The Complete Guide to Qualifying for the Home Possible Program

Saving to buy a home while you watch prices and interest rates increase feels like an impossible goal. You checked into FHA loans and learned it only requires 3 ½% of the purchase price as a down payment. But then you learned about the high, and permanent, mortgage insurance premiums. No thanks. Well, don't give up on your dream of homeownership! Consider these loans offered by Freddie Mac: the Home Possible loan requiring a minimum of 5% (of the purchase price) down payment and the Home Possible Advantage, allowing a minimum of 3%…continue reading →

Mortgage Rate Recap and Predictions For Week Ending October 19th, 2018

Yesterday the Fed released the Beige Book which contained an even stronger emphasis on the impact of tariffs and labor shortages than the previous two publications. Along with that, all twelve districts in the U.S. said the economy is expanding moderately or at a moderate pace in their region. The issue of labor shortages isn't new news, but employers are stepping up their enticements to try and lure potential job candidates, which include job training and no drug testing. They aren't, however, increasing wage levels but offer non-cash benefits to entice workers. Pending…continue reading →

Say Hello to a New Kind of Credit Score – UltraFICO

Experian, FICO, and Finicity are developing an "UltraFICO" score to improve access to financial products for borrowers with low credit score or short credit histories. This will be achieved by letting the borrowers share checkings and savings account data to help lenders better assess risk. Why an "UltraFICO" Score? After all, what is wrong with a FICO score (without the ultra)!! "This changes the whole dynamic of the lender and customer relationship," said Jim Wehmann, executive vice president, Scores, at FICO.  "It empowers consumers to have greater control over the information that is being…continue reading →

Mortgage Rate Recap For Week Ending October 19th and Outlook for Week of October 22, 2018

The overview for the week is that housing markets are weakening, growth in wages continues to be below expectations, and Saudi Arabia is in a negative spotlight over the killing of a critic of the Saudi Crown Prince. The stock market is experiencing significant volatility, which saw a gain of 547 points in the DJIA on Tuesday (half of the prior week's loss), but losses on Wednesday and today total 14 points more than the gain on Tuesday. So on top of last weeks -1007, the DJIA is down another 65 points so…continue reading →

What You Need to Know Before You Start Investing in Real Estate

Learning about real estate investing can be a complicated process. However, a simple overview of the basics is the best way to get started. You’ll have a useful framework if you begin by understanding: The value of leverage Tax Benefits Depreciation We’re going to cover each of these in this blog post, beginning with the value of leverage. As you read, be aware that you’ll need to identify your ultimate purpose and long-term goal for investing in real estate. Knowing this will help you make decisions on properties to invest in by determining…continue reading →

Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If you purchased a home with less than a 20% down payment, or you’re about to, you’re familiar with Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI is an ‘evil villain’ in the eyes of family and friends who’ll likely tell you to “avoid it at all costs.” But in reality, PMI is a good thing. It’s a tool that lets you buy a home without saving for a down payment for years by offering an insurance policy to the lender in case you stop paying your mortgage. The borrower (homeowner) pays the monthly insurance premiums…continue reading →

Mortgage Rate Recap and Outlook For Week Ending September 28, 2018

The Federal Reserve raised the Fed Fund overnight rate by one-quarter percent yesterday, as predicted. Commentary by Fed President Powell also indicted another increase will come at their December meeting. The markets expected this rate increase so minimal movement in the markets as a result. Further based on the commentary released from the Fed meeting yesterday, going forward the Federal Reserve Board is going to be more reactive and sensitive to market changes. Given this strategy, it's difficult to predict the timing of future rate hikes over the next two years. The Fed…continue reading →

Why You Should Not Use APR to Compare Loans

Everyone in the market for a mortgage loan thinks comparing the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) from competing mortgage companies is the way to choose the best loan. And it’s all wrong. At best, trying to understand what APR means and using it to find the best loan adds unnecessary confusion to the process of finding the right lender. And in the worse case, it gives you incorrect information. Here’s a simple explanation of what APR is, why it exists, and why it may not be helpful in choosing your mortgage. The Annual Percentage…continue reading →

Mortgage Rate Recap and Outlook For Week Ending September 21, 2018

Mortgage rates have increased for the last three weeks, and there's a strong likelihood that they will continue on that path for the foreseeable future, and definitely for the next week. Earlier in the week, there was a sell-off in the market which was justifiable - so no correction is expected. The Fannie Mae 4% coupon is now at it's highest price in several years. Other significant economic data released was Jobless Claims 4-week moving average coming in at a new 50-year low; national median home price, now $264,800, makes 78 straight months…continue reading →

Is the Real Estate Market Changing in the Bay Area?

Only time will tell if the summers’ slowing sales in California are a momentary pause or a sign of a permanent change in the market. According to the latest data provided by CoreLogic, home sales barely increased for July 2018 above July 2017, following two months of lower home sales. The slowing volume of sales does not, however, mean that housing prices have dropped. In California, home prices are volatile from month to month, with July 2018 prices dropping 0.8% over June 2018. However, when compared year to year, prices are up, and…continue reading →