Keith Brown

Mortgage Loans in Fairfax Virginia

Why top real estate producers rely on Keith Brown

“Keith Brown is the Fairfax mortgage lender I’ve counted on for years. His pre-approvals stick, he uses local appraisers, and his loans close on time.” Learn more

Why homebuyers trust Keith Brown

“Keith Brown got us a great rate on the right type of loan. When there was an underwriting issue, he solved it so we closed on time with no surprises.” Learn more

Call Keith at 703-449-6821
Which type of home loan or refinance is right for you?

How much mortgage can you afford? Are you eligible for a VA or FHA loan? What type of conventional mortgage programs might answer your needs? Are 5-7 year ARMs worth considering? What is a jumbo mortgage and what rate differences apply? How can I reduce or work around expensive Mortgage Insurance with a downpayment of less than 20%.

To find the right answers, Keith Brown looks at your credit, income, debt and how long you plan on being in your home.  He can then draw on the direct-lending resources of Intercoastal Mortgage to secure you the best rates and terms. You end up with a mortgage that’s the best fit for your budget and your plans for the future.

Call Keith Brown at 703-449-6821

Which type of home loan or refinance is right for you?

How much mortgage can you afford? Are you eligible for a VA or FHA loan? What type of conventional mortgage programs might answer your needs? Are 5-7 year ARMs worth considering? What is a jumbo mortgage and what rate differences apply? How can I reduce or work around expensive Mortgage Insurance with a downpayment of less than 20%.

To find the right answers, Keith Brown looks at your credit, income, debt and how long you plan on being in your home.  He can then draw on the direct-lending resources of Intercoastal Mortgage to secure you the best rates and terms. You end up with a mortgage that’s the best fit for your budget and your plans for the future.

Conventional Conforming Home Loans

Conventional Conforming Financing refers to any non-Government (FHA or VA) loan that is backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.   Conventional loan programs offer down payments as low as 3% on loan amounts to $548,250.  On loans over $548,250 to $822,350 the down payment increases to 5% down.  Loans over $822,350 are Jumbo loans and the minimum down payment on Jumbo loans generally increases to 10% on loan amounts to $2,000,000 and 20% to loan amounts of $3 Million.

Conventional loans have multiple term options of 10, 15, 20 and 30 year terms.  You get a considerable interest rate discount on loan terms of 15 years or less.

Conventional loans are offered in both Fixed rates and Adjustable Rates (ARMs).

Conventional financing falls into two categories: Conforming loans and Jumbo loans.  Conforming loans carry loan amounts less than $822,350 and are backed by either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans.  Anything over $822,350 is a Jumbo/Non-Conforming Loan.

Conforming loan amounts fall into two areas: traditional conforming amounts that go to $548,250.  Loans amounts greater than $548,250 are referred to as High-Balance or Jumbo-Conforming loan amounts.  High-Balance conforming loans can carry a rate that is about 125 higher and the High-Balance loan limit varies area by area.  For the Northern Virginia/DC Metro DC area, the max conforming loan amount is $822,350.  However, this amount can be substantially less, in outlying rural areas.

Conforming Loan Pros:

  • Mortgage Insurance (MI) costs are considerably less than FHA loans with down payments of less than 20% (and, of course, there is not any MI on down payments of 20% or more). 
  • There are also a variety of ways to pay MI that can be tailored to meet borrowers’ needs. There are even options to avoid payment of MI entirely with down payments as low as 3%.
  • With down payments of 5%, you may be able to do a Combination Loan and thus avoid Mortgage Insurance in its entirety.
  • Conventional financing can be used to purchase Second Homes and Investment Property. 2nd Homes normally require a 10% down payment; investment properties start at 20% down. 


  • Interest Rates and Mortgage Insurance (MI) costs are heavily tiered based upon credit scores.  You get your best mortgage rates at scores 740 and greater. 
  • You get your best MI rates on credit scores above 760. For every 20 points below these targets, the rates and MI costs increase. Thus, knowing the credit score is the most critical factor in determining your interest rate and MI cost. 

