Statement from NAHB Chairman Tom Woods on Filing Suit Against EPA, Corps on Waters of the U.S. Rule

(Source: NAHB) – Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo., issued the following statement on the association’s lawsuit filed today in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking to overturn the “waters of the United States” rule that defines the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act: (more…)

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New Flood Insurance Program Legislation Introduced In Congress

A new bill was introduced this week that if passed may give consumers better policies and pricing when it comes to flood insurance. Currently the flood insurance market is dominated by the U.S. government as opposed to private insurers.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Representatives from Florida, Patrick E. Murphy and Carlos Curbelo, and is titled, “H.R. 2918, the Flood Insurance Fairness Act of 2015. It will improve upon 2014’s Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, by providing relief for policies on non-primary residences and rental properties. The goal of the bill is to guarantee that all non-primary homes and commerical properties receive the comparable rates provided to primary residences under HFIAA. (more…)

14 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in 2015

There are several things you should know prior to making the one of the largest purchases you will probably ever make.  Many of the tips given here can help you save your hard earned money and time prior to starting this endeavor. The tips below will help you make decisions when purchasing your first home.

  • Have you ever owned a home before? A common misconception is that if you ever owned a home before, then you can’t be a first time home buyer. If you have not owned a home in the past three years, then you are considered a first time home buyer again.
  • How much of a loan and monthly payment can you qualify for? Prior to window shopping, it is best to know what how much money you will be loaned first and how much it would cost per month by looking at your monthly budget.  It would be pretty disappointing to go shopping and find the types of houses you are interested in, only to learn that they are way out of your price range and you will be required to settle.  If you are renting, a good starting point is a mortgage payment of 120% to 250% of your current rent as something that may be possible for you, depending on your monthly gross income before deductions.
  • What are your monthly minimum payments on your other monthly debt payments? This is important to know by checking the only free website for accessing your credit report from all three bureaus, By knowing what the monthly minimum payments are that are being reported, you can know how much of a payment can go each month towards your mortgage.
  • How much can you actually afford? Thanks to recent consumer protections, all home mortgage lenders must follow the Ability to Repay Rule.  You need to consider the property taxes, home owner association fees, insurance, utility bills, and maintenance of the home.  You should calculate your payment and research the other fees to determine what you can really afford with the aid of a licensed mortgage loan consultant.  The rule of thumb is that your monthly income should be three times your monthly mortgage payment and you shouldn’t really buy a home worth more than 3 to 5 times your annual income.
  • What type of loan are you eligible for? First-time homeowners can qualify for different types of homes.  It is a good idea to research the types of loans available to you, such as the FHA loan or VA loan.  The type of loan you receive will determine the amount of down payment required and the interest rate. California has a CalHFA down payment assistance program for example as do many other states. First responders such as Police, Firefighters, and good neighbors such as Nurses and Teachers also have certain county and state programs that allow them to become homeowners with greater benefits due to their occupation.
  • What type of rate can you get? If you have an amazing credit score, higher than a 740, you have the ability to shop around for a rate.  Different lenders can offer loans at different interest rates and require different down payment amounts.  Take the time to research the rates available to you to ensure you receive the best rate possible as rates change daily. Remember, you make a payment each month and should know when the payments will end, so that is more important than focusing on the interest rate.
  • Are all APR quotes the same? Don’t be fooled by APR quotes online by websites. It’s important to compare apples to apples so knowing what is included in the APR is important to get an accurate quote when shopping from a licensed mortgage loan originator. You can’t and shouldn’t compare APRs across loan types such as a 30 year fixed vs an Fixed Period Adjustable Rate Mortgage.
  • How long will you be staying in the home? If you are planning to move wherever there are better opportunities for income, you should consider getting a 5/1, 7/1 or 10/1 Fixed Rate Period Adjustable Mortgage to save money over a 30 year fixed mortgage. If you want to save the more money, take a 15 year fixed, although it will have a higher payment than a 30 year fixed amortization mortgage but with a lower interest rate.
  • What are your long-term goals? If you buying your forever home, get exactly what you want and in the location you want and consider a 15, 20 or 25 year fixed mortgage along with a 30 year fixed to save on interest cost over the life of the loan.  However, if you are planning on re-selling at some point, you will have to look into the desirability in that neighborhood, the rating of the school districts, and the crime rates in that area.  These are top things that buyers look for in a future home.
  • Who are you working with? Make sure you are working with a real estate agent that knows the area and a licensed mortgage loan originator who knows how to deal with the type of loan you are obtaining. The agent should know the neighborhoods in your area and what to expect in the prices and offers for those areas.  Your agent should also be well-versed in the home-buying process. Your licensed mortgage loan originator should be able to offer you a qualification letter to help your real estate agent. It usually pays to have a different loan originator than the real estate agent as then there is no possible conflict of interest. You can only have one real estate agent represent you typically, but you can shop around for different mortgage options and get a “lock and shop” deal where the rate is frozen for as little as 15 days to as long as 180 days in some cases.
  • Where do you want to live, really? Make sure to find the neighborhood you want to live in.  Check out that neighborhood in the morning, at night, on the weekends, and during high commute times.  This will give you a true idea of what the neighborhood is like and what to truly expect.
  • To spend or not to spend? Make sure to hold off on large purchases.  You do not want to increase your debt-to-income ratio prior to purchasing a home, because it can be the reason you do not qualify for the amount you will need.
  • Considering a foreclosure? It is a great option to look for a foreclosure.  These homes can be sold to you for a fraction of their actual value.  These foreclosures can be an exciting first-home for you and your family and you can obtain a great deal. With an FHA rehabilitation loan, you can buy the home as is and get money to fix it up.
  • Jump in or take your time? This is a huge purchase, so take your time and ensure that you are making the right decision.  This is an investment in your future and not something to be taken lightly.  Do your research and don’t jump in!

