Friday, September 18, 2009

First Time Homebuyers

Time is running out to qualify for the first time home buyer tax credit of $8,000. If you are looking to take advantage of this program to quallify for free money from the government you better hurry!

This program will only be in effect until November 30th, 2009. Do not get left out of this program if you want to buy a house. Some houses can take months to purchase.

If you find a home and the house is a bank owned property, short sale or is currently being foreclosed on it could take months to get into the house. If you start the process today you will have a much better chance of getting into the home in time to qualify for the $8,000.

There is a lot of money on the table for you and there are great deals out there. You could not pick a better time to purchase a home!

Visit for all of your mortgage needs.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

HUD To Allow $8,000 Tax Credit To Become a Down Payment

Great news for first-time home buyers. Last week, Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stated that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is now going to permit it's lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8000 tax credit as a down payment. Previously, buyers had to wait to file their taxes to take advantage of the tax credit, which did not allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit when they needed it most – for the down payment.

By allowing buyers to utilize the tax credit as a down payment, money will now be freed up for the buyer that would otherwise be needed at closing. This will allow the first-time home buyer to save their money for a rainy day or for home improvements. Or it will allow the first time home buyer who does not have enough money for the down payment to access the $8,000 for the down payment.

This new development has the ability to bring thousands of new buyers into the market that would have otherwise has to wait to purchase a home.
This new program has the potential to stimulate the real estate market more than all of the other programs that are out there by attracting almost any first time home buyer that would like to buy a home.

If you are a first time home buyer you could not pick a better time to buy than right now. All of the stars are aligned for you. Interest rates are low, home prices are low and tax rebates are high. I wish I were a first time homebuyer right now! Sellers would have to give the home away for free for there to be a better deal. This is the absolute best time to be a first-time home buyer.

If you are a first-time home buyer, get out there and find your home before this tax credit is gone in November. The tax credit will expire on November 30th. BUY A HOME BEFORE THEN!

Check out for your mortgage needs.

Have a great Tuesday!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

105% Mortgage Refinance

Lenders are now announcing if they will offer the new Refi Plus program that was structured by FNMA to assist some homeowners who are faced with declining property values. The program details are now being announced, but some rules are clear.

First, the Refi Plus program targets those homeowners who have made their payments on time, are good risks, but simply cannot refinance to a lower rate because their appraised property value has declined. You can refinance your home up to 105% if its current value. Here are some highlights of the program:

Second mortgages cannot be paid off with this refinance. They must be subordinated, meaning that the holder of those 2nd liens must accept the fact that they will remain in the second position in regards to the prioritization on liens for payoff considerations.

These are credit qualifying loans. While details are still being announced, it appears that the minimum middle credit score must be 660.

Mortgage payment history must show no payments in excess of 30 days late in the past twelve months.

Debt-to-income Ratios – will be considered, so the total monthly credit debt for a borrower cannot exceed 45% of their gross monthly income.

Interest rates are considerably higher than the best rates offered, which makes sense when one realizes the excessive risk of a lender giving someone more money than the home is currently worth.

The existing mortgage must be owned now by FNMA. Curious if your loan may qualify? Visit and click on the window that says “Does Fannie Mae Own Your Mortgage?”

More information will follow over the next several days as program guidelines are interpreted, and interested homeowners should contact their current mortgage servicer to learn if they will offer this program.

Visit is you would like to apply for any type of mortgage.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is MERS?

MERS is a tiny data-management company created by mortgage lenders to save money on filing fess. Seems simple enough right? How could this become one of the major problems in the housing market today? Bankruptcy judges, foreclosure attorneys, and homeowners going through the process of bankruptcy or foreclosure are starting to find out! Only people working in the mortgage industry had heard of MERS before the collapse, now MERS is popping up everywhere.

Although the average person has never heard of it, MERS — short for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems — holds 60 million mortgages on American homes, through a legal maneuver that has saved banks more than $1 billion over the last decade but made life maddeningly difficult for some troubled homeowners. In case that slipped by you – 60,000,000 mortgages! I do not know how many mortgages there are all together but that is most of them!

