Mortgage Blog

Want to improve your credit? Check out these four ways to do so here
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on January 19th, 2018 8:26 AM
I was searching some great tips for 2018 and came across a USA Today story on 13 questions to ask when getting a mortgage and the answers you want to hear.

These are some great points to ask. Click here to reach more about it.
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on January 1st, 2018 4:01 PM
2017 is close to coming to an end. Every years seems like it goes quicker and quicker. I read this great article on 5 things to do for taxes before 2017 ends at Motley Fool. Hope you can benefit from these. Check out the article here.
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on December 27th, 2017 12:58 PM
What will the tax plan mean for the average Arizona homeowner?

We are fielding many calls about what the tax plan means for Arizonians? Personally for homeowners in AZ it won't change much with mortgages.

Two important factors that many homeowners are asking are:
  1. Can I still deduct my interest on my home?
  2. Can I deduct my tax bill on my home?
We are not giving out any tax advice, but for the most part majority of Arizona families will still be able to do these two important factors.

You can read more about this with a recent CNN news article. Click here for more info.
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on December 17th, 2017 11:38 AM
Feds just raised the prime rate. What does that mean for mortgage rates?

Whenever the Feds raise the prime rate like they did the other day, I get many calls if mortgage rates also increased. There is no direct correlation between the two. However, when the Feds raise the rates it is an indication that the economy is doing better, which in turn will have an eventually impact on mortgage rates.

Check out this great article from USA Today on the impact of mortgage rates and other items that will increase. Click here
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on December 15th, 2017 5:52 AM
Exciting News for 2018 on Mortgage Loan Limits!!

Just Announced!

Conforming Loan Limits going from $424,100 to $453,100

VA Loan Limits going from $424,100 to $453,100

FHA Loan Limits going from $279,450 to $294,515

Read more here
Posted in:New for 2018 and tagged: mortgage loan limits
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on December 15th, 2017 5:41 AM
Housing Industry Wins Higher Mortgage Limits

By Phil Mattingly - Nov 17, 2011 10:01 PM MT .

The final compromise to secure higher limits for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration by lawmakers, which dropped a similar increase to loans backed by mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, represents a mixed victory for the housing industry. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg
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The U.S. housing industry has scored a victory with House and Senate votes to raise the size of mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration to $729,750.

The measure split Republicans, many of whom supported retaining the lower limit of $625,500. As a result, efforts to restore the higher limit fell short until the Senate attached an increase to a package of spending bills that were passed yesterday by both the House and Senate.

The higher FHA limit is expected to become law after the president signs the spending measures, which he must do by the end of today to avoid a government shutdown.

“Restoring the higher loan limits for the FHA will provide homeowners and homebuyers with safe and affordable financing, while providing a much-needed boost to housing markets all around the country,” James W. Tobin, chief lobbyist for the National Association of Home Builders, wrote in a Nov. 16 letter to Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.

Lawmakers who backed higher limits said withdrawing federal support could further undermine a housing market still struggling to recover from the 2008 credit crisis.

The final compromise, which dropped a similar increase to loans backed by mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, represents a mixed victory for the housing industry.

While the increase to $729,750 is expected to spur some additional homebuying, it’s not clear by how much. FHA loans make up a smaller share of the market than those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

5.3 Million Homes

Still, the measure was fully embraced by trade groups for homebuilders and realtors. The National Association of Homebuilders has estimated that 5.3 million homes lost their eligibility for conforming loans when the higher limits expired on Oct. 1. Nearly 670 counties saw their loan limits decline, according to the National Association of Realtors.

On the other side were a number of interest groups that push for free-market policies and against government support to the housing market. Those groups, which include the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America, play a large role in the House Republican conference and can influence campaign funding for the next election.

Republicans backed by the groups thought efforts to increase the loan limits had been defeated earlier this year, particularly when the White House announced support for allowing them to go back down to pre-crisis levels.

‘Completely Bizarre’

“This is completely bizarre that the Congress would be to the left of this president on housing finance,” Representative Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview.