Use these tips to help find the perfect home for you and your family.  Being prepared is the best way to ensure you are making a wise decision and selecting the home that works best.

CalHFA Mortgage Program Handbook for Conventional Home Loans

The California Housing finance agency or CalHFA was established in 1975 to help support the needs of renters and homebuyers in the state of California with safe loan products and affordable housing opportunities for low to moderate income Californians.

Over the years they’ve developed various home loan programs, grant programs, and free assistance to consumers, lenders, Realtors, and nonprofits. They also provide free education and handbooks on these products. (more…)

Citi Fails Loan Modification Compliance Test for the National Mortgage Settlement

A new report by an independent monitor of the National Mortgage settlement shows that the mortgage servicing giant, Citi, has failed a compliance test in regards to loan modification metrics.

The mortgage settlement was the largest consumer financial protection settlement in US history and has provided over $50 billion in assistance to distressed borrowers, and direct payments to signing states and the federal government. The agreement settled state and federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct. Both of these practices violate the law. (more…)

First Quarter 2015 Mortgage Originations Soar

The real estate and mortgage markets have really been gaining steam over the last couple years. With home values rising, and mortgage rates at all-time lows, this makes a perfect climate for lenders and loan officers who have seen tremendous growth in 2015.

According to the consumer credit reporting giant, Equifax (NYSE: EFX) and their National Consumer Credit Trends Report, mortgage originations are soaring this year. In the first quarter of 2015, the total mortgage origination balances hit $466 billion, which was a 74.4% increase from the same time a year ago. (more…)

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling Upholds the Fair Housing Act

This past week the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in favor 5 to 4 that housing discrimination is illegal, even if it is not intentional. The court held that disparate impact claims are recognizable under the Fair Housing Act. In the case Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. the Inclusive Communities Project, the Justices ruled 5-4 to uphold the use of disparate impact to help prove claims of housing discrimination.

This case was being watched by several real estate and mortgage industry participants such as mortgage lenders, real estate agents, home builders, and insurers who some consumer advocates said were trying to reduce the the effectiveness of the law and its ability to protect consumers from discriminatory practices. (more…)

Statement from NAHB Chairman Tom Woods on Supreme Court Fair Housing Act Ruling

(Source: NAHB) WASHINGTON, June 25 – Tom Woods, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo., issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fair Housing Act ruling.

“NAHB is a strong supporter of the Fair Housing Act’s goals to allow all people to obtain housing free from discrimination. The nation’s home builders stand ready to develop and build safe and decent housing in all communities across the country.  (more…)

Fitch Reviews U.S. Small-Balance CMBS Transactions

(Source: Fitch) NEW YORK-Fitch Ratings has taken various actions on 398 classes from 47 U.S. structured finance transactions. The transactions reviewed consisted of 31 Small Balance Commercial (SBC) transactions and 17 transactions sponsored by affiliated entities of Bayview Asset Management, LLC (Bayview). The Bayview transactions include re-securitization and revolving trust transactions primarily collateralized with small-balance commercial and mixed-use loans. (more…)

Fannie Mae Eliminates Desktop Underwriter Fee and Further Enhances Its Industry Leading Tools

To Give Lenders Greater Certainty and Efficiency

(Source: Fannie Mae) WASHINGTON, DC – Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) announced that it will eliminate fees on its Desktop Underwriter® automated underwriting system and Desktop Originator® tool, enhance its EarlyCheck loan verification tool, and soon introduce a new loan delivery system.  These changes are designed to help its customers originate mortgages with increased certainty, efficiency and lower costs.  (more…)

15th Annual Bank Research Conference, September 17-18, 2015

Deleveraging after the crisis: What is enough? What is too much?

(Source: FDIC) – The FDIC’s CFR and the JFSR invite submissions for the 15th Annual Fall Research Conference to be held in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday, September 17, and Friday, September 18, 2015. It is widely thought that virtually all sectors of the U.S. economy were greatly overleveraged going into the recent financial crisis. Post-crisis, there has been substantial deleveraging in the consumer and corporate sectors, while bank capital requirements have been raised, particularly for the largest banks. (more…)

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