In the first week of March, mortgage rates hit historic lows. For a brief moment in time, 30 year rates reached the low to mid 3s and 15 year rates hit the high 2s to low 3s. Our company, First Home Mortgage which is the largest lender in MD and 4th largest lender...Read More
A co-signer is a mortgage loan applicant who co-applies with a home buyer to help the buyer qualify for their mortgage. This co-applicant is typically a family member who does not plan to occupy the property the home buyer is purchasing, and is therefore labeled a non-occupant co-borrower (or co-signer)....Read More
We just released the Springboard down payment assistance program, which is available for home buyers in Maryland & Virginia! This is a conventional loan program without mortgage insurance which comes with a repayable down payment assistance loan of 4% of the purchase price. This 4% loan can be applied to both...Read More
BorrowSmart is a $1,500 to $2,500 grant program, for eligible home buyers in Maryland. The assistance is paired with a 3%+ down conventional loan and is a great way to get help with the down payment or closing costs. The program cannot generally be paired with other assistance programs. ...Read More
Federal Home Loan Bank
The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) program provides a $5,000-$7,500 grant to be used towards down payment and closing costs. The program is available in DC, MD, & VA. Home buyers will put down 3% on a conventional loan, and the grant may be used towards their down payment. You...Read More
Amazon HQ2 comes to Crystal City DC area…now what?
Crystal City, VA is home to Amazon's 2nd headquarters (HQ2). If you're considering a job opportunity to work here, acquiring a mortgage to finance a home nearby may be simpler than you think. Learn more about mortgage options and ways to commute! Closing on a home prior to starting...Read More
The Chenoa Fund is discontinued as of April 2019. The Department of Housing & Urban Development changed mortgage guidelines to disallow the uses of Chenoa funds for down payment. Interested in learning about other down payment assistance programs? Visit https://www.alexjaffe.com/dpa The Alex Jaffe Mortgage Team now offers financing with...Read More
Mortgage insurance is less now
This week, all six mortgage insurance companies that exist in the US either released or announced reductions to their mortgage insurance premiums. (Need to learn more about MI? Click here). I am reflecting back to when I started in this business in 2007. Between 2007 and 2015, mortgage insurance costs...Read More
Freddie Mac announced a new loan program available July 29, 2018, to help a greater amount of home buyers qualify for down payment assistance. HomeOne is available nationwide and so will be eligible in DC, MD, and VA. The HomeOne loan program will be great for applicants who meet...Read More
Home equity lines of credit
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is generally a 2nd mortgage loan you take out in addition to the loan that you currently have. Most homeowners take out a HELOC to finance home renovations. Or, you could take out a HELOC to consolidate debt. When we work with clients...Read More
12/29/17 update: The IRS just put out an advisory notice that you can only pay your 2018 tax bill & deduct the payment if it was assessed in 2017. So far, only DC has asserted that they've already issued assessments (in October) and they believe the prepayment will be deductible. This...Read More
First Home Mortgage now finances co-ops! I financed co-operatives for clients while at National City Mortgage...and am glad to now again offer them in the DC area. First Home is a local lender who works with a roster of local appraisers. The team that backs me up has all financed co-operatives...Read More
It is generally possible to utilize funds from a retirement account towards the down payment or closing costs for your home purchase. The rules for tapping into retirement accounts will vary, depending on the type of account(s) you have. I will list the typical rules for each account type, in...Read More
Most home purchasers know that there are three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. These bureaus are repositories of information from all participating creditors. Before credit scores existed, credit bureaus collected and provided information about creditworthiness to lenders. The first credit score was created in 1989 by the Fair Isaac...Read More
Down Payment Assistance
There are down payment assistance and low down payment programs available both nationally and locally. I have written below the descriptions of each program to aid in understanding what is available. During your initial conversation, we will review your financial situation to see what is the best fit for you....Read More
Whenever you apply for a loan, you'll be required to provide a two year history of either employment or time in school. If your income is salaried, we'll calculate and qualify your income based on your salary. If your income is variable and is hourly, bonus, commission, or via tips, we'll...Read More
Loan Limits Increase in 2018
Beginning with closings in 2018, the new conforming loan limit is $679,650. This'll be the maximum loan for a 5% down one-loan-scenario, which will be a purchase price of $715,421. However, 5% down will be available up to purchase prices of $978,578 with financing with two loans. 3% down will...Read More
