Delay in FHA Condominium changes for Bay Area

On 10/21 FHA via it's mortgagee letter announced delay in FHA condominium changes. This is what the letter mentioned: Implementation of FHA new policy guidance for condominium project approval and condo unit financing will be delayed until December 7th 2009.  The new guidance, to be issued within the next two weeks, will:  1) offer additional leniencies to address the difficult market conditions and 2) augment some portions of FHA Mortgagee Letter 2009-19, providing additional information and clarification. Until the new guidance takes effect on December 7th, 2009 lenders may continue to use the…continue reading →

FHA is changing guidelines for Condo in Bay Area

If you are planning to buy a Condo in San Jose or other parts of the Bay Area and planning to get an FHA loan keep reading. FHA has made some major changes to their condo guidelines and they go into effect as of Nov 2nd, 2009. Some of the highlights:
  • Currently lots of condominium projects in the bay area is approved by FHA. However, any project approved prior to October 1, 2008 loses it's pre-approval and must re-apply.To find a list of approved projects, visit the HUD linkhttps://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm. Make sure under approval method pick the option - "HRAP/DELRAP". Thats the new HUD review and approval process.
  • Spot approvals, where a project could be approved for an FHA loan even if the entire project was not approved by FHA, is not allowed anymore. And though some lenders will have the authority to do so, because of the enormous liability attached most likely they would refrain from doing it. Which means all project approvals will have to go to FHA directly.
That being the case, lets find out what are the FHA requirements for approving a condo project:
  1. No more than 30% of the units can have FHA financing
  2. >50% of the units must be owner-occupied.
  3. No single entity may own more than 10% of the units in a project
  4. No more than 15% of owners can be delinquent on their HOA dues.Also, no pending litigation against the HOA, it's officers or directors is allowed.
  5. The HOA must also provide evidence of the project's appropriate hazard, liability and flood insurance.
  6. For new constructions, at least 50% of the units in the project must have been sold.
  7. But in my opinion the deal breaker could be this condition - A current reserve study must be performed to assure the HOA has adequate funds available for the funding of capital expenditure and maintenance. With so many HOAs running into capital reserve issues recently, this condition alone could be the #1 reason why a lot of projects may not get approved.
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FHA announces changes to Streamline Refinancing for San Jose Homes

In it's announcement on Friday, FHA tightened the credit standards for it's Streamline Refinancing Program. So if you currently have an FHA loan on a San Jose home and want to refinance into another FHA loan, you will be subjected to new parameters starting January 1, 2010. Below are the highlights per FHA mortgagee letter issued on 9/18/2009. A.Seasoning At the time of loan application, the borrower must have made at least 6 payments on the FHA-insured mortgage being refinanced. B.Payment History 1)For mortgages with less than a 12 months payment history, the…continue reading →

FHA implementing HVCC for San Jose loans as of January 1, 2010

FHA is implementing HVCC for San Jose & rest of the Bay Area loans. Yes, it's finally happening. When I received the mortgagee letter yesterday from HUD, I must say I was stunned. Only few weeks back FHA commissioner had mentioned that he had no intention of implementing HVCC for FHA insured mortgages. But of all the changes that were announced to tighten the credit standards I personally think that this change is most critical and far-reaching. Here are the highlights:
  1. Mortgage brokers and commission based lender staff are prohibited from ordering appraisals. FHA does not require the use of Appraisal Management Companies or other third party providers, but does require that lenders take responsibility to assure appraiser independence. Irrespective of whether they call it HVCC or not in letter, in spirit it's exactly that.
  2. FHA appraisers are to be compensated at a rate that is customary and reasonable for appraisal services performed in the market area of the property being appraised. AMC's can add management fees to appraiser's compensation. If I understand this correctly, this is good news for Appraisers since they will be not be compensated less. However, the borrowers will end up paying higher since they will also have to cover for AMC's management fees on top of appraiser's fees. (more…)