House Republicans who opposed the provision seized on the FHA’s annual actuarial report released earlier this week, which said the agency has a 50 percent chance of needing to seek taxpayer aid to bolster its insurance fund.

The FHA, which provides liquidity by protecting lenders against borrower defaults, has increased its share of the mortgage market in the wake of the credit crisis. The agency, created in 1934 during the Great Depression, now guarantees a third of U.S. mortgages, according to the report.

The House-passed legislation, approved in a 298-121 vote, was opposed by 101 members of the House’s Republican majority, some of whom said they opposed the measure primarily because of the loan-limit increase.

Representative John Campbell, a California Republican who pushed for the increase, called the compromise on the provision “just a bad deal.” Campbell said he would have preferred that lawmakers boost the limit for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over raising the FHA limit.

‘Short-Term Fix’

“I’m glad something got done, but because they got it backwards, this will be a much more short-term fix than I would have hoped,” Campbell said in an interview.

The Senate followed the House’s lead a few hours later, voting 70-30 to clear the measure for Obama’s signature. The provision was once again cited by several Republicans as a reason for their opposition.

“Raising the loan limits at FHA only, an unprecedented move, will simply drive more business into Ginnie Mae securities and put the FHA at even greater risk of losses to taxpayers,” Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, said yesterday. “If we cannot even take this simple step, we risk crowding out the private sector for years to come.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net

 


 


 

Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on November 18th, 2011 9:33 AM
Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on November 17th, 2011 6:54 PM

WASHINGTON – Buying a home is about to get cheaper for a whole new crop of homebuyers — $6,500 cheaper.

First-time homebuyers have been getting tax credits of up to $8,000 since January as part of the economic stimulus package enacted earlier this year. But with the program scheduled to expire at the end of November, the Senate voted Wednesday to extend and expand the tax credit to include many buyers who already own homes. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.

Buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years would be eligible for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time homebuyers — or anyone who hasn't owned a home in the last three years — would still get up to $8,000. To qualify, buyers in both groups have to sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30.

"This is probably the last extension," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a former real estate executive who championed the credits.

The homebuyers tax credit is one of two tax breaks totaling more than $21 billion that the Senate included in a bill extending unemployment benefits for those without a job for more than a year. The other would let companies now losing money recoup taxes they paid on profits earned in the previous five years.

"We are still in a world of economic hurt, and Congress must continue to act boldly and creatively," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "With the right mix of tax breaks and investments we will get through this recession and get folks working again."

The real estate industry has been pushing to extend and expand the housing tax credit. About 1.4 million first-time homebuyers have qualified for the credit through August. The National Association of Realtors estimates that 350,000 of them would not have purchased their homes without the credit.

Extending and expanding the tax credit for homebuyers is projected to cost the government about $10.8 billion in lost taxes. While the measure passed the Senate by a 98-0 vote, Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., questioned its efficiency in stimulating home sales.

"For the vast majority of cases, the homebuyer tax credit amounted to a free gift since it did not affect their decision to purchase a home," Bond said. "And for the small minority of buyers whose decision was directly caused by the credit, this raises the question of whether we are subsidizing buyers who may not have been able to afford buying a home in the first place."

The credit is available for the purchase of principal homes costing $800,000 or less, meaning vacation homes are ineligible. The credit would be phased out for individuals with annual incomes above $125,000 and for joint filers with incomes above $225,000.

The credit would be extended an additional year, until June 30, 2011, for members of the military serving outside the United States for at least 90 days.

Expanding the tax credit for money-losing companies is projected to cost $10.4 billion.

The business tax break would allow money-losing companies to use current losses to offset taxable profits earned in the previous five years, giving them refunds of taxes paid in those years. Under current law, businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $15 million can claim losses back only two years.

The tax break would help industries suffering losses in 2008 or 2009, including retailers, homebuilders and newspapers. Congress included a scaled-back version of the tax break — for companies with revenues of $15 million or less — in the economic recovery package enacted in February. The new tax break would be available to companies of any size, providing a quick source of cash.

The U.S Chamber of Commerce has been a big backer of the tax break for money-losing companies.

