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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Procrastinating Refinance Prospects Soon to Miss the Boat

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Future home buyers of America, and Americans concerned about the future of their investment, it may be time to turn your frown upside down. Top economists across America representing American Bankers Association's Economic Advisory Committee have a positive forecast for our economy, reported by USNEWS.COM. Although we have heard many other economist, top economist as well I might add, say that the recession, in definitions terms, has already ended. Many of those economist believe that we are on a slow ride in recovery at this point, but the fact is, if the remaining "top economist" in the nation are all on the same boat in regards to where the economy stands by end of the third quarter of 2010, which is what the message from the economist in the American Bankers Association's Economic Advisory Committee have forecasted, we MUST be headed toward "greener pastures" sooner rather than later, right?

Despite the Fed's attempts to keep rates as low as possible to keep the rise of the Real Estate market churning, as the economy makes it's turn to the final back stretch to the finish line of recession, the natural progression of higher rates, which is many times the byproduct of a stronger market, will likely begin it's succession. No worries though, it seems like we have been able to study the history of our economy to the extent that unless a major event occurs, we will be able to manage mortgage rates to avoid any major hikes like we saw in the 80's where rates were well over 10%.

If you have chose to "stop procrastinating tomorrow" on your home refinance and you are one of the ones that has made it through the variety of rate hike scares where rates inched up, but somehow have fallen back down to 5% or just under, your luck is surely running out.

CALL TO ACTION: If your interest rate is at or above 6% and you plan on being in your house more than 3 years, and/or you are currently in a 30yr fixed loan but could afford making about $100-$250 more on your mortgage in which would make a rate and term change to a 15 yr note possible, call your trusted mortgage advisor today! At the beginning of these low rates, I refinanced my own home from a 30 yr fixed with 5.125% rate to a 15 yr fixed around 4.25%, and it only changed my payment by $200 and I'll make up $40,000 more principle in my new plan over the next 7 years than I would have in my old if I stayed where I was at.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FHA Loses Fight to Increase Down Payment Requirement from 3.5% to 5%

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Thanks to the NAMB (National Association of Mortgage Brokers), the fight to hold the minimum down payment for a FHA purchase at 3.5% instead of bumping it up to 5%, has been won. Today, the fight turns focus to keeping the annual mortgage insurance costs that FHA charges on loans at .55% instead of moving it up considerably. The mortgage insurance is calculated by multiplying .55% times the loan amount, and then divide that by 12 to get your monthly cost.
My worries about this aren't that it just goes up, but typically this is not something that is temporary...once the market regains strength, why should everyone continue to pay the high cost for mortgage insurance. After all, why not wait a little while and see if all the new changes help offset troubles first. Like that commercial says, "this is how FHA sticks it to the man", but this time, American home buyers are "the man". To hear a live version of the story, go to the Think Big Work Small website.

Monday, February 22, 2010

6 Easy Steps to Shop for Your Mortgage and Be Successful

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After 8 years helping families find the right loan for their needs, I want to tell you how I would shop for a loan if I were no longer in the business. Please note, if a good deal to you in buying a home is saving a couple hundred dollars in closing costs in comparison to another lender's offer of the same interest rate on the same type loan, this message is not for you. You might want to read the book, How Do I REALLY Decide What's Important in Life for Dummies, and then come back to this message. (wink wink) Now back to a more serious note, follow these steps and you will likely be more successful in choosing the right lender.

1. You need to figure out what loan officer you genuinely like the most first. However you come up with your list, get your list of lenders you plan on shopping for your mortgage. Some suggested best ways to derive your list are as follows; referral from a friend, referral from a Realtor, check with your local bank. Now, use your best people skills as you make first contact with each of these contacts at the lenders office (loan officers) to REALLY LISTEN to the "person" that answers your question and not so much the detail of the answer. You want to be a great listener in this first communication to find out who sounds more trusting and compatible with you. Maybe even try to get off the subject of mortgage just a bit. In this first communication, you might ask some mortgage questions to make sure they know their business, but interview them. (this step does not require a face to face appointment, so don't waste their time setting an appointment just yet) Once you've talked to your list of loan officers and decided who you like best, this will be the lender you target as your hopeful transaction coordinator and leader in your financing process. Lets call him your #1.

