Low Appraisal Challenges in a Newly Inclining Real Estate Market

After half a decade of falling home values, the real estate industry has become well versed in the language of declining markets. Buyers have learned to be skeptical, buyers’ agents have sharpened their teeth advocating for lower purchase prices and appraisers have become increasingly conservative in order to meet the demands of an equally conservative lending industry. Enter: 2012 Twin Cities Real Estate Market. New to the scene and largely forgotten by all arrives a balanced market which quickly reveals itself as an inclining market. This new market was initially greeted with skepticism and disbelief by much of the real …

Fannie Mae and Freddie Make Mac Move to NO Loan to Value Limit Loans on HARP

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). This program was designed to be able to help people who were in a position of negative equity. Now, it someone is upside down on their home, there will be no limit to how far upside down they are in order to qualify for these loans. This program will continue to be available to borrowers with loans sold to the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009 with current loan-to-value (LTV) ratios …

FHA’s Short Refi Program

The FHA Short Refinance Program has always existed in an unofficial form but became a formal program on December 16, 2009 with Mortgagee Letter 09-52.  It was “refined” on August 6th of 2010 with Mortgagee Letter 2010-23.  It was designed to provide more mortgage options to those that owe more than their house is worth.  There are many requirements for this loan but for most borrowers who are upside down on their home and have good credit; these criteria are likely to be met with the cooperation of the existing lenders about to be paid off. For these transactions to …

So HVCC is Over? – Nope, it Still Lives On – Fannie Mae’s Appraisal Policy Broken Down

Breaking Down Fannie Mae’s Appraisal Rules Have you heard of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC)? If you are a lender or Realtor, of course you have. What I wanted to do with this post is breakdown Fannie Mae’s policy now that HVCC has expired. Basically the Code lives on and has been slightly rewritten from the original. Unlike HVCC, Fannie’s policy has the force of law behind it. This new policy is clearly illustrated in Fannie Mae’s Appraiser Independence Requirements, Fannie, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Finance Agency and others developed this specifically to replace HVCC. So whether …

Seller Contributions Towards Closing Costs on a Home Purchase

Doesn’t the Seller Pay for All of Our Closing Costs? We all have to remind buyers that they are responsible to pay the required down payment percentage (3.5% for FHA or 3-10% etc for Conventional) AND their closing costs/pre-paids too. Even if you stipulate that the sellers contribute towards “closing costs and pre-paids” in the purchase agreement it may not cover ALL of those fees. If you want a smooth purchase transaction make sure that you ask your favorite mortgage guy if there is a NEED to try to get all/most of the closing costs/pre-paids included with the offer. It …

A home inspection. . . . What’s that all about?

A home inspection is a limited, non-invasive examination of the condition of a home, often in connection with the sale of that home.An inspector will check the roof, basement, heating system, water heater, air-conditioning system, structure, plumbing, electrical, and many other aspects of buildings looking for improper building practices, those items that require extensive repairs, items that are general maintenance issues, as well as some fire and safety issues.However, it should also be noted that a home inspection is not technically exhaustive and does not imply that every defect will be discovered. A general list of exclusions include but are …

Short Sales DO NOT Require a Delinquent Mortgage – “Imminent Danger of Default”

Clearly, many if not most short sales involve a loan presently in default. As well, many times a short sale might involve a current borrower who can currently afford the payment. In several other situations, a seller may be “just hanging on” and the smallest thing could put them irreparably behind on their loan. Welcome to “eminent danger of default.” In a hardship letter for a short sale (also known as short payoff), if a borrower/seller is currently not in default but can justifiably make the case that it is nearly unavoidable despite their willingness if circumstances were otherwise, they …

What’s the difference between pursuing bank-owned properties vs. short sale properties?

Understanding the differences between these two forms of distressed sales is critical to writing winning offers and paving the road to a successful closing. Perhaps more importantly, understanding their differences will mean that you’ll get the best deal possible on your purchase. A bank-owned property (often referred to as a “foreclosure” or “REO”) is a home which has been taken by the bank. In this case, the foreclosure process has concluded and the property is now owned “free and clear” by the lender. Making an offer on a on a bank-owned property is relatively simple in that response times are …