A recast differs from a refinance. The purpose of a recast is to lower your monthly payment without having to take out a new loan. With a recast, you will pay down your principal balance and request the lender recalculate the lower mortgage payment based on the lower balance. In...Read More
Let's get started! You may begin in one of two ways: Phone call or in person meeting. E-mail me at email@example.com or call 240-479-7658 to set this up. Or, you may begin with the online form and we can connect afterwards. Start here: Refinance Learn more about how working with me is different...Read More
My role as your loan officer is to help guide you in deciding how to best finance your home purchase. There are several loan programs to choose from, and the best choice for you is based on analysis of your income, debts, assets, credit, and your goals and long term plans....Read More
Conventional Loans - Best paired with higher credit and/or higher down payment...providing the best terms for most applicants FHA Loans - Best paired with lower credit and/or lower down payments...providing superior loan terms in the above instances Jumbo Loans - For loan amounts over $636,150, jumbo loans require slightly higher down payments...Read More
Down Payment Assistance Programs
There are down payment assistance and low down payment programs available both nationally and locally. I have written below the descriptions of each program to aid in understanding what is available. During your initial conversation, we will review your financial situation to see what is the best fit for you....Read More
Beginning with settlements October 2017, the DC transfer tax rate is reduced to eligible buyers* to .725%. This is a .375% or .725% decrease in the transfer tax for other purchasers. The previous transfer tax was 1.1% for purchases below $400,000 versus 1.45% for purchases $400,000 and above. So on...Read More
There are three types of ways you can utilize a property you are financing. They are a primary residence, second home, or investment property. A primary residence is a home in which you live in as your principal residence, and typically occupy at least a majority of the year. In...Read More
Our credit report provider, United One Resources, has answered some common questions about credit inquiries: Will my FICO score drop if I apply for new credit? If it does, it probably won't drop much. If you apply for several credit cards within a short period of time, multiple inquiries...Read More
DC Open Doors offers an additional $1,500 closing cost grant available for closings through the end of the year (Dec 31). This is in addition to the already available 3% down payment assistance which is forgiven if you live in the property for five years. The grant program is available to clients...Read More
Termite inspections are typically not required. But, let's learn about when we do need to review the report. The VA loan is the only product which requires a termite report to be completed and reviewed by us. The only exception is if the buyer is using VA financing to purchase a...Read More
FHA Condo Approval
We process FHA submissions in house and submit them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Their review will likely take 2 weeks to 30 days. FHA condominium approvals are valid for the entire project for two years. Prior to December 2009, once approved a condo was always...Read More
VA Condo Approval
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires they review and approve a condominium prior to financing a loan in each condo project. The VA approval does not expire and can be accomplished in a matter of weeks. Here are the requirements for submission, and we will work with the condo...Read More
If you want to learn about condos...you've come to the right page. Click on the links which interest you to learn about condominiums, condo fees, and what we review when analyzing whether a condominium association is suitable for financing. Condominiums (General) Primary Criteria for Condo Approvals Limited Reviews for Condos (Easier...Read More
A Condo Project Manager (CPM) approval is the most common type of condominium association approval because it is automated. The CPM is Fannie Mae software to review whether a condominium meets requirements and is utilized for both new and existing condos. A CPM approval is good for six months,...Read More
Fannie Mae has a Project Eligibility Review Service (PERS) approval option which is useful in the following three scenarios: Non-gut condominium conversions New projects with units under 400 square feet (micro units) Condo project consisting of manufactured homes A PERS approval is a submission to Fannie Mae, and often avoided...Read More
New Construction Condos
In addition to meeting all of the existing condominium requirements, there are a few additional steps required when a condominium is newly built or newly converted. A condominium is defined as new if it meets any one of these classifications: The developer is still in control of the condo association Construction...Read More
DON’T MOVE YOUR CASH/SAVINGS AROUND: We have to verify all funds for closing, including the source of those funds. Moving assets around can create a paper trail nightmare. The best advice is to leave everything where it is, even if the purpose of the move is to pool your funds...Read More
2-4 Unit Condos