First HVCC, then MDIA & now DRASTIC changes to FHA Guidelines

Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which insures lenders against losses on home mortgages, announced a series of changes that will have far-reaching impact on the housing market of San Jose, the entire San Francisco Bay Area and rest of the country. Background - The agency confirmed that, as of Sept. 30, it would fall short of a legal requirement that it maintain supplementary reserves of 2% of the loans it insures. Those reserves supplement a fund that provides for projected claims over the next 30 years. The extra capital cushion last year was about 3%, down from 6.4% in 2007. Falling reserves are because of higher claims that the FHA has been subjected to in last couple of years. The higher claims has come because of more defaults/delinquency on FHA Insured mortgages.The FHA earlier reported that in July 7.8% of the single-family mortgages it insured were 90 days or more overdue or in the foreclosure process, up from 6.6% a year earlier. For the second quarter, about 8% of all home mortgages were 90 days or more past due or in foreclosure, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association. To ensure that FHA rebuilds the cushion of 2% or higher, Commissioner David H. Stevens on Friday announced plans to implement a set of credit policy changes that will enhance the agency's risk management functions. Stevens also announced his intention to hire a Chief Risk Officer for the first time in the FHA's 75-year history.
Commissioner Stevens said "To be clear, the fund's reserves are sufficient to cover our future losses, so the FHA will not require taxpayer assistance or new Congressional action. That said, given the size and scope of the FHA and its importance to today's market, these risk management and credit policy changes are important steps in strengthening the FHA fund, by ensuring that lenders have proper and sufficient protections."
Good News for First Time Buyers - Mr. Stevens said tighter credit standards would suffice to rebuild the cushion to 2% or more, and that the FHA wouldn't need to raise the premiums borrowers pay or seek an increase in its minimum down-payment requirement of 3.5%. (more…)

FHA Streamline Refinance for Bay Area Residents

How to get FHA to FHA refinance with no Appraisal, Income or Credit verification If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or rest of California state and if you currently have an FHA loan, you may be eligible for an FHA streamline refinance. This can help you lower your mortgage payment and mortgage rate. It could also help you move into a 30 year fixed loan from an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). And unlike a typical refinance, an FHA Streamline Loan doesn't require Appraisal, Income or Credit verification. This is arguably the easiest loan process out there. So how do you qualify for and what are the requirements for an FHA Streamline Refinance?
  • Your current mortgage must be an FHA Loan. Else your options are limited to going through a standard refinance which requires Income, Asset, Credit verificationn and also an appraisal.
  • Maximum Loan Amount is based on the lower of:
  1. Original Principal Balance, or
  2. The sum of existing mortgage balance (FHA Insured), Closing Cost, Pre-Paids to establish the impound account minus any up front mortgage insurance premium refund
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FHA Loan Requirements in San Jose & Bay Area

If you are a First Time HomeBuyer in San Jose or the rest of San Francisco Bay Area, you would have most likely heard of FHA loans. But like most of the other potential First Time HomeBuyer I meet and advise, you may not be sure whether you qualify for FHA mortgage or not. Below I have mentioned some of the major requirements that you should know of: Maximum Loan Amount - Varies by county. For Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties it is $729.750. This loan amount…continue reading →

6 Myths of FHA Loans – What’s True What’s Not!

Though FHA Loans now represent more than 30% of mortgages, there are still a lot of misconceptions that both real estate agents and the borrowers have about this program. All the myths that I have listed below have been raised to me numerous times. I finally decided to post a blog on this so that I can clarify this to a much larger audience. 1. It takes longer to close an FHA Loan- Towards the 2nd half of last year when FHA loans started exploding, most of the lenders were caught off guard. They did not have enough trained underwriters to take decisions on the loans that were being sent their way. That resulted in longer turn times for FHA loans. Within months, lenders realized that this was soon becoming the fastest mortgage product on the block. Since then they have staffed themselves adequately on the FHA underwriting side and hence it's not atypical anymore for FHA loans to close in 30 days or less. (more…)

FHA Vs. Conventional Loans – Which one is better?

FHA Loan vs Conventional Loan - which one is better? I was speaking at an FHA seminar for real estate agents in Fremont, CA recently. The topic was "How FHA loans are playing a big part in qualifying more First Time Home Buyers". At the end of the presentation, I was asked this question - "Are FHA loans really better than conventional". I had similar questions asked by Buyers and Real Estate agents in other forums in San Jose and rest of the San Francisco Bay Area too. There is no black & white answer to it - because it all depends on your situation. Below, I have compiled a table to compare the loan features of both the programs. As you would see depending on your specific situation, either one could be better. ** Since I wrote this post FHA Up front Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP) requirements have changed** (more…)

FHA allows $8000 tax credit for down payment in San Jose

But can you really use it? Not so fast.... Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced today that the first time home buyer credit of $8000 can be used as down payment in San Jose & rest of the Bay Area. If you are a first time buyer with limited down payment and you are the type who doesn't read fine prints, it certainly is a great news. But I have my reservations - some serious ones. I see some very basic issues with the announcement which would either delay the implementation or may have…continue reading →