VA Home Loan

Pros: 100% financing without mortgage insurance to $1,500,000 for Veterans with Full Entitlement.  VA loans are also available on loan amounts up to $2.0 Million with a downpayment.   

  • For down payments less than 20%, the VA loan is the best program available for eligible Veterans/Reservists as no Mortgage Insurance is required. 
  • VA Rates are typically cheaper than corresponding conventional rates.
  • Higher debt ratios are allowed (into the low 50s). 
  • Depending upon the eligibility amount, you may be able to have more than one VA loan open at a time. 
  • If rates fall, the borrower may qualify for a Streamline Refinance that carries reduced closing costs, no appraisal and borrower does not have to re-qualify for the mortgage. 
  • Credit Scores as low as 620 allowed.
  • Shorter wait times for major derogatory items like Foreclosures, Bankruptcies and Short-Sales. 


Cons: There aren’t many. 

VA loans tend to be among the best programs around.  Do note that VA loans only allow spouses on the mortgage/deed.  Co-signers are not allowed.  The only additional fee on VA Loans is the Funding Fee which varies, based upon 1st time or subsequent use as well as the down payment amount (see below).  The Funding Fee can be waived if a borrower has a VA Disability Rating.   

A Certificate of Eligibility is required from the VA to determine Veteran’s eligibility.  Keith can order this electronically from the VA as part of the preapproval process at no cost.

Combination Loans:

Combination loans involve the use of a 1st and 2nd trust to purchase or refinance a home.


  • On down payments of less than 20%, a Combination Loan can help you avoid mortgage insurance. Normally this would be accomplished by taking a first trust at an 80% Loan-To-Value (LTV) and taking out a 2nd trust for the remaining amount. A minimum down payment of 5% is required for most Combination Loans. This is commonly referred to as an 80-15-5 loan. (80% first trust, 15% second trust and 5% down)
  • On high loan amounts, a Combination Loan can help avoid having to do a Jumbo loan.  



  • Qualifying for a 2nd trust is much stricterNormally debt ratios are capped at 40% with minimum credit scores of 720 and strong Reserves required.
  • 2nd trust rates can be expensive. It is not unusual with 5-10% down to see a 2nd trust carry a rate of 2 to 3% above the 1st trust rate.
  • Depending on the down payment amount and loan-to-values, there may be an add-on to the rate on the 1st trust due to the extra risk perceived in carrying a 2nd trust.  The result is that a 2nd trust loan carrying mortgage insurance (MI) could actually be a cheaper deal-especially if using a Single Premium or Lender Paid MI option. If placing less than 20% down, always compare MI options with Combination Loan options to make sure you are getting the best deal.


Second Trusts

A second trust is a loan that can be added to a first trust (the main mortgage) to avoid the need for mortgage insurance by making the total amount of the mortgages less than 80% of the home’s value.  Second trusts can also be created as separate loans used for a refinance, debt pay off, home improvement or any other financial need. Keith Brown can structure your second trust as a home equity loan for a fixed rate and term, or as a home equity line of credit with adjustable rates.

ARMs (Adjustable-Rate Mortgages)

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARM) typically offer lower interest rates than a fixed rate mortgage because the interest rate is only guaranteed for a specific time frame. ARMs are useful for buyers who plan on owning a home for a specific period of time. ARM time frames are traditionally for 5, 7 and 10 years. All of these loans are for a 30-year terms.

Every ARM has a Life Cap which provides a limit as to how high the rate can adjust after the initial period has concluded and typically a yearly adjustment which also limits how much the rate can fluctuate from year to year. Once your initial interest rate period has been completed, the new interest rate is then calculated on the anniversary of your mortgage by adding a pre-determined margin to an index. The index is the instrument we use to determine the future interest rate. Typical indices are the Treasury Bills (T-Bill), London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), and the Monthly Treasury Average (MTA). Your ARM can also be refinanced at any time into a fixed rate or another ARM product.