This site explains the standard requirements for condo approval. But, for a condo with 2-4 units, we are not required to review the project other than making sure the condominium: a. Has adequate insurance and meets requirements as laid out here. b. Is not operated like a hotel or motel...is...Read More
Montgomery County $25k Assistance
As of Mar 25 19, funding for this program is now exhausted and the program is closed. The MMP program has a new option in Montgomery County! Purchasers can now qualify for a 2017 loan program named the Montgomery Homeownership Program II which provides up to $25,000 in down payment...Read More
Earnest Money Deposit
When making an offer, you will present to the seller an earnest money deposit (EMD). This deposit will ultimately go towards your cash to close, which is made up of your down payment and closing costs. We will be documenting as part of your loan application the EMD clearing your...Read More
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac have specific coverage and endorsement requirements for the Condominium Home Owner Association’s Master Insurance Policy to be able to warrant condominium projects under both full review and limited review methods. Both Full and Limited Review methods must meet the following coverage and endorsement requirements: Property/Dwelling...Read More
Are you interested in learning what we verify when reviewing a condominium for approval for conventional financing? Well, here are the major items that trip up condo associations: No more than 15% of the unit owners may be over 60 days past due on their condominium fees. Exception: Not verified...Read More
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can allow a limited review on a conventional loan for a condominium. A limited review will mean that we are not required to verify as many financial condominium details as a full review. A limited review is allowed on a conforming loan amount (below $765,600) on...Read More
If a buyer is financing a condominium or a property in a homeowner's association, we are required to determine if the association meets the standards of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The primary difference between the two types of ownership are that in a condominium, together the members of the...Read More
Gaithersburg Homebuyer Assistance Loan Program
The city of Gaithersburg provides down payment and closing cost assistance for purchasers in the amount of $12,000 (blue areas) or $25,000 (yellow areas). You will repay the assistance without any interest due. You may finance this loan alongside an FHA or Conventional or VA loan program. The minimum credit...Read More
In addition to the down payment, a buyer will pay closing costs in connection with their purchase. If the combined amount of cash required is more than a buyer is comfortable with, then they may attempt to negotiate a seller credit for some or all of the closing costs. For example:...Read More
Montgomery County Census Tracts
In order to determine whether a property is in an eligible lower-median income area, please enter the address on the site: https://geomap.ffiec.gov/FFIECGeocMap/GeocodeMap1.aspx If the census tract is listed above, then it is an eligible property. Please note - eligible census tracts are subject to change and this is current as...Read More
If you purchase in a cooperative, condominium or homeowner's association, you will pay a fee to the association. This fee is determined by the square footage your home represents in the overall square footage of the association - you will pay a percentage of the costs. The members of the association...Read More
Home Insurance is required by mortgage lenders when you purchase a home. There are three primary components of home insurance: Dwelling coverage. On a house, replacement cost coverage is necessary. In cases where your property is here today and gone tomorrow, the insurer will replace your property. Personal property/contents. This coverage...Read More
I am not a tax advisor. But many clients have questions about how gifts both affect their mortgage application and their taxes. I am happy to explain: Gift amounts There is no limit to the amount of the gift. You may receive multiple gifts from multiple sources. 2. Gift sources...Read More
The Obama Administration introduced the income based repayment program (IBR) for student loans. This allows borrowers of federal student loans to set their monthly repayment amount based on their income rather than making an amortizing payment. (An amortizing payment would be one that is set to be paid off in...Read More
It can be difficult to time the sale and the purchase of your next home perfectly. While it's ideal to sell and buy on the same day, sometimes you won't be able to sell your property before closing on your new home. If you have significantly equity in your...Read More
I am not a tax advisor - but I often get questions about the tax advantages of home ownership. The below deductions assume you choose to itemize your deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Here are the benefits: Deduct interest: When filing your income taxes, you may deduct the...Read More
Homestead Deductions in DC and MD
If you buy your home in DC or in Maryland, and will live in the property, you will want to apply for the homestead deduction. The homestead deduction will limit how much your property taxes can increase annually and potentially reduce your tax bill. In DC, with the homestead deduction...Read More
How do rate changes affect your payment?