2. In most cases, when you are buying a home, you will have already gotten to your #1 (your #1 is the chosen/preferred lender) BEFORE you have found a house, because most Realtors won't show you homes on "their dime" unless you can show them you are pre-approved...and they have VERY good reason to make sure you are pre-approved before they take you out as well. Now that you have your #1 selected. You have a goal and you want to put that goal in the responsible hands of your #1. Your goal is to get pre-approved, get comparable offers from your list of lenders, get the answers to all your lending transaction questions answered, and find out what your prospective monthly payment and dollar out of pocket at closing estimates are. Just FYI, the dollar out of pocket at closing is NOT to be used at any point as a detail used in determining what lender you use...do not use a "bottom line" on an estimate sheet from a lender to compare lenders. Schedule a time to meet with your #1, face to face if possible, or at minimum, by phone. Allow your #1 to run a credit report, collect ALL of your income and asset documents to underwrite your loan, and in the end, complete your pre-approval. PLEASE NOTE, YOU HAVE NOT STARTED YOUR "SHOPPING" AND COMPARING COSTS YET!!!

3. At a point in time between meeting with your #1, mentioned above, and before you are ready to make a bid on a home, you need to get some numbers from your list of lenders for shopping purposes. Listen very closely here! You do not need, and you should NOT ask for a Good Faith Estimate, Initial Fee Worksheet, or any other template form that the lender has in his system to come up with the variables you need for shopping at this point. To compare lenders, you need to know 3 things: 1) Interest rate, 2)Points (origination and/or discount), 3) total of lenders fees. So get out a writing pen and paper and ask all three lenders what their total of lender fees are that you will incur by doing business with them, what is the current interest rate for the program that you and your #1 decided was the best loan program for you, and how many points do they charge for that interest rate. Your notes might look like this: $1190 total lender fees, 4.875% interest rate on a 30 yr FHA loan, and 1% origination (point). If you go against my shopping plan and ask for a GFE or Initial Fee Worksheet and think that you'll just pull out what YOU know to be the right fees and variables for shopping a lender, then you open yourself up to trouble. I'm not going to bother with the huge number of ways in which that can be used against you, and if you are not willing to take my advice about this, then it won't matter anyway.

4. Now that you have gathered the necessary numbers to compare your lenders, hopefully your #1 was sitting right "in the mix" with the other lenders. If he was .125% higher in interest rate than your other lenders AND the lender fees and origination were higher, you might need to have a talk with your #1, and if the fees were higher by much, you need to work with #2. There is nothing wrong with paying $200-$400 higher in fees and points for a similar or same interest rate if you are going to enjoy the process more with your #1, have confidence that all is going to go well while you and the family are packing everything you own to move, and your sure that #1's experience and advice is going to get you to your destination smoothly and with less collateral damage costs in the end. You are buying a house after all, and not a car, or a stereo system at a pawn shop...$200-$400 in extra fees and $8-$15 extra a month for a slightly higher interest rate is not a bad sacrifice to pay for comfort in the transaction, and to make sure you do not end up paying collateral damage costs at the end of the transaction because you chose a lesser expert to handle your business. (collateral damage costs may be for example: you don't close on time, so you have to pay $100 a day to your moving company while you wait for your loan to be ready, or your contract needs to be extended because your loan wasn't done in time and the seller wants you to put up more cash to make it worth their waiting on you).

5. At this point, you have compared your lenders by interest rate, lender fee total, and points associated with the offered interest rate. You now should have located a property you want to buy, and have an executed contract on that property. You now have an exact purchase price, and a selected title company in which was selected on the contract in the negotiation. Give your shopping lenders the exact purchase price of the home, and the name and number of the title company that was used (if the number is not on your contract, ask your Realtor for it), and give them a copy of your contract...the contract should tell them if there is a survey fee, and seller contribution and all that. Ask them for a Good Faith Estimate in return and that you will be deciding on locking in the next day or two...whether you are or not (this will keep them honest). The 2010 Good Faith Estimate is designed so that you can easily compare lenders, and if the costs in the Good Faith Estimate end up being higher by fee or rate at closing, the lender will be required by law to "EAT THE DIFFERENCE". When you ask these lenders for their GFE's, they will probably want to know what your credit score is and so forth. They may in most cases need that to give you an accurate estimate on your loan. As long as your credit score is above 700, it more than likely will not hurt you to let them pull their own credit report. They'll need to know your income and asset information too, just like you gave your #1, so you might try and have that in email or fax-able form. If your lender can not get you an estimate in 24 hrs, you really need to think about the availability this lender will have in answering your questions during the process, and therefore thinking about that being a reason to NOT use that lender. If they can not get you an estimate in under 48 hours (assuming normal business hours, not including Saturday and Sunday), you REALLY might think about not using them.