MERS was created by lenders seeking to save millions of dollars on paperwork and public recording fees every time a loan changes hands, and all of you know how many times a mortgage changes hands. MERS is a confidential computer registry for trading mortgage loans. From an office in the Washington suburbs, it played an integral, if unsung, role in the proliferation of mortgage-backed securities that fueled the housing boom. But with the collapse of the housing market, the name of MERS has been popping up on foreclosure notices and on court dockets across the country, raising many questions about the way this controversial but legal process obscures the tortuous paths of mortgage ownership.

If MERS began as a convenience, it has, in effect, become a corporate cloak: no matter how many times a mortgage is bundled, sliced up or resold, the public record often begins and ends with MERS. In the last few years, banks have initiated tens of thousands of foreclosures in the name of MERS — about 13,000 in the New York region alone since 2005 — confounding homeowners seeking relief directly from lenders and judges trying to help borrowers untangle loan ownership. What is more, the way MERS obscures loan ownership makes it difficult for communities to identify predatory lenders whose practices led to the high foreclosure rates that have blighted some neighborhoods.

To a number of critics, MERS has served to cushion banks from the fallout of their reckless lending practices.

In an interview, the president of MERS, R. K. Arnold, said that his company had benefited not only banks, but also millions of borrowers who could not have obtained loans without the money-saving efficiencies it brought to the mortgage trade. He said that far from posing a hurdle for homeowners, MERS had helped reduce mortgage fraud and imposed order on a sprawling industry where, in the past, lenders might have gone out of business and left no contact information for borrowers seeking assistance.

About 3,000 financial services firms pay annual fees for access to MERS, which has 44 employees and is owned by two dozen of the nation’s largest lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. It was the brainchild of the Mortgage Bankers Association, along with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae, the mortgage finance giants, who produced a white paper in 1993 on the need to modernize the trading of mortgages.
At the time, the secondary market was gaining momentum, and Wall Street banks and institutional investors were making millions of dollars from the creative bundling and reselling of loans. But unlike common stocks, whose ownership has traditionally been hidden, mortgage-backed securities are based on loans whose details were long available in public land records kept by county clerks, who collect fees for each filing. The “tyranny of these forms,” the white paper said, was costing the industry $164 million a year.

Although several courts have raised questions over the years about the secrecy afforded mortgage owners by MERS, the legality has ultimately been upheld. The issue has surfaced again because so many homeowners facing foreclosure are dealing with MERS.

When foreclosures do occur, MERS becomes responsible for initiating them as the mortgage holder of record. But because MERS occupies that role in name only, the bank actually servicing the loan deputizes its employees to act for MERS and has its lawyers file foreclosures in the name of MERS.

The potential for confusion is multiplied when the high-tech MERS system collides with the paper-driven foreclosure process. Banks using MERS to consummate mortgage trades with “electronic handshakes” must later prove their legal standing to foreclose. But without the chain of title that MERS removed from the public record, banks sometimes recreate paper assignments long after the fact or try to replace mortgage notes lost in the securitization process.

This maneuvering has been attacked by judges, who say it reflects a cavalier attitude toward legal safeguards for property owners, and exploited by borrowers hoping to delay foreclosure.

Hopefully you will not have to deal with MERS!

Check out for your mortgage needs!

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Bankruptcy Bill - Could be a Huge Help to You

Not able to make your mortgage payments anymore? Are you considering filing for bankruptcy? If you are considering filing for bankruptcy keep an eye on the so-called "cramdown" bill. The bill, which is part of President Obama's housing plan and is making its way through Congress right now, would allow bankruptcy judges in Chapter 13 proceedings to reset the terms of certain mortgages so that more homeowners can keep their homes. The home must be a primary residence to qualify. Mortgages on rental properties or second homes will not qualify for this plan.

Currently, a Chapter 13 filing stops the foreclosure process and gives homeowners time to restructure their payments with their lender. But as the law stands right now, homeowner’s do not have the ability to alter the terms of their loans.

The passing of the “cramdown” bill would be a huge change…

Under the new bill, which has already been passed by the House of Representatives, the bankruptcy judge can reduce a homeowner’s principal balance as well as their interest rate. So let’s say that you have a $300,000 loan on a home whose value has fallen to $200,000. Under the new plan, a bankruptcy judge could eliminate $100,000 of the debt. Wouldn’t that be nice! It would be worth it to file bankruptcy just for this benefit!