When interest rates rise, you may be concerned about how that affects your affordability of your monthly payment. Let's break down how a rate shift affects your monthly payment on a 30 year fixed loan. For every $100,000 you borrow, a 1% change in the interest rate will shift the...Read More
Maryland Grant Assist
The Maryland Mortgage Program released a new grant program in 2017. Buyers can receive down payment and/or closing cost assistance of 4% of the sales price. This grant comes from the state. It does not need to be repaid and is applied towards the cash to close required at settlement. To...Read More
A Mortgage Credit Certificate is a first time home buyer benefit available in DC, VA, and MD. You may be eligible if you have not owned real estate in the past three years. While I am not a tax advisor, I will explain the benefits and costs of applying for...Read More
A point is the same thing as a discount point or origination fee. Points refer to added fees which you can use to purchase a lower interest rate. One point is the equivalent of one percent of your loan amount. The percentage that buying points lowers your rate will depend...Read More
Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower start rates on mortgages with the risk that the rate will adjust in the future. The most common ARM is the 7 year ARM, wherein the rate is set for 7 years but then adjusts annually after that. But there are also 3, 5,...Read More
You typically obtain eligibility for a VA loan by being an active service member for four years, or a reservist for six years. Though if you spent 6 months deployed in a hazard zone, you may be eligible following that deployment. We can help you check your eligibility if you...Read More
The county, city, or state you choose to purchase in charges property taxes which are based on the assessed value of your home. These property taxes are typically included in your monthly payment in that 1/12th of your tax bill is paid into your escrow account. What is escrow? You...Read More
DC Lowers Transfer Taxes for First Timers
DC's city council just voted in a reduction in transfer taxes to .725% of the purchase price. This is a first time buyer benefit for eligible purchasers whose income is less than 180% of the area median income. That income cap is going to be approximately $190k a year. This...Read More
Understanding Closing Costs
There are four primary categories of closing costs: Lender fees Title Attorney costs, including title insurance Transfer taxes to local government Upfront deposits for escrows and prepaids In addition to the main categories, there are going to be miscellaneous costs which vary by transaction. For instance if you are buying...Read More
DC Open Doors Top Producer
The DC Housing Finance Agency just celebrated its third anniversary and the close of the third fiscal year of the DC Open Doors program. I have been fortunate to be recognized as the top producer of the program every year, as well as being the loan officer who closed the...Read More
FHA Condo changes
If you're seeking to buy a condo and looking to put a minimal amount down, then you may be looking to get an FHA loan. FHA has been more strict on whether they'll lend in a condominium project in the last several years. But yesterday they eased up on one...Read More
Home Ready and Home Possible
There are two really great loan programs offered by Fannie Mae (Home Ready) and Freddie Mac (Home Possible) that combine low down payment loans with superior mortgage terms. These products even have better terms in many cases than standard conventional financing at a variety of down payment amounts. Program Highlights: 3% Down minimum...Read More
5% Down to $625,500 and more good news
Thanks to Fannie Mae changes Saturday, we no longer require 10% down on loan amounts of $417,001 to $625,500; now primary residence purchasers only need to put down 5%! Also, all of the down payment can come from family gifts, even when the buyer is purchasing with a co-signer. Conforming...Read More
Clear to close in 14-21 days
The new TRID requirements have lead to a big change in the industry with regard to how we approve and close loans. However, TRID has also been an opportunity to deliver even better customer service, which was the intent of the new law. Our adjustment has been smooth. We have...Read More
Investment Property Loans
An investment property is a purchase for which the planned use of the property is usually for rental income. We are happy to lend on investment properties. On account of the greater risk associated with investment loans, these loans come with higher rates, higher down payment requirements, and slightly more...Read More
Loans without mortgage insurance!
