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Greg Cowart on Zillow
Greg Cowart - Mortgage Broker or Lender at Paramount Equity Mortgage
Greg Cowart - Roseville Loan Guy

New Placer County Tax Website

It was just pointed out to me by a local Realtor (thank you for all the great info you provide on a regular basis, Jen) that Placer County has updated their tax bill website…


Placer County Tax Bill Search

For any of your property tax bill needs in Roseville, Rocklin, or anywhere in Placer County here is your starting point. Of course you can always call me or your favorite real estate professional and have us do the research for you.

Greg Cowart
(916) 412-3313

More mortgage payments being made on time since before recession

This has been a popular subject on this site, I’ve often discussed it in a way that flies in the face of what the conventional media has been pushing for the last few years; the rate of mortgage delinquencies nationwide has decreased to its lowest level in the last six years (since “pre-crash”).

mortgage-paidIn the 4th quarter of 2013 the percentage of homeowners at least 60 days late on their mortgages had dropped to under 4.0%. Marking two straight years of quarterly improvements and the first time this metric has been sub-4% since 2008.

The level is still too high, with most economists preferring it be under 2% in a normal market, but improvement is improvement. And steady improvement is even better!

But real estate is always local, right? Indeed, for the most part that is true, and in California our rate is 3.06% for Q4 2013! Beating the national average by quite a bit and putting us nearly in the normal range and at one of the lowest mortgage delinquency rates of any of the 50 states. The rate in the Roseville/Rocklin/Lincoln area is even lower, well within the historically normal range.

Looking forward? As we’ve discussed many times here, less delinquent accounts = less foreclosures in the future. This is why I was telling everyone that was so scared of the media’s boogeyman of the last half decade, “shadow inventory,” that they have nothing to worry about. It didn’t exist and, while the foreclosure problem looked as scary as could be in 2010-2012, the fact late payments were on the decline told us that distressed sales in the future were also going to decline.

Couple that with the FACT that mortgages of the last 5 years have been of MUCH higher credit quality (no more people that couldn’t buy homes could anymore, and are therefore less likely to default), we see an ever-improving real estate market that should stand on its own after years of being propped up by Washington.

Put this one in the win column!

SOURCE: TransUnion Data

Greg Cowart
Senior Mortgage Consultant – 18 Year’s Experience
Paramount Equity

(916) 412-3313

Creative financing options to increase the odds of getting your offer accepted

(especially in the ultra-hot Roseville and Rocklin real estate markets)

This is a GREAT tip for buyers out there right now…

If you are out there looking at homes and making offers in this market, especially in the Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Granite Bay, or Folsom areas, you know we’re seeing home sellers having a large number of offers to choose from. Likewise they are choosing the best offer they have and the odds of getting a seller credit towards closing costs aren’t as high as they have been from 2008-early 2013. Especially on the hottest, multi-offer properties…

Unfortunately, the reality is many buyers simply can’t pay their own closing costs.  Or can they?

With a little bit of creative financing you can have the winning offer AND also have your closing costs paid for!

On a $349,000 purchase you can simply bump up the rate a little and have us (or any lender really) give you a rebate towards closing costs. If today’s 30 year FHA rate is 4.0% (this is not a rate quote, rates change every day) it would be as easy as taking a 4.25% rate and getting as much as 1% of a lender rebate to pay for all your closing costs.

In this scenario the buyer’s payment only went up by $48 but they got a $3,490 lender credit to cover closing costs and their offer was accepted! In all reality who can argue with a 4.25% rate anyways, especially if it saved $3,500 up front which, if you didn’t have saved for closing, you may not have been able to have your offer accepted anyways.

The same idea can work with pretty much any loan. Putting down 10% and going conventional? It may be possible to make this work too, rather than asking for a seller credit on a property you know will have multiple offers. 

This is how we do it… Get you financed but also get you the home you want instead of someone else having their offer accepted. If you have more than enough for down payment and closing costs this is not really necessary, or advisable, but for those that don’t this is another tool to get your offer noticed and increase the likelihood of being accepted.

Sincerely (your outside the box lender),
Greg Cowart

 (916) 412-3313

Lincoln still in play for USDA (100% financing)

Yep, that is right. The city of Lincoln, Ca is still eligible for 100% USDA financing.

