Putting the “Median Home Price” Nonsense to Bed – Once and For All

MEDIAN PIZZA PRICE PLUMMETED AT JVM! We are in a literal state of panic here at JVM because the median price of pizza has dropped like a rock over the last year – and we are pretty sure it is a sign of a total meltdown in the pizza market! In 2021, we only ordered […]Read More

100% Financing With CalHFA’s Dream for All Program

CalHFA has launched its most aggressive effort yet to help first-time homebuyers in California with its new program, CalHFA Dream For All! CalHFA’s Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan is a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers. The shared appreciation loan provides 20% towards your down payment and/or closing costs.  How CalHFA Dream For […]Read More

FHA Keeps BEATING Fannie Mae! This Is SHOCKING!

Today’s FHA rate for a $1.1 million purchase with only 3.5% down is 6.125%* at no points.     To paraphrase MC Hammer: Fannie Mae Can’t Touch That – not even close.  FHA has been the redheaded stepchild of the mortgage world pretty much forever.  This is because of misconceptions about FHA and because Fannie Mae’s […]Read More

Declining Markets Force Banks To Increase Down Payment Requirements; What To Do?

In January, I blogged about appraisers checking “The Dreaded Declining Markets” box on appraisals. I highly recommend re-reading that blog, as the issue is much more prominent now – particularly with commercial banks offering jumbo loans. Here are some of the key points I made: (1) it is appraisers who make the designation and not […]Read More

The Biggest House Hacking RISK!

RATES KEEP CLIMBING – BUT IT WON’T LAST Rates have been climbing sharply over the last few weeks – ostensibly because the economy remains hot. It won’t last, per Mr. Habib and Mr. Snider. Both remind us again and again that the markets often respond temporarily to Fed comments, Fed narratives, and economic data – […]Read More

Boomer Dads Are Driving Real Estate Agents Nuts

A few years ago, we helped a young woman repair her credit and worked with her for months to qualify for a condo purchase. When she was finally in contract, we were forced to offer her an excessively low rate (for which we made no money) because her debt ratios were so tight. Despite the […]Read More

Housing Affordability Myth

One of the most pervasive myths convincing all too many people that a housing downturn is inevitable is the affordability myth. There are headlines everywhere proclaiming an imminent housing crash because of the affordability gap. This headline from Business Insider last week is just one example: “A chief economist who called the 2008 housing bubble […]Read More

First-Time Homebuyers = Expansive Term; Maximum Age For Mortgage; Competitors Come to Us

COMPETITORS COME TO US FOR MORTGAGE We frequently have individuals from competing mortgage lenders come to us for mortgage financing because (1) we have more loan programs than they do, particularly with respect to low down payment programs; (2) our rates are lower; (3) we can close much faster; and/or (4) they don’t want their […]Read More

Low, High, List Price: How Much Should You Offer on a House?

As the new year opens, you may wonder if you should purchase a home. There is so much causing inflation which is, in turn, taking its toll on the housing market. Not only are sellers losing ground, but currently, even buyers aren’t capturing the market and turning it into a buyer’s market. But waiting to […]Read More

Market Shockingly Hot; Fast Closes Are A Thing Again; Out Of State Lender Horror Story

HORROR STORY OF THE MONTH A buyer came to us recently after making offers for over two months and losing out on every one. He was using an out-of-state lender that needed 35 days to close. We pre-approved him in a day and he got his offer accepted the next day. What we did differently: […]Read More

DANGER! Don’t Look Through the “2008 Lens!”

Lyn Alden is probably my favorite Macro Analyst, as she is clearly brilliant and also very articulate and objective. I HIGHLY recommend following her on Twitter and on any podcast she happens to hop on. Last week, she was on one of my favorite macro podcasts – MacroVoices – and I also recommend that, as […]Read More

How To (& Why) Buy a $1.1MM Home With Only $39,000 Out of Pocket

Marketing Rate Buydowns: This is a quick reminder that we love to help listing agents market temporary interest rate buydowns with their listings. We are still seeing agents offer buydowns as very enticing incentives with tremendous success. Please reach out if you’d like more info. How To Easily Buy A $1.1 Million Home With Only […]Read More