Many buyers who put down less than 20% ask about how they can finance a home purchase without mortgage insurance. There are two ways to avoid paying monthly mortgage insurance, and that is through either we the lender paying it for you, or through you prepaying it. This is possible...Read More
Top Producer for DC Open Doors – Alex Jaffe
I am thrilled to share that for the second year in a row, I provided the most DC Open Doors loans to home buyers in Washington DC. More info on DC Open Doors is found here. 0% down financing for Washington DC buyers thanks to a 3-3.5% down payment assistance...Read More
Condos with high delinquencies
I am pleased to share that we have expanded our guidelines on condominium approvals for conforming loans. Until now, buyers using Fannie Mae financing were required to put down 20% if they were attempting to purchase a condo with high delinquencies. Now, using Freddie Mac financing, we can perform a limited...Read More
Prince George's County has discontinued the Triple Play program and has now instituted the double play. Double Play now is the CDA program with one twist - a .25% reduction in the interest rate for loans in Prince George's County. More info on CDA is at this link: https://alexjaffe.com/md-down-payment-assistance Ready...Read More
FHA Reduces Mortgage Insurance Premium!
Great news! HUD just announced that the mortgage insurance rates on FHA loans will be reduced with new registrations of 1/26/15 or later. The new mortgage insurance rate will be .85% for loans with less than five percent down, or .8% for loans with five percent down or more. On a $400,000 loan this...Read More
Prince George's County has discontinued the Triple Play program and has now instituted the double play. Double Play now is the CDA program with one twist - a .25% reduction in the interest rate for loans in Prince George's County. More info on CDA is at this link: https://alexjaffe.com/md-down-payment-assistance ...Read More
DC Tax abatement
DC Tax abatement is an incredible program, which allows for: 1. The buyer does not pay for the recordation tax, which is .725%-1.45% of the sales price. Also, instead of the seller paying the transfer tax (1.1%-1.45%), that transfer tax is credited to the buyer. The net change is a...Read More
Conventional Renovation – Homestyle
I'm pleased to share that we now offer conventional renovation loans, called the homestyle program. The use of this program is for a purchaser who would like to finance the purchase of a property and also receive financing for renovations and repairs. Previously, there was only the FHA 203k loan...Read More
DC Open Doors announces .25% rate reduction
DC Open Doors http://www.dchfa.org is now offering a .25% rate reduction on its loans with down payment assistance. This is terrific for some buyers who are interested in the program but some restrictions apply. This loan program is called the Mortgage Revenue Bond program, because it is funded by the...Read More
Rent versus Own Data in Washington, DC
Zillow compiled an incredible amount of data from every zip code in the United States to calculate how long you should plan to stay in your home so that owning makes more financial sense than renting. Here is their data for Washington, DC. Zillow's calculations are typically based on 20%...Read More
What is APR?