ARMs have an initial short-term fixed rate period and then convert to a rate that adjusts annually. For example, a 5/1 ARM would have an initial fixed rate period of 5 years; starting year 6 the rate would change annually until paid off/refinanced. ARM’s are available with initial fixed rate terms of 5,7 and 10 year terms. The shorter the initial fixed term, the lower the interest rate. ARM’s are a great option when the borrower knows they will only be in the home for a limited number of years. Of course, the risk is at the end of the initial fixed period the rate can increase significantly.

What You Need to Know on ARM’s

When your rate adjusts, the new rate is calculated upon an Index and a Margin. The most common Index is normally the aforementioned 1-year LIBOR. These are market indices and fluctuate with interest rate changes. The Margin is a fixed number typically at 2.25%. For example, on 02/12/2018 the yield on the LIBOR index was 2.319%. Adding a Margin of 2.25% to the index would give the new adjusted interest rate of 4.569% This is how a new interest rate is determined when an ARM begins to adjust.

What your new rate adjusts to is determined by Caps. There are three Caps that you need to be aware of: the initial adjustment cap limits how much your initial fixed rate can change when the loan initially adjusts. Most initial Caps are 5%. The next Cap is the annual adjustment cap. This determines how much your rate can change each year after the initial adjustment. This is normally set at 2% per year. The final Cap is the loan’s life-time cap. This determines how much your rate can change over the life of your loan. Normally this is set at 5%. Thus a 5/2/5 Cap would mean a 5% initial rate cap; 2% annual cap; and a 5% life of loan cap. Occasionally you will see 2/2/6 caps. It is important to know how your rate will change once the initial fixed rate period ends.

FHA Home Loans

Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans offer low down payments of just 3.5% and allows higher Debt Ratios than Conventional loans.  Generally, the minimum credit score for a FHA loan is 620 but in some cases scores down to 600 may be allowed. Non-occupant co-borrowers are allowed, and buyers do not have to have cash reserves. FHA loans are also available to non-permanent resident aliens.  The maximum amount of FHA loans is $822,350.  Keith Brown can help you determine your eligibility and secure the best program and terms for your unique situation


  • Low down payments. Down payment of 3.5% on loan amounts to $822,350.
  • Higher debt rations allowed into the mid-50’s.
  • Non-Occupant Co-Borrowers are allowed to assist with qualifying.
  • Gift funds can be used to cover the entire down payment and closing costs.
  • If rates fall, the borrower may qualify for a Streamline Refinance that carries reduced closing costs, no appraisal and the borrower does not have to re-qualify for the mortgage.
  • Shorter wait times for major derogatory items such as Foreclosures, Bankruptcies and Short Sales.



  • Expensive mortgage insurance (MI) is required regardless of the down payment amount. Mortgage Insurance (MI) is broken into 2 parts: An Upfront Premium that is financed into the loan and a monthly premium. FHA’s monthly MI is often more expensive than conventional loans.  
  • Realistically you can only have one open FHA loan at a time.


About the FHA Mortgage Insurance:

On loan amounts of $625,500 or less, The Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premium is calculated at .85% of the base loan amount and dividing that amount by 12 months to get the monthly amount. With down payments of 5% or more the premium drops to .80%. On loan amounts greater than $625,000, the premium increases to 1.05% of the loan amount (1.0% if 5% or more downpayment).  Note: FHA requires monthly MI regardless of the down payment amount. 

On downpayments of less than 10% the Monthly Mortgage Insurance is paid for the life of the loan (until paid off or refinanced).  The Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium is 1.75% of the base loan amount and is financed into the mortgage – thus does not have to be paid in cash.  

There is no refund of this upfront premium even if the loan is paid off early.