Now - before you could qualify for a cramdown loan modification, you would have to show that you appealed to your mortgage lender for relief at least 15 days before you filed for bankruptcy. Easy enough right?
The plan will obviously help more people keep their homes, but the mortgage industry is not happy with the bill.

The mortgage industry opposes it because of concerns it will destabilize the housing market and lead to more bankruptcy filings. I agree with the mortgage industry that it will lead to more bankruptcy filings, but you cannot argue with homeowners who are paying on mortgage balances that are $100,000 - $200,000 more than the house is worth. There has to be some relief for these people. Let’s see what happens!

Check out for your refinance and purchase needs!

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FICO Offering Free Tool For Homeowners

Fair Isaac Corp. is offering Mortgage Recovery Initiative(MRI), a foreclosure prevention and management tool based on consumer credit behavior feedback. The tool was developed to help facilitate mortgage modifications and mitigate new delinquencies by reducing re-defaults and preventing foreclosures. Check out their website at The process is fairly simple and the best part about this service is that it is FREE! You can actually get some help that is easy and free.

The Minneapolis-based firm said MRI assists borrowers and lenders to be aware of and comply with the federal Making Home Affordable,, guidelines. MRI users can also contact program partners such as the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, a national network of HUD certified counseling agencies, Money Management International, a full-service credit counseling agency, and Equifax.

So if you are in need of some relief with your mortgage you have no reason not to check this website out. Sign up with their program and get some answers and some guidance.

If you just need a mortgage refinance or are looking to purchase a home check out

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obama Housing Fix Update

This is an update to my first article on Obama’s Housing Fix. On March 4th the government passed a housing bill aimed at reducing the number of foreclosures by helping homeowners lower their monthly payments through loan modifications and refinances.

Some banks and servicers are up and running with the new programs and some are still updating their systems to implement the changes. There are still portions of the bill that companies are waiting for clarification on. It may take a few more weeks for these companies to be ready to start taking applications for refinances and modifications. Just be patient. In the meantime the government has created a website that you can go to : . This website can help you figure out if you will qualify for the new programs that are being put into place.

Just because some of the banks or servicers are not completely ready to take on this program does not mean that you can’t call them. If your bank or servicer is not ready to start taking application they are most likely taking down names and numbers of the customers that call them to ask about the program. Then once they have the program in place they will return these customer’s calls.

The good news is that the four largest servicers in the country have agreed to participate in the program – Wells Fargo, CitiBank, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. This is huge! This means that most of the other banks will likely follow their lead. So help for you could be on the way!

A brief overview of the program is below – this was also in my first article:

Loan Modifications:

Mortgage companies will be reviewing requests from current customers who need to lower their monthly mortgage payments. The goal is to reduce your front end debt ratio to 31%. Your front end ratio is your first mortgage payment(principle, interest, taxes, insurances, mortgage insurance) divided by your gross monthly income. If your current front end raio is higher than 31% then the mortgage compnay will try a number of things to to reduce your monthly payment until it reached 31%.

1. They will reduce your interset rate to a low as 2%...if your front end ratio is still to high then
2. They will increase the term of your loan up to 40 years...if your front end ration is still to high then
3. They will defer some of the principle on your loan to the end of your mortgage term. This will create a balloon payment at the end of your mortgage term...if the front end ratio is still too high then
4. They can do priciple reduction on your loan. This means they will waive some of the balance on your loan. This principle reduction will not have to be repaid.

Mortgage Refinances:
The people who qualify for this will be:

1. Loans closed before January 1st, 2009
2. Owner occupied properties3. Loan to value of 105% or lower - the big change is here. Most people only qualify for a better rate if they are at 80% of lower right now.

Both of these programs offer incentives to the mortgage companies to participate in the program as well as incentives to the homeowners who keep their payments current.You can read some other articles regarding this reform at

Check out details of the new program at

If you need help with a refinance or a purchase check out and give us a call.

Happy Monday Everyone!