APR is the annual percentage rate and is a calculation you should consider when deciding what is the best mortgage deal for you. However, it is an imperfect calculation; watch the video to learn why. Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is the most commonly misunderstood term in borrowing. The use...Read More
DC Open Doors
Zero down payment purchase financing in Washington DC that most people qualify for. And it’s easy! New income cap for 2017: $132,360 (based on borrower income, not household income). Maximum loan amount for 2018 is $679,650 for 3% down financing or $453,100 for 0% down financing. Watch the video for...Read More
Buying versus renting
While there are many clear advantages of purchasing real estate, rather than renting, you should also consider the advantages and disadvatages of both before you make the important choice between the two. Why buy? To build equity - Each month that you make a mortgage payment, you'll build equity through...Read More
New head of FHFA, Mel Watts, delays/reconsiders increasing rates
Per a news release today from the Federal Housing Finance Administration, the FHFA will delay the guarantee fee increase that was scheduled to take effect this Winter. This would have resulted in an across-the-board .25% increase for every conforming loan. New director, Mel Watts, wants to reconsider the effect...Read More
Listing agents are often wary of accepting contracts from self-employed borrowers for a few reasons, so I thought I'd share these challenges and how we overcome them. Problem: Many loan officers simply don't know how to calculate self-employed income The number one reason why self-employed borrowers get a bad reputation...Read More
No down payment required in Washington DC
Thanks to the new loan program that we offer through the DC housing finance agency (DCHFA), home buyers in Washington DC do not need their own funds for a down payment! The program will provide the needed funds for the down payment, and provided you live in the property for...Read More
We have a Yelp page
Please review me on Yelp! I would love it if you'd share your experience with others. http://www.yelp.com/biz/first-home-mortgage-chevy-chase-md-chevy-chaseRead More
Washington, DC 2013 First Time Buyer benefits
In December, 2012, DC updated its first time buyer benefits. I'm referring specifically to the DC Tax abatement, which allows for: 1. The buyer does not pay for the recordation tax, which is 1.1% of the sales price. Also, instead of the seller paying the transfer tax (also 1.1%),...Read More
Maryland First Time Buyer Benefits
In the state of Maryland, as a first time property owner, you are eligible to avoid the state transfer tax which is .25% of the sales price. Other than that, there are down payment assistance programs both with the state and with Montgomery County. For a one to two person...Read More
DC First Time Buyer Benefits
You may be eligible for a first time buyer credit of $5000. Here is the IRS tax form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8859.pdf DC's page on the subject: http://otr.cfo.dc.gov/otr/cwp/view,a,1330,q,594156.asp The issue is that they haven't yet extended the credit for 2012 yet. See the IRS form for income restrictions, if you are buying as...Read More
Spendology – Budgeting online
I met Keith Ashe today from Spendology. He runs a website which helps people setup a budget online in ten minutes. It looks like a great tool; take a moment and sign up: http://www.spendology.netRead More
Launched my videos!
Thanks to Trent Watts at Watts Media Productions, I now have fifteen different videos uploaded answering frequently asked questions about mortgages. I'm excited to share this new form of information with you all.Read More
FHA Mortgage Insurance
Per President Obama's press conference today 3/6/12, it looks like he'll be cutting in half the mortgage insurance on FHA streamline refinances. We await additional information but this is great news thus far!Read More
What is APR?
Annual Percentage Rate, or APR, is the most commonly misunderstood term in borrowing. The use of APR was required as of the Truth In Lending Act, the purpose being to help prospective borrowers understand the cost difference between rate offers. APR, unlike the interest rate, offers a look at the true cost...Read More
What determines my rate?
1. What the market is doing. The market for interest rates moves on a minutely basis and most interest rates rise and fall with the sale of mortgage-backed securities. More on this at a later time. 2. Your credit score. Mortgage rate pricing adjusts on 20-point intervals, the higher your credit score, the...Read More
Why would I refinance?
First off, what is a refinance? A refinance (refi) is where you take out a new loan, with new terms, and use that money to pay off your old loan. You are “re-financing” your home. You would refinance for the following two reasons: To save money. This is a rate...Read More
What is mortgage insurance?
