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Greg Cowart - Mortgage Broker or Lender at The Securus Group
Greg Cowart - Roseville Loan Guy

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Potentially some good news for FHA, the housing market, and possibly even your wallet!

Today President Obama announced a plan for some pretty major changes at FHA that will make mortgages more affordable and accessible to creditworthy families. The most important of which, in my opinion, is the reduction of the annual FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) by 0.5%.

As many of you know the FHA MIP has been the highest it has ever been for about the last year and a half. On a 30 year fixed FHA mortgage with a 3.5% down payment the MIP was 1.35%. Drastically affecting affordability on FHA loans as this MIP factor increased payments for new FHA borrowers significantly, making the MIP portion of the payment as much as 25% of the mortgage payment itself.

This was due in part because the FHA Insurance fund, the fund that since its inception in 1934 pays out claims to investors when FHA borrowers default, was below capital reserve levels required by congress due to losses sustained on FHA mortgages originated from 2005-2009 (contrary to what many politicians and media outlets reported, the fund was NOT in the negative and never required a bail out, but the fund has less than the preferred capital reserve percentage).

Also in part due to the fact that many in congress wanted to steer the market away from government loan programs and back to conventional loans (that, for better or worse, are still backed by the US government, go figure). The idea being that with FHA being more and more expensive, it would be less and less attractive.

As a result the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund is in better shape and conventional financing is a larger part of the market than it has been since the mid 2000’s.

But it isn’t as sweet as it sounds. The MMI fund would have repaired itself without huge increases in the MIP homeowners pay every month as the loans giving the fund issues were all from a 4 year period of 2005-2009, immediately preceding the recession and housing meltdown (interestingly enough though FHA loans still outperformed all other loan types during that period and defaults were relatively low in comparison to conventional/Jumbo), and they are mostly off the books via foreclosure or short sale already. The most recent 4 years of FHA originations are the highest quality loans the agency has ever seen (this is the same for conventional and Jumbo) as well. And both the economy and housing market have been damaged in multiple ways, seeing those that do get an FHA loan have less money in their pocket every month due to the historically high MIP, and also keeping many people from not being to be able to buy at all.

After Obama’s statement today helps fix the damage being done to FHA borrowers the new annual MIP on a 30 Year Fixed with 3.5% down will soon be 0.85%, down from 1.35%. On a $350,000 home in Roseville, after factoring in the $12,250 down payment and 1.75% UFMIP, an FHA borrower under the new MIP schedule will save $1,689 a year, or $140.75 a month!

Even though 0.85% is still well above historic norms for FHA’s annual Mortgage Insurance Premium industry estimates show that this will help 800,000 homeowners refinance to a significantly lower mortgage payment, especially seeing that rates right now at near historic lows, and help as many as 250,000 people become homeowners, while continuing to help build reserves in the MMI fund to protect against unforeseen future losses.

As mentioned right off the bat, this is A PLAN. Congress still has to approve the change and predictions are 50/50 as to if they will, with many analysts projecting enough resistance from a number of Republicans that want to see the government having no role in housing what-so-ever, and others in congress that want to wait until 2016 so the MMI fund can acquire reserves more quickly, to derail the plan.

Seeing how well FHA loans originated since 2009 are performing, the increase in health in the MMI reserve fund, the fact that 0.85% is still well above what FHA used to collect, and that FHA MIP premiums are paid for life instead of being able to be removed after 5 years, I can’t see any non-ideological argument against this plan. I supposed we’ll see how this plays out relatively soon.

USDA Update (important in Lincoln)

We’ve been waiting and waiting, for years now, for the USDA to change the maps of eligible areas for their popular 100% financing loan program.

Since the 2010 census data became available we’ve known it would be inevitable that the maps will change (and they have given us what the future map will look like, see below) removing Lincoln from the eligible area, but the date for this to happen continually comes and goes with no change.

The use of the future property eligibility maps has again been delayed until Congress passes the 2015 budget, so if your area is eligible on the current maps, it will remain eligible, but don’t ask for how long as no one knows that answer.  While you may see December 11th floating around as a date, that is just the date that congress must pass a new budget, vote for another Continuing resolution, or shut down the government.

Bottom line is there is still time to get into contract on a home in a currently eligible area that will no longer be eligible once the new maps take hold (such as Lincoln), but if you are thinking about it there isn’t much more time to make the move. Or is there? Anyone want to bet the move the deadline again?