Jumbo/Non-Conforming loans

A Jumbo Loan (also called a Non-Conforming Loan) is any loan that is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Typically, Fixed Jumbo Loans are loan amounts over the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Conforming limit of $822,350, but there are Jumbo ARMs that go as low as $400,000. 

For well qualified borrowers, Jumbo ARMs may have considerably cheaper rates than Conforming ARMs over $400,000.     

The negative on Jumbo loans is that they are harder to qualify for.  You generally need credit scores over 720 and you need very strong cash reserves left over after closing.  Jumbo loans also have additional restrictions for First Time Homebuyers and often require verification of a two year rent/mortgage payment history – something conforming loans do not have.  The key thing is, if considering Jumbo Financing, to get conditionally approved upfront to ensure your qualifying and determine the best program for you.  

Construction / Renovation loans

These loans are for homeowners building a custom home or doing extensive remodeling and renovation on an existing home. At the end of your project (or at the end of the loan period, usually 12 months) the construction loan automatically becomes a permanent mortgage. By structuring your loan in this way, Keith Brown saves you thousands of dollars in the additional closing costs that would be associated with multiple loan settlements.

A construction loan is a temporary loan used to build a new home. Typically the borrower will find a piece of land and contract with a builder to construct a custom home. The construction loan can be used to acquire the land and provide draws to the builder as the home progresses through the construction stages. One the home is 100% complete, the construction is converted to a permanent residential mortgage. Typically, the minimum down payment required for construction financing is 20% based upon the total acquisition cost. (land cost + cost to build the home)

A renovation loan is similiar in that a short term loan is used to pay for major renovations/upgrades to an existing property. Once the renovations are completed, the loan is modified to a permanent mortgage.

Intercoastal has extremely attractive construction and renovation loan terms which are locally underwritten in our Fairfax office.

Mortgage insurance

Mortgage Insurance (MI) is required on any Conventional (Conforming or Jumbo) loan with a down payment of less than 20% and is required on all FHA loans regardless of down payment amount.   The purpose of MI is to provide an insurance policy to the lender that covers the lender’s losses should the borrower default on the loan.  On FHA loans, the MI is provided by HUD.  On conventional loans, the MI is provided by private companies like UGIC, MGIC, Genworth and others.  Thus the MI on conventional loans is referred to as Private Mortgage Insurance. 

Conforming Conventional loans grant the borrowers a variety of options to pay the MI costs.  Note: MI costs do vary with credit scores, debt ratios and down payment amounts.  Of equal importance is that MI costs can vary significantly from one mortgage company to the next.  If looking at conventional loans with less than a 20% down payment, be sure to shop not only the interest rate but the actual MI costs and options available.  Not all lenders offer the below variety of MI options.  If placing less than 20% down, be sure to know what your MI costs and options are!

Monthly Mortgage Insurance:  the MI cost is paid on a monthly basis as part of the mortgage payment.  The actual cost goes down the larger the down payment and the higher the credit score.  

SinglePremium Upfront Mortgage Insurance: this very attractive option allows the buyer to pay the MI cost in the form of a one-time single upfront premium, thus eliminating the monthly cost.  Typically, if comparing the one-time upfront cost versus the monthly cost, the breakeven is only two to three years.  You can also use seller contributions or lender-credits to help pay the upfront premium.  The premium amount can vary significantly based upon the credit scores, down payment amount and debt ratios with significant discounts for higher well-qualified borrowers. 

Lender-Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI): often referred to as “No-MI” loans, LMPI loans have neither an upfront Mortgage Insurance premium nor any monthly premiums.  The MI cost is instead built into the interest rate of the loan with the MI cost funded through the higher interest rate.  This is a good alternative to the SinglePremium option as it allows the borrower to avoid the one-time SinglePremium upfront cost.  While the interest rate is higher, typically the payments are still considerably cheaper the payment of monthly MI.  Thus this option is considered preferable to the payment of traditional Monthly MI.  LPMI is the most popular program for borrowers with high credit scores.

Call Keith Brown at 703-449-6821 or Get Started!