Michael L. Louden

NMLS# 400921

Branch Manager, Producing

Michael L. Louden
Branch Manager, Producing

NMLS# 400921
State Lic: CO # 100039010; MN # MN-MLO-400921; WI # 400921 ;
235 1st Ave E
Shakopee, MN 55379
Branch: (952) 777-2205
Mobile: (612) 578-8874
Fax: (952) 674-3838

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It’s all about service at Academy Mortgage, and our company has been meeting the needs of homebuyers across the United States since 1988. I joined Academy because of its strong reputation for integrity-based mortgage lending, its unwavering commitment to responsible lending practices, and for its broad portfolio of mortgage solutions and tools.

Since joining Academy, I have helped many individuals and families attain the dream of homeownership. Whether you want to buy a new home or refinance an existing mortgage, I will provide a customized solution for you at competitive rates. No brokering, no middleman, no hassle, no surprises.

Academy is a direct lender, which means that my Branch and Regional Offices are equipped to complete the entire loan process in-house—all loan processing, underwriting, closings, and funding are handled locally. As a result, we have a proven track record of closing loans as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I will be in control of your loan file from start to finish, and I will be up-to-date on the status of your loan at all times. I understand the importance of maintaining continuous communication throughout the loan process and commit to providing you accurate, timely, and honest mortgage advice.

I invite you to put us to the test. Let me show you how simple and easy securing a mortgage can be.

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We are proud to be one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country. We achieved this distinction by continually providing exceptional customer service and by following responsible lending practices, especially in today’s rapidly changing economy.Adam Kessler, CEO, Academy Mortgage

NMLS# 400921

State Lic: CO: 100039010; MN: MN-MLO-400921; WI: 400921 ;

Corp Lic: CO: 3113; MN: MN-MO-40125689; WI: 3113BA and 3113BR;


5 questions to ask yourself before buying a home

Exploring the idea of buying a house can be an exciting, nerve-wracking and uncertain time. Late night browsing on housing websites, trying to figure out which neighborhood to live in and what your priorities are can be as overwhelming as it is thrilling. To help you out in this life adventure, here are five questions to ask yourself before you apply for a mortgage and start packing:

1. Is the mortgage realistic?

Are you really in a place to buy a five-bedroom home with a pool? Sure, the listing price may have dropped a few thousand dollars in the past month, but be realistic when setting a budget and remember that any purchase is never a good deal if you can't afford it. When considering conventional mortgage rates and your long-term future, don't just try to picture yourself paying that amount for the rest of the year. Instead, picture yourself paying that mortgage every month for the next five to 10 years. Are you able to pay a sizable mortgage this year because you had a strong quarter with high commission earnings or a raise? Do you expect your income to increase or remain the same for the foreseeable future?

If you're stretching your budget, you can calculate some small sacrifices and adjustments to see whether a mortgage is feasible. When you consider eating at home more frequently and traveling less, however, also factor in how this will affect your quality of life. Most people could stand to tuck more money into their savings accounts or put it toward a mortgage, but if you love your weekly nights out and yearly tropical vacations, decide what's really important and whether the extra bedroom is worth it.

2. What will the commute be like?

Whether you're moving across the country for a new job or relocating to the suburbs for a bit more space, be sure to take into account your daily commute. Again, it's all about quality of life - an extra 10-15 minutes for better schools and a backyard is probably worth it, but if you're looking to increase your commute by 30 minutes or more each way, remember that this will affect your daily life in a tangible way. An extra hour each day, for example, adds up to about 250 hours per year.

There's no wrong answer here - if you're fine with a longer commute and have options such as express commuter trains or live in an area with less traffic than average, a few extra miles won't matter as much. Decide what you're comfortable with and how a longer commute may positively affect your budget or negatively affect your daily life and adjust accordingly.

3. Will you want to stay long-term?

Opting for a starter home as a first-time buyer is a great option to enter the housing market without breaking the bank, but that doesn't mean you have to settle. For instance, a smaller ranch home may be the perfect option if it's in a desirable area that you can picture yourself staying in for a few years.

Make sure you pay special attention to your surroundings. If you're moving from the city to the suburbs and enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban area, you may want to move to a location with a thriving downtown area complete with walkable streets and access to coffee shops and restaurants. You're not bound to staying in a home for decades, but the moving and buying process is significant enough that you should try to imagine whether you'll be happy in a house and neighborhood for at least a few years.

4. Have you included extra costs?

It may not be as fun as looking for your dream home, but the devil is in the details, so make sure you're calculating the extra costs such as water bills, electricity, gas and home repairs. If you're a first-time buyer, you may not be accustomed to undertaking your own plumbing repairs (goodbye, landlord), so take note of any property changes you'll need to make upon moving.

What's more, according to U.S. News & World Report, homeowners will spend between 1% and 4% of a home's value on maintenance costs each year. That can add up to thousands each year. A little planning and budgeting can go along way, so keep these expenses in mind.

5. What's the future of your family?

Are you planning to have kids? Do you predict you may become a caretaker for an aging parent over the next couple of years? A home is a long-term investment, which means you should always keep the future in mind when deciding on buying a property. If you're a new parent, you should ask yourself whether you plan to have more children in the future. If so, should you get a house with an extra bedroom, or do you plan to move when your children are still young enough to comfortably share a room? Do you imagine your kids playing in a spacious backyard, or are nearby parks plenty for your family?

Or, if you've arranged to take care of a parent in the next few years, you may want to find a home with a first-floor bedroom with an easily accessible bathroom for someone with mobility issues. For that matter, if you're looking for a home to live in well into your retirement years, the same applies - what will your life look like in the coming years, and how will your living space fit into those plans?