Converting a Primary Residence into a Second Home or Investment Property

You may not be familiar with the term “buy and bail” but lenders are. And if you’re not familiar you may be very surprised when a lender denies your loan when you try to convert your primary, current residence into a second home or rental.  That is, unless you stumbled upon this blog.  First let’s talk about conventional loans (those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.) If you are applying for a conventional loan, the guidelines are as follows: Borrowers who currently own their own home typically have three (3) options when they decide to purchase a new Primary …

Contract for Deed (CD) – Preparing for a Real Mortgage

I’m going to explore with you some ideas on how to structure a contract for deed when buying a home so that when it comes times to ditch the CFD and refinance into a regular mortgage you can choose your path.  First thing you should consider is an attorney to assist in writing up the CFD.  For those of you that don’t believe “if there is a will — there is an attorney”, then try this for some tips on protecting yourself when writing up the CFD. Most people that are buying using a CFD have either have damaged credit …

10 Home Renovations That Don’t Necessarily Add Value

Some people assume that all renovations done to the home will add value.   As a matter of fact most people spend thousands of dollars on expensive upgrades and renovations over a period of time. What these people forget is that the next owner may not like the renovations.  Everybody needs to remember that your home is only worth that of homes of comparable size are appraised at, not necessarily by the characteristics of your home.  Yes, some qualities are highly sought after like garages, finished basements, enclosed yards or large kitchens but you need that certain buyer to appreciate them. …

What is a HO-6 Policy?

An HO-6 policy is insurance covering the interior of a condominium.  In most cases, the association’s master policy does not cover the interior and only applies to common areas.  By “interior” we mean: carpet, cabinets, drywall, fixtures, and doors, upgrades, personal liability, and personal property. For this reason alone, an HO-6 can be well worth the low cost of $15-$30 per month.  But for many home buyers, an HO-6 policy is a precondition for underwriting approval.   Under the new lending rules, an HO-6 insurance policy must provide coverage for no less than 20% of the condominium unit’s appraised value.   A …

Minnesota Home Prices Headed for a Double Dip? – Don’t Believe the Hype

If you’ve been watching the evening news or reading what’s been coming off the press, you might be thinking that the sky is about to fall on Minnesota home prices. You’ll hear a lot of doom and gloom and a lot about the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. I assure you that the media will not do an adequate job of explaining what this does and more importantly does not mean to you as a Minnesotan. Since the great recession hit, metropolitan areas have increased in home values 3 percent from their lows. There were 5 major metropolitan areas that bucked …

Wanna Be a Good Mortgage Applicant? . . Then it’s Time to Get Naked!

Qualifying for a Mortgage, we went from one extreme to the next!  3 years ago, if you had a social security number, stated your income and ordered an appraisal (with practically a stated value), you were good to go. Today, when The Mortgage Lady meets with a potential client, one of the opening statements is “we are going to be required to document your documents” and, ask them to not be insulted when the investor has conditions that are beyond what they would expect. We live in a country where our justice says, we are innocent until proven guilty, everyone …

Fannie Mae Guideline Changes – Gifts, 97% Financing and Mortgage Insurance

There has been some recent excitement about Fannie Mae (FNMA) changing her guidelines on down payments and allowing gift funds as an acceptable form of down payment in lieu of a borrower’s own funds. Before we all get excited about FNMA getting a little FHA in her with respect to gift funds, we need to realize that the guidelines for mortgage insurance and FNMA are not aligned. So long as they aren’t, this change will only have minimal effect. This chart outlines the new accepted forms of down payment from FNMA’s perspective: Here’s the Fannie definition of acceptable donors for …

FHA vs. Fannie Flex 97 for Low Down Payment Buyers

For those of you who are such industry dinosaurs that you remember how to do a FLEX 97 loan with Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI), you’re in luck because, aside from 95% conventional with single premium financed mortgage insurance (SPMI), the time has come where this is the best high loan-to-value product for purchases. Soon, allowable seller concessions for FHA loans will be lowered from six percent to either four or three percent. When that happens, there will nearly no instance where FHA is superior to this loan product choice.  Take a 200000 dollar purchase for a buyer with a …

Home Values…You Got It, Your Home Is NOT Worth What You Thought.

I’m certainly not an appraiser or an expert on home values, but being in the biz as long as I have, I do have a fairly good understanding of appraised home values and the ever restrictive lending requirements behind it. For many who have had an appraisal done in the past year or so, may be able to attest to this blog’s title.  The appraisal was done and you were shocked that the value came in so low. “But I just spent $25,000 for this beautiful landscaping!” In this day and age, that is called over-improved.  You just spent a lot of money that did …