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

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Sammy Hagar live in Roseville (for local charity)

Not much of a fan of Sammy Hagar, I am a big fan of new business in Roseville and doing things for high quality non-profits, so I’m sharing this with you…

Sammy Hagar, formerly of Van Halen fame, will perform during an invitation-only event Sept. 15 for the opening of his restaurant, Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar & Grill, in Downtown Roseville. Until now all of his Sammy’s Rockin’ restaurants have only been found in airports and casinos, downtown Roseville’s will be the first standalone.

He will perform inside the restaurant, but the concert will also be projected on screens outside on Vernon Street, which will become an outdoor courtyard area during the event. Vernon street has been closed and the city of Roseville expects as many as 1,000 in attendance.


How to get tickets?

  • Win Tickets from the Eagle 96.9.
  • Purchase a $75 Gift Card to be used at Sammy’s restaurant on SacramentoPerks and you’ll get two passes to the outdoor area.
  • You can also purchase VIP tickets for inside the restaurant for $400 per person, $250 of which goes to the charities above. To purchase tickets, contact Cathy Macaulay at Innova Restaurant Concepts at 916-677-1290.

Greg Cowart

Innerwork Mortgage
Roseville, CA
(916) 412-3313

What’s going on… This week in the world

roseville short sale foreclosureFinally, we’re seeing the balance tip in the financial press, with forecasts of a good—or at least tepid—selling season this spring.

But I’m sure you all know what it’s like when you’re driving a country road for the first time and it widens from nearly a one-lane experience of fright to a broad two-lane ‘highway’ that locals take at about 70 miles per hour. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, the road goes from smooth concrete to asphalt to gravel, and you pull to the side, wondering what’s up ahead and whether you’ll survive it.

So it is with the economy today, at least where real estate is involved.

Many observers, whose words we find scattered through the financial press, are breaking out the champagne. Derek Kravitz and Alex Veiga, both of whom write prolifically for the Associated Press, recently had this to say, for example: “Five years after the U.S. housing bust sent sales and prices plunging, the spring home-buying season is pointing to a long-awaited recovery. Reduced prices, record-low mortgage rates, higher rents and an improving job market appears to be emboldening many would-be buyers. Open houses are drawing crowds. A wave of foreclosures is leading investors to grab bargain-priced homes.”

Which is all pretty great—smooth driving on a newly-cemented road—but the patches of unimproved gravel continue to intrude on our progress and make the driving feel dangerous.

The most recent completed sales computations, given the apparent improvement in related indicators—especially jobs—were disappointing. For sales completed in March, existing home sales fell off 2.6%, while new home sales were off by 7.1%. Even pending sales brought little solace, since newly-signed contracts dropped by 0.5% in February. (The index for March will be released tomorrow, on Thursday, April 26.)

There are a few mitigating circumstances. For example, there was a striking annual decline of 2.5% in the number of existing homes on the market. And the new home sales looked especially weak because of upward revisions to the number of sales in prior months—40,000 in February, 11,000 in January. Still, these don’t appear to be the sorts of dazzling numbers that would usher in a certain and sustainable recovery.

If I may climb aboard another metaphor, we should recall that the real estate market—like an ocean liner—takes a lot of time to turn around and often brings to mind the surprises that greeted the Titanic, the unsinkable ship, long ago. Our progress toward a truly sustainable market, therefore, is almost always attended by some fits and starts.

But this is not a bad thing for everyone. Certainly, there are those of us who have about run out of the ability to keep holding our breaths, waiting for the ‘All Clear’ signal. Actually, I suspect this economy will continue to generate concerns and uncertainties for many months to come, if not until the cows come home.

Meanwhile, the good part. There is still time, brothers and sisters. We don’t have to rush into the market with our checkbooks in our back pockets, pens at the ready, trying to grab a great deal and good financing before they’re gone. What we have here is a window of opportunity when nearly all the ingredients have come together—even the amount of time needed to engineer a solid transaction. This will surely pass, so the time to act on all of this is now.

And there’s something to watch very closely. Even major financial houses are beginning to see that investing time and energy into streamlining the ‘short sale’ process can potentially save them a lot of money over the cost of disposing of a property in a foreclosure. If they can make this work…if the market moves in favor of short sales (there were apparently more of them in January than foreclosure sales for the first time ever)… we may eliminate the heavy, dark clouds with which imminent foreclosures continue to threaten the real estate recovery.

New Mortgage Help Center in Sacramento

When it opens in a few days, Sacramento area homeowners will have a new resource in Fannie Mae’s new Mortgage Help Center. The new center will provide counseling for homeowners that owe more on their home than it is worth as well as those seeking to modify their loans. To qualify for the counseling services, homeowners must have a mortgage that’s owned by Fannie Mae and must provide documentation on their loan and income levels.

The new Sacramento office will be located in Natomas and is the 10th opened by Fannie Mae in the past year…


This crazy world…

Bill Miller, chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management, had this to say about Standard & Poors’ downgrading of American debt: “The action was wholly unnecessary and the timing could not have been worse. Compounding this, the reasoning was poor and consequences, both short and long term, for the global financial system unpredictable.” In short, he’s not pleased.

Miller, like economist Robert Reich and others, also pointed out the irony involved in the safety of U.S. debt being downgraded by the organization that kept the safety ratings of crumbling mortgage-backed securities at AAA until well past the time they should have been downgraded. This was a costly error—if indeed it can be called an error.