Over the last two years USDA was supposed to change their eligible areas based on the 2010 US Census but the date of the new map’s going into effect keeps getting pushed back.  The most recent date for the change was Jan 16th, 2014 (it was also slated to change in October 2013, March 2013, and October 2012)…

USDA-mortgage-transWhat does this mean?

Well, it means if you want to buy in Lincoln, or any other city/area that will no longer be USDA-eligible once the new maps go into effect (Auburn being one of them), you now have until (at least) October 1st, 2014 to get into contract and have your lender get the application over to USDA.

For the map of eligible areas plug your subject address into this link on the USDA website and it will tell you if it is eligible or not (Lincoln, CA is 100% eligible as of the search I did today).

USDA Eligibility Map Lookup

If you would like to lookup what the future map looks like, whether it changes on October 1st, 2014 or if they push it back again, it is right here…

USDA Future Eligible Area Map Lookup

If you would like any assistance or would like to get prequalified for a USDA loan please give me a call. In my opinion it is one of the best loans out there, if you want to buy in a USDA-eligible area of course. 100% financing is allowed, it is government-backed so rates are on the lower-end (similar to FHA and VA in most cases), but it does not have the huge UFMIP and annual Mortgage Insurance premiums like FHA does (that makes FHA such an expensive loan in comparison to most other loans these days).

Lets say you are looking in the Northern part of Rocklin but can’t find anything in that your price-range or down payment availability will allow you to qualify for. 12 Bridges is right there and you may be able to (subject to minimum income/asset/credit requirements) buy with a lower down payment, or even none at all.


Greg Cowart
Senior Mortgage Consultant – 18 Years Experience
(916) 412-3313

I’ve moved (and its a good thing for both of us)

Yes, I decided to make a move. A few years ago I had found a home in Innerwork Mortgage right here in Roseville that was great for me and allowed me to service my clients and real estate partners as good as, if not better than, anyone else in the market. That was somewhat short-lived when Innerwork was bought out/merged with another company and we had to start all over.

I spent a year with the new, merged, company and for the most part it was good. At first anyways. After a while my ability to service my clients and partners was not up to my high standards and, try as I might to make the changes needed to make the system meet my standards, it just wasn’t happening. I gave it a full year and decided to should start talking to some other mortgage bankers to see if there was something that would suit me better and allow me to provide the kind of service I am known for and demand of myself.paramount-equity-8781-sierra-college-blvd-roseville-mortgage

After a long search, talking to and spending considerable time reviewing the operations and systems at more than 10 Roseville mortgage companies, I have found a new home! I am happy and proud to say I am the newest Mortgage Consultant at Paramount Equity as part of the ”Paramount Partners” Roseville branch!

Yep, the company with the radio ads…

I know many of you think of Paramount Equity only as a refinance-focused lender, and I thought the same thing as well, however nothing can be further from the truth (otherwise you know I would not have come on board here). Yes, saving families money through refinancing their mortgage is a big part of what Paramount Equity does, but at my branch we are more focused on purchase transactions, working with the local real estate community to support getting buyers into homes.

I will continue to focus on helping people purchase homes and support my real estate partners as I always have done. With a focus on great service and education to my clients, speed and efficient transaction, and transparency with the Realtors that are involved with the escrow. And I am certain that Paramount Equity is the place that will allow me to do these things in a way that meets the highest of standards!

Give me a call with any questions or if I can help in any way. I’ve been over here for two weeks now and am ready to rock and roll!

-Greg Cowart
(916) 412-3313



Major changes make what was once impossible possible

Towards the end of 2013 Fannie Mae quietly released an update to their Desktop Underwriter (DU) underwriting system, the system used to underwrite the vast majority of Conventional mortgages nationwide.

Much of the update is inconsequential, it mostly had to do with updating the software to comply with the new QM (Qualified Mortgage) rules that went into effect on Jan 10th, as well as some minor changes to the way DU underwrote HARP refinances, but one big change may positively affect a lot of people. Definitely a lot of people I have talked to over the last couple years.

One of the good things about current conventional guidelines is they allow qualified borrowers to buy or refinance in as little as two years after a short sale so long as they have a 20% down payment or 20% equity in the case of a refinance.