6. Now that you should have all your GFE's from the different lenders, just make sure that the lender you chose as your #1 is close or better than the other offers. You might even just ask your #1 to match it and in turn you would work with him. Lastly, while comparing deals, if any one of the lenders has an estimate where the interest rate is more than .375% better than the others and the costs are similar, be very leery and get additional advice from your Realtor or ask him directly why his rate is so much lower. Lastly, make your decision on whether your #1 can compete so you can work with him, or pick the next best option in line.

If at any point along the way you did not like your #1 anymore and the other options were not good either, find another lender to throw in. If you run into discomfort and can not find a lender you like after trying a variety of lenders, you might suggest taking yourself out of the "equation", and allow yourself to be advised and directed. Controlling personalities end up, in many cases, with 2 outcomes. 1)They end up working with someone willing to let the buyer run the show (inexperienced Loan Officers work with anyone), where in turn the buyer won't "let go of the steering wheel", so the inexperienced buyer leads everyone through a very bumpy ride where the entire process is like running a mile with an anchor on your back, or 2) the buyers expectations are underachieved throughout the entire transaction because they did not allow the expert to set the expectations because they thought they could control the process themselves...even if it is your 3rd or 4th time to buy a home, you have no business setting your own expectations in a loan transaction. Loan officers live a life directly related to how the market moves, and if tracking their income as it goes up and down like a roller coaster from year to year is not enough to tell you how the market changes and how often it changes, listen to the news. That being said, a loan transaction today is very dissimilar from one a year ago.

Best of luck in your home search, and shopping!

Using a USDA Mortgage for 100% Financing...No Down Payment

12 comments
Many people do not think of housing when they hear USDA...they think of rural life farm animals, and not a mortgage that brings together the need to buy with no out of pocket money toward down payment, and lack of ability to afford more conventional or FHA mortgages. The USDA mortgage was designed to help low to very low income households or individuals purchase a home. Just in case you don't consider yourself as a low or very low income household, you might first realize that USDA uses that term a little more differently than what we might.

Let me make an example to help you better understand what kind of household incomes qualify for a USDA Mortgage Loan program that you might think do not. In the system that we have available through USDA, I run this as a loan officer for my clients needing qualification for a USDA Loan, I ran the total household income at $84,000 a year, considered 3 in the household (2 adults, and a child in day care), I was able to list $6,000 a year ($500 monthly) of expenses for the child in daycare (USDA will take that amount out of your household income to better help you qualify as low income), and still qualify for the USDA loan. So you can make $84,000 a year between two adults with one child and qualify for USDA. If you have more kids in the household, you can even make more. To me, I don't think about a household earning $84,000 a year as low income, and this is why I said above that USDA may define low to very low income differently than what you might consider as low or very low income.





Why are USDA loans so great?
First of all, they do not require any down payment. Let me say that again in a different way: USDA Rural Program loans are 100% financing and therefore require ZERO DOWN PAYMENT. Some of the other important details about them that help out so much include; you can roll in closing costs if the seller won't provide cost for you at closing (could help with as much as $3,000-$6000), if the seller will pay closing costs, there is no limit to how much they can pay (meaning the seller can pay ALL of the closing costs if agreed on), loan up to 102% of the appraised value, there is no monthly mortgage insurance (don't get this confused with mandatory Home Owner's Insurance that provides you with risk management where mortgage insurance supports the risk of the lender), you don't have to be a first time buyer to benefit from this program, and there is no sales price maximum (if you can afford it through underwriting evaluation, you can buy it).

The one piece of loan structure in the USDA program that is different to conventional, but not indifferent than FHA or VA, is the 2% participation fee. Just like FHA(upfront mortgage insurance 1.75%) and VA's (2%) up front fee you have to pay when you take on a Government loan, the USDA loan comes with a 2% participation fee. This is 2% of the loan...example: $100,000 loan, then you pay $2,000 up front in participation fee. The USDA loan is still less costly than the FHA option because the USDA does NOT have a monthly cost like FHA does. You pay the one time fee up front for the USDA loan, and then you are done.