There are many things to think through when buying a home, including these kinds of practicalities and long-term thinking. By taking your time while planning the next several years of your life and looking for a home that's worth the effort, you'll be able to enter the homebuying market with your eyes open, ready to find a home that's the perfect fit for your life.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.


3 sources of down payment funds that aren't your savings

Thousands of Americans make the move to homeownership every month. But buying a home isn't always simple. In fact, it can often become confusing and stressful.

What is making the buying journey difficult for consumers?

For many, saving up for the down payment is the most challenging hurdle to overcome, as cited by 13 percent of people who participated in a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

And, though it's become more widely known that the "standard" 20 percent down payment isn't always necessary, many still struggle to save up.

But, did you know there are more ways to come up with the funds for a down payment than simply through savings?

Here are some perfectly sound yet commonly overlooked means to funding your home purchase:

1. Explore a zero-down mortgage program

For the average conventional mortgage, borrowers who put less than 20 percent down are charged an added fee called Private Mortgage Insurance. However, the conforming mortgage isn't the only financing path consumers can take.

Several programs that are backed by the government allow qualifying borrowers to take out a mortgage without making any down payment at all.

VA loans are for active-duty service members, veterans and spouses of those who fit these two distinctions. Eligibility rules are based on date and duration of service, and not everyone qualifies. However, it's worth checking out; no down payment is required, and neither is paying PMI.

USDA loans are granted to buyers looking in a qualifying area - often rural or suburban locations - and under a certain income limit. The actual limit varies state by state, county by county. Like VA loans, there's no required down payment or PMI.

FHA loans aren't zero-down mortgages, but the down payment can be very low if your credit score is above a certain threshold. If your score is higher than 580, you're only required to put down 3.5%.

2. Save gift money for a home

If you've recently gotten married or had a baby, you perhaps received financial gifts from family and friends. Though commonly believed to be off-limits for home purchases, this cash is actually perfectly fine to help fund your down payment.

Though considered a wedding-planning faux pas for many years, stating your preference for a cash gift is becoming more widely accepted today, according to The Knot. You'll still want to set up a traditional registry for those guests who really would rather pick out a gift and you should steer away from naming specific amounts, but it's unlikely that many of your guests will truly be offended at your request.

3. Sell something

More than one-third of respondents to NAR's survey for its 2016 profile of home buyers and sellers said their down payment came from the sale of a primary residence. If you're already a homeowner, it's pretty common to use the proceeds from selling the home as a down payment on your next purchase.

But what about those first-time buyers who don't have a house to sell yet?

Take a look at your other assets, Money Talks News suggested.

Do you have an extra car? What about a motorcycle? Too many flat-screen TVs, or simply an attic full of stuff? Maybe one of these items isn't worth much, but a whole attic-full might be.

Is a lack of savings keeping you from realizing your dreams of homeownership? Don't let your goals become delayed because of a shortage of cash. There are plenty of options to obtain the funds for down payment.

To learn more about how to become a homeowner this year, reach out to Academy Mortgage.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.


Your credit score questions, answered

Before you take out a residential mortgage, your lender will need to review some financial information with you, one piece of which is your credit report.

If you've never pulled your credit report or considered what your credit score might be, this part of the process might make you nervous. It shouldn't, though; your credit report and credit score will simply tell the lender how good you are at paying off debt and how much debt you currently have. The higher your score, the better, but that doesn't mean you won't be able to secure a good home loan with an unimpressive score.

Here's what you need to know about credit scores, credit reports and how they affect the mortgage origination process:

What's a credit score?

Your credit score is a three-digit number on a scale of 300-850. Everyone has multiple credit scores because different credit bureaus calculate them independently. To come up with the three-digit score, the companies use complicated proprietary equations.

Even though they don't share the equations with the public, FICO, the most well-known score-calculating company, explains how different factors impact your score:

What is a "good" or "bad" score?

Generally, scores that are 700 or above are considered good, and scores over 750-800 are considered excellent. These scores indicate you pay your bills on time and know how to manage multiple forms of debt, making you an excellent candidate for a home loan.

Scores of 550-580 or below are considered very poor. It would be difficult to get a loan of any kind with a score like this. If you discover that your score falls into this category, though, don't worry; there are plenty of strategies you can adopt to bring your score up.

Does everyone have a credit score?

No. If you've never opened a credit card or taken out a loan, you may not have a score, meaning you're "credit invisible." This can make taking out a loan challenging, but not impossible.

What score do I need to get a mortgage?

There's no clear-cut answer to this question because different programs have different requirements. People with credit scores as low as 580 may be able to get an FHA loan, and there's no minimum credit score for VA loans. The best thing to do is to reach out to your mortgage lender and talk about your options - you may have more than you think!

What's a credit report?

While many people talk about credit scores, your lender will want to see your entire credit report. There's a difference here; your score is just that three-digit number. The credit report details what factors went into the equation that resulted in your score.

Your lender will likely pull your credit report directly from one or more of the three main credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. But don't wait for your lender to pull the report to discover what's included in it for yourself. Everyone has access to their own reports through the government-mandated website, annualcreditreport.com. You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three bureaus.

If you've never pulled your credit report, try it today. There's always a chance that there's an error included in it that could affect your score, and it's best to sort that out sooner rather than later. Plus, it's always nice to know what your lender will see ahead of time, so there's no surprises when you inquire about your eligibility for a home loan.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2016 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit www.academymortgage.com to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.