To protect against losses on low-down-payment loans, lenders require mortgage insurance for any loan-to-value higher than 80%. This is applicable for all conforming conventional Fannie/Freddie loans. In case of default, a mortgage insurer would pay a claim to the holder of the mortgage. Because of the cost of foreclosure, a mortgage...Read More
When can I get rid of mortgage insurance?
On a conventional one unit Primary or Secondary residence (loans originated after 1999): The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 requires mortgage insurance to be canceled automatically when your loan balance is scheduled (based on the original amortization schedule) to reach a value of 78% of the purchase price. Canceling mortgage...Read More
What are the steps for applying for a loan?
1. Pre-qualification: A pre-qualification is the first step and answers the following questions: What is the best loan type for me? How much money will I need to put down? What kind of payments should I expect at the sales prices I am interested in? How much cash total will...Read More
How do I calculate my ARM adjustment?
An adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, typically has a start-rate that is set for a period of 3, 5, 7, or 10 years. After that initial period most ARMs adjust annually. How they adjust will depend upon the terms agreed to in your note, or shown on your adjustable rate...Read More
What on my mortgage payment can change?
Your property taxes will adjust whenever your jurisdiction changes the assessment of your home. They may also change if tax credits are added or removed, for instance credits for occupying the property as your principal residence. Counties or cities will re-evaluate their tax rates, also, on an annual basis. ...Read More
What is escrow?
Escrow has multiple meanings, but when we refer to escrowing mortgage payments, we refer to this: We the lender will be responsible for holding your property tax and insurance money and will make the payments of these bills for you. When you make your monthly mortgage payment, not only...Read More
How do I improve my credit score?
The best way to improve your credit score will depend on your individual situation. But here are some great tips: 1. Whatever you do, the most important thing is to make sure you don't get any collections. Setup automatic payments for utilities if you can, and make sure your checking...Read More
Common Mistakes Made by Home Buyers
1. Assuming you qualify, or don't qualify, for a loan. There are many things we consider when determining whether to lend to a potential home buyer. What you read in the newspaper regarding requirements is not necessarily true. What one loan officer tells you is their policy, is not...Read More
How do I appeal my property tax?
After you purchase your home, you're going to start receiving annual property tax bills. A copy of the bill will also be sent to your lender if you are escrowing your property taxes. Many people, when seeing their assessments rise, will want to appeal their taxes. Most jurisdictions will want...Read More
What documents do I need to provide?
1. Photo ID 2. A month's worth of paystubs if applicable 3. Two years of federal tax returns and W2s or 1099s 4. Two month's worth of bank statements or investment accounts. If you receive quarterly statements, the last quarterly statement is fine.Read More
What is a pre-approval and why do I need one?
You and the agent you are working with do not want to spend time looking in the wrong price range. Or, if you need credit repair, you and the agent wouldn't want to look at inventory now when you won't be ready to purchase for another few months. The...Read More
How do I get pre-qualified?
The first step is to speak to your loan officer. You'll want to know the following: 1. Your gross income 2. Your available cash for a down payment 3. Your monthly debts 4. Potential locations and types of properties you are interested in By providing us with your income/assets/debts,...Read More
How do we determine how much you qualify for?
You may already have a payment range you've determined that would work for you. But when people think about getting pre-approved for a maximum loan amount, we have our own system for determining what we think would work for you. When asking about a maximum amount you can borrow,...Read More
What credit score do I need to get a mortgage?
Right now, the typical minimum credit score you will need is a 620. We calculate your credit score by taking the median (middle) of your three scores. If you and someone else are applying for a loan, we will take the lower median of the two of you. Be...Read More
What can I use for a down payment?
Down payment funds can come from a variety of sources. The thing to keep in mind is that you can use your assets, or assistance/gifts from sources which do not need to be repaid.* You can use liquid assets like a checking or savings account. You are allowed to pull...Read More
How much down payment do I need in Washington DC?
