the contract. The Deed of Trust is the document that grants the lender the rights to take the property if the loan is not repaid.
  3. The Deed and the Deed of Trust need to be recorded in the recording office of the property’s county or town, while the Note is returned to the lender.

To learn more mortgage terms, please visit our Mortgage Terms Glossary page.

If you are ready to purchase a home or refinance your own, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators today to get started!

Purchasing and investing in real estate is a big deal. For most Americans, the purchase of a home is the most expensive purchase they will ever make. But choosing to fly solo in such a major transaction could end up being more costly than a real estate agent’s commission. So how do you choose a real estate agent?

Not All Agents Are Created Equal

When you’re looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, a good agent will put their clients first. The agent you choose is going to be your advocate to help you make your dream of home ownership come true.

Real estate agents are often chosen solely on the recommendation of a friend or family member. It is best if you do your own research: check how long they have been in business; talk to recent clients or request recommendations; look up their licensing information; and finally, choose someone that is right for you.

A Great Agent Will Help:

Remember, a home is an investment. Choosing a good agent and consulting with them will ensure that you are making an informed decision.

If you are ready to purchase a home, contact one of our Licensed Mortgage Loan Originators today to get started!

NFM Lending is excited to announce that they are sponsoring and participating in the 2015 Red Shoe Shuffle 5k Race and Walk to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities Baltimore. This will be the 4th year in a row that NFM Lending has sponsored and participated in the Red Shoe Shuffle, and they are excited to do it again! The event this year is taking place on Sunday, April 12th, starting at 9am.

NFM Lending is committed to giving back to the communities they live and work in, and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore (RMHCB) is one of the key charities they support. The RMHCB is a charity that provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families. The House is known for offering hope, compassion, support and love when families need it the most. NFM Lending currently donates a portion of every mortgage loan closed in Maryland to the RMHCB. NFM Lending believes that participating in the Red Shoe Shuffle is a great way to meet the families of the House and show their support.

NFM Lending would like to invite you to join them in the Red Shoe Shuffle 5k Race & Walk. The shuffle will start at the Ronald McDonald House on West Lexington Street, loop around Light Street and the Inner Harbor, and finishes at the Ronald McDonald House. There will be activities before and after the shuffle including a Warm Up, a McNugget Dash for runners under 10, and a Post Shuffle Party. To learn more about the Red Shoe Shuffle or to participate please visit their website. To learn more about what the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of Baltimore does, visit their website. You can also join the NFM Lending team and shuffle with them in this wonderful event. NFM Lending hopes to see all of you there!

Link to online press release

Home inspections are a very important part of both the home buying and selling process. It is always a good idea to hire a Home Inspector to properly inspect a house. Home Inspectors are professionals who are trained to have a keen eye for catching things that a normal homeowner (or potential homebuyer) may not notice.

Here are some of the things that a professional inspector might check for:

Although a home inspection costs extra money and may not be the most exhilarating experience, it is necessary when buying a home. It is in your best interest (and for your own safety) to have a professional look over the home before you purchase it. Even if a house looks to be move-in ready, there could be hidden issues throughout the house.

If big issues are found by the Home Inspector, speak with your Real Estate Agent. In some cases, your Agent can work with the seller’s Agent to have some, if not all, of the necessary repairs paid for by the sellers. This could be done by either the sellers paying for the repairs prior to the home being sold, or by giving the buyer closing cost assistance at the time of closing. If the seller is not willing to assist, talk to your Mortgage Loan Originator to see if you will have enough money available to make the necessary repairs after closing, or if you need a home improvement loan to be able to afford the repairs. If the costs end up being overwhelming, it might be best to speak with your Agent and move on to another property.

For more information regarding home inspections and their benefits, click here.

If you are looking to purchase a home, contact one of our Licensed Mortgage Loan Originators today to pre-qualify and begin the home searching process with confidence.