The other point about USDA loans that make them so great is their interest rate. Since these loans are guaranteed by USDA, lenders' risks are similar to other Government loans and therefore, the interest rates on USDA loans are almost, if not the same as, present day conventional and FHA financing. So, no down payment, super low interest rate, 100% financing, and multitude of low to no closing cost options out of pocket in the end make up one of today's most beneficial lending programs...for those who qualify in the way of income and location of the subject property being purchased.
To find out if the home you want to buy, or if the neighborhood you are wanting to buy in, is eligible for the USDA program, check with your lender (Me, Brad Lynch at 469-450-2723, or email me at bl@fmillc.com). The cities, towns, or communities with population under 20,000 are typically going to fall in the USDA eligible limits.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Future for Texas Housing Market...2010

3 comments
After reading an article in CNN this week, it sounds like the guru's of the housing market think that research on the cost of home owning versus the cost of renting, can determine what Americans can expect in the outlook for housing in America for 2010. Thats a sensible statement, right?

Lets start with the common sense reason why we can track the rent vs home price to do our homework on the future of the housing market. Plainly, people generally need a good reason why they might benefit from leaving their lease when they compare and contrast owning and renting for what they give up in monthly out of pocket costs each month. Shawn Tully wrote in the CNN article, "And the surest sign that prices have fully adjusted arrives when the ratio of what people pay in rent versus what owners spend on the same property returns to its historic average." So, that is where it starts.

Through research of rents vs homeownership, they found that in 1999 renters were paying 87% of what homeowners were paying monthly. All in all, Americans are ok with paying a little higher monthly when it came to the benefit of owning...13% higher to be specific in 1999 (the case study was called the REIT research team done by Deutsche Bank...REIT=Ratio of Rents to Ownership Costs). Later studies showed drastic changes in that ratio as the housing bubble was growing in areas like California. Home owners prices drop compared to what renters paid in the bubble times.

When the cost to own is "overpriced" by the rent to own ratio, when comparing out of pocket monthly costs, you typically will see that the housing market will tend to fall more until the ratio of rental to owning is more equal...like in the 1990's. In more recent studies, like the one in 1999, we see that the majority of Americans still pay an "over priced" amount for owning than renting today. This research leads the experts to believe we will see a hopeful and final fall in overall national housing market of 5% more in 2010. (My hypothesis is that Texas will not follow that statistic as close and we'll see much less or even small gain in 2010).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

You Are Referred to a Trusted Loan Officer...IT DON'T FEEL SO TRUSTY...thanks to New RESPA rules

142 comments
Most Loan Officers, the ones that work outside the large call center type organizations, are entrepreneurial or self employed in nature. What I mean by that, for this message, we do not have a huge research staff that tells us why our numbers are falling, or when there is a major change, how to combat that. Therefore, most of us do what we feel is right and wonder if everyone else is doing it the same way. I read an article that backed me up on the feelings I had with regard to the RESPA changes and how to get conveyance to my borrower correctly without looking suspicious.
Unlike the majority in the industry, I do not despise the new rules under RESPA. On the other hand, I have wondered if I was "doing it right" or doing it like everyone else. I was reading an article from Tracey Ramsey, the Staff Writer for MortgageCurrency.com, and she really said it right. All of the changes that were designed to help the borrower on the new Good Faith Estimate or GFE 2010 do not help the borrower unless they know how to use it, and if they are not aware of the changes, they may not feel comfortable in the shopping process.
To see a little of what changes and when they occurred for the RESPA guidelines, go to my Active Rain Blog here. After reading this article from Tracey that I linked you to above, return for the remainder of this message.
I further suggest that a home loan shopper use their ability to recognize a trusty person rather than their ability to crunch mortgage numbers when shopping for a mortgage person. Use the one Loan Officer you LIKE the most until you are contracted or ready to lock your loan, and then shop by comparing others to him. In the end, you want to try to work with who you feel is most trustworthy if all possible...do not let a matter of $100-$300 in fees be the deciding factor or you may end up with $thousands$ worse over the life of the loan. Trust me shopper, you do not know what is best for you unless you take the advice of a professional...that includes you folks who are working on your 3rd, 4th, or 5th loan transaction too.

Testimonials & About Me

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Frisco, Texas, United States
In 2002, Brad Lynch began energetically consulting families in finding the right mortgage plan for their needs. In the beginning years, he was trained by a mentor who led by example, and this example was the epitome of integrity. Brad learned in the beginning by his mentor that many prospects may not consciously see what good intentions he has for them, do to the “wrap” many have caused w/in this industry, but always do what is right for the customer and in the end it will payoff. Integrity coupled with an energetic nature to nurture relationships, Brad has created clients for life. Through these clients for life, referrals have become the lifeblood of his business.