CURRENT MAP

USDA Current Map

 

FUTURE MAP

USDA Future Ineligible

FHA’s Homeowner Armed With Knowledge blueprint

FHA UpdateLast week the Federal Housing Administration, an arm of HUD (the department of Housing and Urban Development) announced a new “Blueprint for Access” that, if implemented, should lower the cost of having an FHA loan as well as make getting an FHA loan a little easier for some home buyers.

The biggest thing here is the HAWK (Homeowners Armed With Knowledge) program which, in exchange for the home buyer sitting through a short homeowner education course, will cut the historically high FHA mortgage insurance premium factors.

FHA-questions-cost-MIGenerally speaking FHA loans are great. They tend to have lower rates than conventional loans and are easier to qualify for and get closed. The big issue with FHA is the mortgage insurance and how much it can increase a homeowner’s monthly payment.

However due to the housing “crisis” and recession tied to it HUD had to increase the FHA’s cost of borrowing to re-fund its MMI fund (Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund, which losses on FHA loans are paid to lenders from) that had taken a hit due to defaults and foreclosures in 2008-2012. HUD increased both the up-front fee collected on FHA loans (UFMIP) as well as the annual premium that is paid monthly by FHA borrowers as part of their monthly payment to all-time highs; making new FHA loans more expensive than at any time in their history, despite having lower rates than conventional loans.

The HAWK program will reduce the UFMIP by 50 basis points ($1,750 on a $350,000 FHA loan) as well as the annual MIP by 10 basis points ($30 a month on a $350,000 FHA loan).

For those willing to take additional homeowner courses after closing and make on-time payments for the first two years of the loan FHA will reduce the amount of the annual MIP by an additional 15 basis points (another $42 a month on that $350,000 loan, for a total of a $72 reduction in monthly payment).

Right off the top the HAWK program will save an average Roseville/Rocklin/Lincoln buyer between $1750-2,000 off their total loan amount and $70-100 a month off of their payments after two years compared to an FHA borrower that does not participate!

The detailed guidelines will be posted this summer and the program is slated to roll out in the fall. I’ll let everyone know once the program has been implemented and additional details once they are known…

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2014/HUDNo_14-048

Sincerely,

Greg Cowart

(916) 412-3313 – info@rosevilleloanexpert.com

Credit Corner: New legislation to help consumers

While not law just yet, the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act of 2014 will be a huge help to many consumers. We have had conversations about how the archaic credit laws are in the country, both on this website and with some of you in person, and I don’t see it ever being perfect, but this is a good start.

Reading the text of the bill some of it sounds redundant with current protections (that have not quite worked as planned) but this should help in clarifying those protections and make sure both creditors and the credit reporting bureaus are transparent and put more effort into follow the rules, as well as adding some guidelines such as requiring the credit bureaus to provide a free credit score along with the already available free annual credit report

Political realities of today being the political realities of today this may not ever pass (seeing as its authors and sponsors are all from one party) but I can’t see any reason for this to be political at all. My assumption is we see one of the few bills that passes with bipartisan support.

We can only hope, it will be good for ALL of us. At any given time there are an estimated 10 million American adults with major errors on their credit report! It could be you… I’ve been in that group at one time. While I am well versed in credit monitoring and repair due to my profession and was able to quickly fix the issue, most of those 10 million people aren’t.

Read more about the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting Act of 2014 at my preferred credit repair provider’s blog here: BLUE WATER CREDIT BLOG.

Till next time please give me a call if there is anything I can help you with…

Sincerely,
Greg Cowart

(916) 412-3313
info@rosevilleloanexpert.com

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-mortgage

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
info@rosevilleloanexpert.com

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.

Sincerely,

Greg Cowart
Senior Mortgage Consultant – 18 Years Experience
(916) 412-3313
info@rosevilleloanexpert.com

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)….

http://www.freddiemac.com/news/blog/tracy_mooney/20131216_harp_dispelling_myths.html

freddie-mac-harp-roseville-mortgage

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.

Sincerely,

Greg Cowart

Senior Mortgage Advisor – 17 Years Experience

(916) 412.3313

The Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM)… What is it?

What is an EEM and is it even relevant in the world of real estate in the Roseville/Rocklin area or greater Sacramento?

EEM-Roseville-Rocklin-MortgageWhether you’re purchasing or refinancing, today’s reality is that many of us should consider making energy conservation improvements to our homes. Most homes can benefit from energy upgrades.

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.

~Greg Cowart
(916) 412-3313
info@rosevilleloanexpert.com