Fannie Mae Roseville Short Sale

Many people suffered the effects of the Great Recession from 2008 – 2011, losing their primary residence or maybe a 2nd home or investment property, and today qualify under Fannie Mae’s guidelines for getting a new mortgage. The issue has been DU has not been able to differentiate between a short sale and a foreclosure when it reads credit reports and it made it so A LOT of people could still not qualify because of the issue with the software.

Yes, a glitch was making it so people could not buy a home or take advantage of recent low rates. 

Fannie Mae has been aware of this issue for a while but never did anything to fix it. Versions of DU were announced and announced and there was no update to fix this issue. Creative lenders (like me) created a workaround with our credit report providers to help DU read the data is was getting wrong accurately but Fannie Mae asked the credit report providers to stop doing this. At the end of the day well-qualified people could not get their loan even though they met all the guidelines.

That is until Fannie FINALLY did something about it with the release of Desktop Underwriter 9.1. Now the software is able to correctly read the credit report and determine if the loan was foreclosed on or was a short sale. Big difference.

If you or someone you know had issues qualifying to buy a home or refinance in the last couple of years with this glitch please give me a call (916.412.3313). It may (probably should) just work this time around! If you want to buy a home or refinance to a lower rate and payment and you had a short sale as recently as January 2012 you may already be able to qualify!

HARP myths debunked…

Tracy Mooney, Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac put out an insight on the mortgage giant’s blog today discussing some common misconceptions about the HARP program. Here is the link, check it out for the top 9 myths about HARP (such as myriad of ideas people have as to why they do not qualify for the program, when in fact they do)….


Roseville Downtown Holiday Celebration

All this week the City of Roseville is doing nightly events as part of its Downtown Holiday Celebration…

Roseville-holiday-events-christmasI hope to see you and your families out at one of these events!


Conforming loan limits stay the same for 2014…

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.

fannie-mae-freddie-mac-roseville-mortgageEarlier 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.


Greg Cowart

Senior Mortgage Advisor – 17 Years Experience

(916) 412.3313

Credit Corner: 10 Trends in Online Fraud

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.

10 Shocking Trends in Online Fraud

10-shocking-trends-in-online-fraud-sacramento-credit-repairOnline 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.
An error message or warning pops up on your screen claiming the computer is infected with a virus and then the bad guys offer a program to fix it, for a price of course. This often happens when the user clicked on a scam advertising banner or allowed a download. If you don’t fix the ScareWare problem with a legitimate antivirus program, it could slow down your computer, or worse.

2. Hit man Email.
You open an email and read that it’s allegedly from an assassin, who will come after you unless you pay him money. Though it sounds unbelievable, people actually fall for it.

3. Fraudulent Links.
It’s so easy to get a malware program or virus uploaded to an unsuspecting consumer’s computer, just by posting fake links. The links claim to be for something common place and safe, but once clicked will start a malware delivery.

4. Inside Information Stock Scams.
Emails are sent to the masses claiming to know some inside information about a company’s upcoming windfall, attempting to inflate the price before the bad guys sell off their position.

5. Lottery Winner Scams.
Emails announce that the recipient has won a large sum of money, and needs to file registration fees or disclose financial information to facilitate the transfer.

6. Reshipping and Payment Processing Fraud.
A complex game of illegally laundering money for criminals and shady organizations, in which the unsuspecting recruit is becomes legally and financially responsible.

7. Shopper Needed Check Fraud Scam.
The consumer is “hired” as a professional shopper, and sent a check for a few hundred dollars. They are instructed to cash the check, taking their portion and then forwarding the rest on to their employer in the business. Of course the check bounces but the victim already sent money from their own account.

8. Greeting Cards Scam.
An email arrives with a greeting card from a family or friend, but once the user clicks on it, it instantly takes you to booby-trapped websites that start downloading Trojans and other malicious software into the computer.

9. Nigerian 419 Scam.
This older scam tried to collect advanced fees from the recipient for some future transaction, similar to the Lottery Winner scam. They may claim all sorts of hardships, love affairs, business opportunities, or even to be a Prince ready to reclaim their throne, as long as you can help them out in the interim!

10. Phishing Scam.
These are scary – and surprisingly effective. Clicking on a link or email brings you to a site that claims to belong to a well-known financial institution or e-commerce site (like a fake banking or eBay site.) But when the consumer enters their information (or login and password to the real site) they’ll find their accounts have been cleaned out.