A common misconception is that you'll need a 20% down payment to receive mortgage financing for a home purchase. You can actually get a loan with as low as 3.5% down, or 0% down if you are a VA eligible veteran. Specifically for first time buyers, there are actually...Read More
Home Affordable Refinance Program
We've learned that the revision of the HARP program will become effective in March. Stay tuned for more information, and in the meantime, follow the instructions in the previous post to see if you may be eligible.Read More
New HARP Program
The Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) just announced an expansion of the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). This program allows upside-down borrowers to refinance their home as long as their loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, among other criteria. The expansion of this program specifically is targeted...Read More
Rates right this moment are at the historical low. In the history of the United States mortgage rates have never been lower. A great time to refinance.Read More
I got married...!Read More
FHA Mortgage Insurance
On Monday, monthly mortgage insurance premiums will go up .25% for all new FHA loan applications. A 3.5% down mortgage will now have an annual premium paid monthly of 1.15%. We do have a conventional upfront mortgage insurance product that allows for 5-15% down with no monthly mortgage insurance...Read More
The Title Attorney
Bryan Malickson has a great blog with interesting info related to real estate and title. Right now he is going through a series on distressed borrowers. I highly recommend you check it out: Http://www.thetitleattorney.comRead More
Condo Approvals Expiring Dec 7th
Many FHA condo approvals are expiring on December 7th. So if you are looking to buy a condominium with an FHA loan, and want to use the current approval without waiting, you will need a contract prior to the 7th. As long as we register the loan ahead of that...Read More
This is a reminder that starting on October 4th, FHA is raising its monthly mortgage insurance on most loans to .9% from .55%. For every $100,000 in loans, this translates into about a ~$29/mo increase. In exchange, they are lowering the upfront premium from 2.25% to 1%.Read More
Conservator’s report – state on Fannie & Freddie
Full report here: http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/16591/ConservatorsRpt82610.pdf FHFA, linked above, wrote a report on the state of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Here are some interesting pieces of it. All data is from Fannie Mae's stats: 1. This year's average credit score is 758 versus 716 in 2007. 2. 8% of loans...Read More
FHA’s new mortgage insurance
Want to put less than 5 or 10% down? You're likely going to get an FHA loan. Due to increased risk of defaults, HUD earlier this year increased its upfront mortgage insurance premium (MIP) from 1.75 to 2.25%. Now, starting in October, they are increasing the annual premium while decreasing...Read More
I just read this article that said out of the last 8 weeks, 7 of these weeks showed record lows for mortgage rates. Granted, these are small drops, but it just goes to show how far rates have fallen. I'm seeing 30 year fixed rates in the range of 4.25-4.75%. 15...Read More
MI Rates Fall for Well Qualified
Some of our MI providers have now instituted risk-based pricing models. Now your credit score, debt ratio, property type, and location are analyzed together to determine what your MI rate will be. After running a few sample tests, I've noticed that the most well qualified borrowers are getting nice...Read More
I've just launched my mortgage website -- welcome! Hope you find the information interesting and useful.Read More
Interested in buying a property in a floodplain (special hazardous flood area) which requires flood insurance? Well, you haven't been able to since the National Flood Insurance Program expired May 31st. So the whole month of June halted all settlements which are in flood-risky areas. Locally, that means parts of...Read More
Nevermind…Tax Credit Extended
If you signed a contract prior to April 30th, you now have up to September 30th to close and receive the federal $8,000 tax credit. I'm sure there aren't too many people in this position now, but wherever they are, they have something to smile about.Read More
Tax Credit Extension?
The Senate and the House have been debating about whether to extend the tax credits for buying homes. Thus far, they have tried to include the extension in two bills, both of which have not passed and look like they will not pass. That said, for people looking to...Read More
Many buyers are curious about what documentation these days is required and why. The core documents are the ones that prove your income, your assets, and your identity: