All this week the City of Roseville is doing nightly events as part of its Downtown Holiday Celebration…
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), overseer of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSE’s), has decided to leave the maximum loan limits for loans they guarantee unchanged for 2014. The maximum conforming loan limit will remain at $417,000.
As has been the case since 2008 some areas considered “high cost”, including most of California, are still exempt from the $417,000 ceiling with limits that range as high as $625,000 in higher priced counties in the Bay Area and Southern California.
For the greater Sacramento area (Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado County) the “High Balance Conforming” limit remains at $474,950. Unchanged for at least another year.
Earlier this year FHFA director Edward DeMarco made an announcement that he would like to reduce the limits for 2014 in some areas in an attempt to take the FHFA further out of the market and foster more investment from the private sector. Before that happened Congress protested the idea as harmful to homeowners and said that it would hurt the real estate market and economy before it has had a chance to fully recover from the crash of 2008 and recession that followed (and they were right about that). In addition to this DeMarco is on the way out and North Carolina US Congressman Mel Watt is nominated for the director’s job and he is seen as very pro-home-ownership, something that may well have made the FHFA decision easier.
We have a lot of buyers and sellers in Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Folsom, and El Dorado Hills this will affect (or won’t affect as the news is that the limits are not changing, but you get the point), very good news for people with at least a 10% down payment in the $500-800,000 price range. Likewise a good thing for people selling a home in that price range as well.
Senior Mortgage Advisor – 17 Years Experience
This month I am starting a new feature, Credit Corner with Jeff Sipes of local credit repair expert Blue Water Credit. Every month I will feature one of Blue Water’s most useful posts of the month on their website, with a link back to the story on their site so you can check out all they have to offer.
Online fraud is one of the fastest growing forms of crime, reaching epidemic proportions in a nexus of technology and cruel anonymity that defies international borders. The highest instance of fraud attempts are now aimed at businesses, violating their often-weak or nonexistent firewalls to access customer financial data, and using it with impunity.
In a recent report by IDology, 66% of organizations polled reported suspected online fraud attempts in the past 12 months, and 35% reported an increase in those numbers. As more and more consumers conduct commerce over the internet, and businesses adjust to the digital age reality that an online presence is more important than a retail store, the sharing – and potential misuse – of consumer information online is at an all time high.
In fact, 78% of attempted fraud violations occur in website applications, as savvy criminals commandeer your financial information, and then cash in with a customer-not-present business, which operates via telephone or online transactions.
Here are 10 common online scams to be wary of:
1. ScareWare Scams.
2. Hit man Email.
3. Fraudulent Links.
4. Inside Information Stock Scams.
5. Lottery Winner Scams.
6. Reshipping and Payment Processing Fraud.
7. Shopper Needed Check Fraud Scam.
8. Greeting Cards Scam.
9. Nigerian 419 Scam.
10. Phishing Scam.
For those of you not in the industry (and those of you no longer in the industry the last few years) this might not resonate with you but for those of us that are I’m sure you’ll get a laugh out of this!
P.S. Sorry I have not been posting regularly of late. I got out of the habit but am going to get back on regular posts right away. Too much good information out there to share! – Greg Cowart
What is an EEM and is it even relevant in the world of real estate in the Roseville/Rocklin area or greater Sacramento?
Any home built before 1994 should benefit from an Energy Efficient Mortgage. Why? Simple… The energy codes used up until 1993 are no longer industry standard. Mechanical systems, insulation levels, and water heaters are the main determining factor in a home’s energy consumption. Those installed before 1994 are less efficient, not to mention they are old! With the Energy Efficient Mortgage, you can renew and upgrade all the critical factors that determine the energy consumption of your home, and include the total cost in your home loan.
Personal consumption has increased along with energy costs. Today’s homes use electronics to manage almost everything, from ovens, microwaves and refrigerators, to DVRs, iPods, and tablet computers; not to mention all the battery chargers needed to keep them running. Though prices are relatively stable, we use almost 25% more electricity today than we did in 1993. Natural gas, however, is a different story. Most of Californians cook, heat their homes, and their water, with gas. Our consumption has increased a modest 10%, while the price has skyrocketed over 70%.
Simply stated, utility bills have become the second largest monthly expense of modern living, behind the mortgage or rent payment. An Energy Efficient Mortgage may lower both of these costs, definitely utility bills and overall monthly expenses.
There is plenty opportunity to take advantage of an Energy Efficient Mortgage for those looking for homes in Roseville/Rocklin or anywhere in the greater Sacramento market. Like most of the lesser-known special programs ignored by other lenders I’ve become THE local expert in the Energy Efficient Mortgage! Give me a call any time if you’d like more information.
Edward DeMarco, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), has stated the extremely popular HARP refinance program has been extended through 2015. This is good news as it will allow even homeowners to benefit from lower rates and payments.
Before this the program was set to expire at the end of this year.
We’ve talked about the HARP program before (here, here, and here). HARP allows some people with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance to today’s low rates even if they have little or no equity. Most of the time an appraisal isn’t even required. At first it didn’t help too many people but was expanded in 2012 as “HARP 2.0” to open it up to millions more homeowners and has now helped about 2.5 million people refinance that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
And, while the number of people underwater on their homes in the Sacramento area is going down every day, there are still many missing out on lower rates and payments because they think they will not qualify because they have little/no equity, or owe more than their homes are worth.