Further, Miller notes that S&P, a privately-owned/for-profit firm, seems to have wormed its way into a position of great authority, not only lecturing the U.S. government on what it must do (to retain the highest debt rating) but also having a direct effect on markets all over the world.

U.S. stock markets, as you know, began the day Monday by tumbling more than 3.5% (where it was still poised to fall further as this brief essay was written). It is easy to conclude that we’re in the midst of a crash and perhaps further into another (deeper) recession than we’d begun to fear.

Into this state of anxiety, allow me to inject a bit of hopefully grounded thought. This past weekend, Paul Krugman wrote, “In those rare cases where rating agencies have downgraded countries that, like America now, still had the confidence of investors, they have consistently been wrong. Consider, in particular, the case of Japan, which S.& P. downgraded back in 2002. Well,
nine years later Japan is still able to borrow freely and cheaply. As of Friday, in fact, the interest rate on Japanese 10-year bonds was just 1 percent.”

Krugman concluded, “So there is no reason to take Friday’s downgrade of America seriously. These are the last people whose judgment we should trust.” Instead, the dollar is still trusted.

What we saw last week was actually a strong inclination among global investors to continue utilizing U.S. Treasury securities as the safe haven for frightened money. The ten-year note’s yield declined in a dazzling way as investors sought what they still perceive as the safety of the U.S. Treasury security.

Admittedly, the S&P downgrade has the stock markets doing a St. Vitus dance as if the harsh judgment of the gods had somehow been unleashed on the markets. This, too, I feel, will soon pass.

But once it does pass—and interest rates firm a bit, and stock markets invite the bottom-fishers back into the pond, and we continue to see a gradual improvement in real estate data—we will still have several problems to deal with. First, can we make the support of our economic recovery less a matter of bipartisan political theater and more a matter of reasoned steps toward economic health? Can we think of the national—even of the world—economy before we theorize ways to advance the Democrats’ or Republicans’ political power? (This, you’ve noticed is the task that has been laid at the feet of the “Super Committee” that will theoretically reduce our nation’s debt without emaciating its economic strength.)

The failure over the past few years, and especially the last few months, represents not so much an economic problem as does a political one. Almost all of us seem to know this. But few of our voices are being heard, much less acted upon.

So far, the markets are casting votes of no confidence on the debt ceiling agreement and on S&P’s downgrading. Time to apply genuine creativity and skill to reigniting the jobs market, the credit markets, the real estate markets, and the overall economy.

Comstock Mortgage’s New Down Payment Assistance Program!!!

I am pleased to announce that Comstock Mortgage is rolling out our new Platinum Plus Down Payment Assistance Program!  Very good news indeed, this program will help those without even the minimum 3.5% down payment as required by FHA to buy a house during this historic period of home affordability.

The Platinum Plus Program is a First Mortgage Loan with a Down Payment Assistance Grant. The mortgage is an FHA 30-year fixed rate (purchase loan only) with a 2% grant behind it. The grant is 3% of the loan amount and can be used for…

  • down payment
  • closing costs
  • prepaid items (taxes, insurance)
  • earnest money

This grant is NOT a 2nd lien and has no monthly payment. It’s really a win-win. However there is ONE catch; income limits. Yep, because the grant is administered by the NHF your total household income has to be below a certain level to qualify. This is as high as $120,000 in some counties and as low as $85,000 in others (it is $87,720 in both Sacramento and Placer Counties). This still affords A LOT of Roseville and Sacramento area buyers a chance at getting this grant and into our special program.

Properties allowed are: owner-occupied, single family, primary residences in the state of California, FHA-Approved Condominiums, and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs).

Properties not allowed are: 2-4 unit properties, rental homes, Co-ops, investment properties, recreational, vacation, or second homes, and manufactured housing.

Comstock Mortgage underwrites these loans in-house as well, so rate/fees are super-competitive and tight closing times as often demanded by sellers are definitely do-able.

I’m so excited that I can bring this product to my clients and Real Estate partners I’m giddy! This is a real game-changer that will change a lot of people’s lives by helping them achieve the American dream and everything that comes with home-ownership (it makes more sense than any other financial deicision most of us will ever make).

~ Greg Cowart

“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.”

“Advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable.” -Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad

A great quote that explains all the money being spent by the big banks and national mortgage lenders on the radio and TV every day. A few of the smaller, local ones too….

Party’s over???

Interest rates on Roseville mortgages and home loans have been at or near all time lows for the last 5+ months. Over the last three trading sessions of the Mortgage Backed Securities market we’ve seen the market sell off significantly. THREE technical indicators, which for months have serves as a floor for bond prices have been violated and are not turning into a celling for bond prices. The “target coupon” has turned from the 4.0 FNMA to the 4.5 FNMA. This is not a good thing for rates.

The good thing for first time buyers in Roseville (as well as all current or future homeowners in the Sacramento area) is that, historically, mortgage rates for home loans are STILL ridiculously low. Other than early 2009 and a few days in 2003 they have never been this low. It’s still possible to get a sub-5% interest rate on your mortgage. So, is the party over? Not yet. As always I’m keeping a watchful eye on the mortgage bond market and will keep you informed as to the trends of the market. In the meantime if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail…


~ Greg :: The Roseville Loan Expert