"It frees up capital that they can use to maintain jobs and potentially even hire new people as the economy returns," said Caroline Harris, senior tax counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The tax breaks would be paid for largely by delaying a tax break for multinational companies that pay foreign taxes. It was passed in 2004 and originally was to have taken effect this year, but would now be delayed until 2018.

Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on November 5th, 2009 10:02 AM

The new rules of mortgage lending

Shopping for a home loan? Things have changed - here's what you need to consider.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you're shopping for a mortgage these days, it's a whole new world out there.

"There have been a huge number of changes over the past few years in mortgage borrowing," said Gibran Nicholas, founder of the CMPS Institute, which trains and certifies mortgage advisors.

Of course, many of the subprime loans that helped fuel the housing boom - those that didn't require borrowers to show any proof of income, or that let homeowners make minimum payments - are are simply no longer available.

But even buyers looking for a traditional mortgage are now faced with different factors to consider.

Here is what you need to know:

Paying up-front points. Borrowers can pay points - one-time, up-front fees - in order to reduce their mortgage's interest rate over the life of the loan. One point represents 1% of the mortgage value.

But they often assume that they should never pay points, according to Alan Rosenbaum, founder of mortgage broker Guardhill Financial. That's a mistake, in his opinion.

When interest rates were high, paying points didn't make sense because borrowers were very likely to refinance after rates dropped. They wouldn't hold their original loans long enough to recoup their up-front costs.

But now borrowers can get a lot more bang for their buck. The old rule of thumb was that paying one point at closing could lower their mortgage's interest rate by a quarter percentage point or so.

"Today the spread is worth a half point to a full point on the rate," said Rosenbaum.

It means paying $2,000 on a $200,000 mortgage at closing can shave as much as a whole percentage point off the loan's interest rate, changing a 6% loan to 5%.

That would save $126 a month, and pay for itself in 16 months. Even if the rate were only lowered to 5.5%, that would still save $64 a month, paying for itself in 32 months.

Still, not everyone is convinced. Rosenbaum recently had a client who chose a 15-year fixed rate loan at 5.875% with zero up-front points on a $800,000 loan, instead of paying a point to get a 5.375% loan.

Had the borrower chosen to pay that point, he would have recouped that cost in about three years, and then gone on to save more than $200 a month for the remaining 12 years of the loan.

Of course, there are caveats. Buyers who are planning to refinance or sell within a few years shouldn't pay points, since the strategy simply doesn't pay in the short term.

Making more than the minimum down payment. If you can afford to put 25%, 30% or more down, should you do it?

Most lenders require a minimum down payment of 20%; anything less and borrowers will need to obtain private mortgage insurance.

And if a buyer could afford to put more than 20% down, it was generally assumed that they should.

The traditional thinking was, "If you have the capital to commit, why not?" said Keith Gumbinger of mortgage research firm HSH Associates. "It will give you a smaller balance to pay off. But now, in light of declining home markets, not everyone would agree with that."

High down payments can be wiped out in severely declining markets.

Nicholas said he knows of a couple in Arizona who put a whopping $400,000 down on a million dollar house a couple of years ago. That gave them, they thought, a nice home equity cushion should they run into financial trouble.

"But prices are down so much, the couple still fell underwater," he said. "It would have been better to conserve that cash in case home prices continue to decline."

Locking in the mortgage rate. Many borrowers choose not to lock in when rates are falling, as they have been, since they assume that the deals will only get better.

But that's often a mistake.

"We almost always recommend that if you have the numbers that make your deal work, then lock it in," said Gumbinger.

His reason: Interest rates tend to jump up much faster than they inch down, meaning that buyers are much more likely to get stuck with a higher mortgage rate than they are to get lower one because they waited.

Besides, locking in at the currently very affordable rates can give borrowers peace of mind, which is no small matter when you're trying to buy a house.

"You'll sleep better at night," said Gumbinger. To top of page

Posted in:General
Posted by Jeremy Schachter - Mortgage Advisor MLO 148435 on February 4th, 2009 4:23 PM

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