The program’s extension to 2015 also seems to take advantage of the Fed’s promise to keep interest rates low until at least mid-2015. Some experts estimate there is still somewhere between $2-2.5 TRILLION in mortgages out there that have not utilized HARP 2.0 yet that could benefit from the programs expanded guidelines that will allow them to access today’s lower rates and payments.
I have been doing these since the beginning and one of the great things about our banking platform is we don’t have all the underwriting “overlays” that many (if not most) other mortgage companies and banks have that make it hard to qualify for a HARP refinance. Many people find me after trying with thier current lender and calling around to other places with no luck. We usually get these done in short order even though others couldn’t because they add extra rules over the top of Fannie Mae’s guidelines that prohibit a lot of people from refinancing.
Please give me a call or e-mail if you have any questions about HARP or any of our other streamlined refinance programs.
Senior Mortgage Planner – 17 Years Experience
The amount of homes worth less than owed on their mortgage in the Sacramento area has continued to fall.
Just two years ago almost 50% were underwater and as recently as January 2012 over 40% were still underwater. Since then things have changed immensely. Looking at the immediate past, 4th quarter 2012 (data for the 1st quarter of 2013 is not yet available) there were only 32% in that same boat.
In the 4th quarter of last year, 32% or about 150,000, of all residential properties in the Sacramento region had a mortgage for more than their homes were worth. This is compared to 36%, or about 175,000 properties, in the previous quarter.
This is still a high number but that means about 25,000 homeowners in region now have equity when they didn’t have it just three months earlier.
The 1st quarter 2013 data is not available yet but there is no doubt in my mind there will be another dramatic change as property values are appreciating even more today than they were in the 2nd half of last year. My guess is when it is reported the number will be well under 30%. Not quite where we want it to be yet, but definitely headed in the right direction.
Three new bridges and a big change coming to Roseville, the Downtown Bridges Project.
The city is about to make some drastic changes to downtown and the Royer Park area. The main library bridge will be replaced with a new one, a new bridge will be built from the library to downtown Roseville, and the Oak Street bridge will be extended. Oh ya, and the firehouse will be graded as part of the project, connecting downtown Roseville with Royer Park.
The committee selected to choose which design plan (of a few) has recommended that the council choose Mark Thomas & Company’s plan because its design more closely matches the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration architecture called for in plans for downtown Roseville, as well as this design’s trail plans.
It won’t be until at least 2014 before construction begins but soon enough we will see a dramatically different downtown Roseville.
Greg Cowart II
This program, administered by the SHRA, only applies to those in the city and unincorporated portions of Sacramento County (so not available in Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Galt, Folsom, Rancho Cordova or Isleton) but it is a great deal for those that qualify in buying a home…
The CalHome Mortgage Assistance Program is a down payment assistance (DPA) program for low-moderate income buyers. The DPA equals a whopping 20% of the purchase price, up to $40,000!
The maximum purchase price is currently $199,000 and here are the income limits:
Please contact me if you have any questions about this fantastic program.
The ‘Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013’ has been (re)introduced in the US Senate. This bill’s aim is to help homeowners that are not otherwise eligible to refinance through another program (such as HARP or Home Affordable Refinance Program) to take advantage of today’s historically low rates.
Originally introduced last year by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) the bill did not have the support needed to move forward. If passed this time around it would direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require the same streamlined underwriting allowed under HARP for “same servicer” loans (refinancing with your current lender) to all lenders, leveling the playing field for all lenders.
The bill, if passed, will also extend HARP benefits to those that have 20% equity in their homes. Opening up a world of refinancing that had currently only be open to those with little to no equity (or negative equity). Currently homeowners that take advantage of the HARP program average about $2,500 in savings annually. This bill would also limit Fannie and Freddie from charging up-front fees to refinance any loan they currently guarantee. Lowering borrowing costs to deserving homeowners even further.
HARP loans currently use proprietary Automated Valuation Models, or AVMs, to determine home values without the need for slow and costly manual appraisals. However, borrowers who happen to live in communities without a significant number of recent home sales often cannot use these models and are forced instead to pay hundreds of dollars for a manual appraisal for a HARP refinance. This bill requires the Fannie and Freddie to develop additional streamlined alternatives to manual appraisals, eliminating a significant barrier and reducing cost and time for both homeowners and lenders.
HARP already requires the borrower has been current on their mortgage for at least 6 months, and has only been late (no more than 30 days) on a total of one payment for the 6 months before that, so there is no reason to require proof of employment or income for these loans. Especially since Fannie/Freddie already guarantees these loans, and lowering the monthly payment for these homeowners actually reduces the risk to Fannie/Freddie and the taxpayer. This bill eliminates employment and income verification requirements, further streamlining the refinancing process and removing unnecessary costs and hassle for lenders and borrowers alike.
The bill would also extend the expiration of HARP for an extra year, moving the date from 12.31.13 to 12.31.14.
The Congressional Budget office has analyzed the bill and determined that the bill more than pays for itself by reducing default rates on loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac already guarantee. As it does not add loans to the books, or allow homeowners to take cash out, there is literally no risk to the taxpayer. On top of that it would add billions of dollars of spendable/savable dollars into the US economy. Money that is currently going towards mortgage interest. It is a win-win.
According to the CBO, the bill pays for itself through reduced default rates on GSE loans, which saves taxpayers money.
~ Greg Cowart
Mortgage Consultant – 16 Years Experience
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