Blog

HomeOne

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...

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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...

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Prepay

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...

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Co-ops

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...

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Retirement

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...

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Credit scores

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...

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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....

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Employment history

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...

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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...

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Recast

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...

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Refinance

Let's get started!  You may begin in one of two ways:  Phone call or in person meeting.  E-mail me at ajaffe@firsthome.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...

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Buy

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....

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Loans

  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...

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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....

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Transfer Tax

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...

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Occupancy

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...

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Inquiries

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...

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DC Grant

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...

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Termite Inspections

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...

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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...

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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...

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Condo

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...

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CPM

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,...

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PERS

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...

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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...

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Sabotage

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...

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2-4 Unit Condos

This site explains the standard requirements for condo approval. But for a condominium with only two, three, or four units, the requirements change in the following ways: For an existing condominium that is not new, it does not matter how many units owners are owner occupants.  But for a new...

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Montgomery County $25k Assistance

As of Feb 1, 2018 this program is now closed until further notice of additional funding.   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 and...

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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...

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Condo Insurance

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...

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Condo Approval

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...

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Limited Review

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 $636,150) on...

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Condos

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...

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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...

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Seller Credits

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:...

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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...

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Condo Fees

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...

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Home Insurance

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...

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Gifts

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...

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Student Loans

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...

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Bridge Loans

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...

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Tax Advantages

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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MCC

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...

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Points

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...

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ARMs

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,...

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VA Loans

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...

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Property Taxes

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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%...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Double Play

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...

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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...

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Triple Play

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  ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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%...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Self-Employed Borrowers

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...

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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...

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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-chase

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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%),...

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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...

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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...

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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.net

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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.

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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!

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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When can I get rid of mortgage insurance?

On an FHA loan: You are required to pay the annual mortgage insurance premium for at least five years.  After five years, whenever your loan reaches 78% of the original sales price or appraised value, whichever is lower, the mortgage insurance is canceled.   On a conventional loan: Annual Premiums:  Annual premiums must...

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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...

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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...

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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.  ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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,...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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...

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Rates

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.

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  I got married...!

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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...

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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.com

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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...

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FHA Reminder

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%.

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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...

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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...

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Rates

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...

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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...

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Welcome

I've just launched my mortgage website -- welcome!  Hope you find the information interesting and useful.

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Flood Insurance

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...

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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.

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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...

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Required Documentation

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: Last two paystubs/W2s and/or last two years of tax returns Last two months of bank statements and other asset accounts ID  ...

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Fannie Mae’s New Credit Report Rule

Starting on June 1st, Fannie Mae will start requiring lenders to pull credit a second time right before settlement.  This means that it'll become more important than ever for borrowers to maintain a good credit rating! Imagine qualifying for a loan with an acceptable credit score, then making a late...

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Where does First Home Mortgage lend?

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Self-Employed Borrowers

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...

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No down payment required in Washington DC

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...

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We have a Yelp page

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...

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Self-Employed Borrowers 2

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...

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