The Cost of Waiting To Buy a Home

Purchasing a home is a significant financial decision that requires careful consideration and planning. For this reason, it is reasonable to expect prospective buyers to get cold feet when faced with a less than ideal homebuying market. But does this mean you should pull out of the housing market to wait for the perfect time […]Read More

Waiting for “Housing Bargains” Never Works

Bargain Obsession Costs Buyer $200,000 I have blogged numerous times about a client we had who was obsessed with getting the absolute best deal on the planet when it came to buying a house. She at first refused to buy at all, waiting for the market to “bottom out.” When she did finally start to […]Read More

How To Buy A Condo In California

If you’re thinking about buying a condo in California, there are a few things you’ll need to know. This blog post will cover the basics of purchasing a condo in the Golden State, from financing options to understanding HOA fees. We’ll also share tips on finding the perfect place to call home. So whether you’re […]Read More

83% Of Homebuyers Believe It Is a Bad Time to Buy; What To Do?

* 83% of homebuyers in a recent University of Michigan survey believed it was a bad time to buy a home right now….. the lowest in 60 years! Has social media made our world more quickly, more unanimously inadequately informed? It appears so. The volume of bad and misleading information about markets is at a […]Read More

House Hacking On Steroids!

CLOSING 300 TRANSACTIONS PER YEAR – FOR INVESTORS We work with an agent who plans to close 300 transactions in 2023 – focusing exclusively on investors. He is extraordinarily focused and disciplined (former D1 athlete on his way to the pros before getting injured) and he has yet to miss a goal – so we […]Read More

No Down Payment, No Problem (Down Payment Assistance Programs)

WHEN BOOMERS ARE WRONG… For years, I downplayed the efficacy of down payment assistance programs, saying they were too slow to close, too expensive, and/or too off-putting for sellers (so they would not accept offers). BUT – I was wro… I was wron… I was wrong… (I had trouble admitting it). I was wrong for […]Read More

2023 Conforming Loan Limits Surge To Over $1 MILLION! Some Interesting Perspective

1994’s Limit Was $203,150 When I got into the mortgage business in 1994, the conforming loan limit was $203,150. Adjusting for inflation, that is about $408,000 today (almost exactly 2x the 1994 amount) The median house price in 1994 was about $130,000, while it is about $455,000 today (about 3.5x the 1994 number). Today’s maximum […]Read More

Fannie Mae Made Rates WAY LOWER for First-Time Homebuyers!

In mid-November, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac made homebuying ridiculously less expensive for many, if not most first-time homebuyers! And – I was remiss for not blogging about it sooner. 13 Factors That Impact Your Interest Rate! I often blog about the 13 Factors that impact someone’s mortgage rate – reminding readers that there […]Read More

Let’s Talk About The Great 2018 Housing Crash!

I remember 2018 all too well, as it was one of the worst years in the history of the housing market! Values crashed as much as 30% in some areas, and the entire U.S. economy was in a free fall. Oh wait… I don’t remember that because it never happened. It was just predicted over […]Read More

Which Mortgage Loans Are Assumable?

We are getting questions about Assumable Loans again, as there are a lot of sellers with very low-rate mortgages selling homes in our current high-rate environment. If those sellers could offer their low-rate mortgage along with the house, their house would no doubt be worth a lot more. Up until the 1980s, many loans were […]Read More


BARRY HABIB HATES CNBC’S DIANA OLICK! Mr. Habib is one of the macro pundits I cite very often because he is correct so often. “Hate” may also be too strong of a word, as Mr. Habib is very professional, but he clearly has tremendous disdain for Ms. Olick – and this is why: Ms. Olick […]Read More

Buyer Was Furious: “When Is My First Mortgage Payment Due?”

Buyer Was Furious Because Her First Payment WAs Due One Month Sooner Than She Thought! We had a buyer who was very upset because her first payment came due a month sooner than she had expected. Her payment was large, and she had depleted most of her cash to close her purchase – so I […]Read More

How Interest Rates Impact Home Values (Not What You Think)

“Jay, How Naïve Are You?” That was the response I got from a past client last spring when I was noting how higher interest rates had not yet impacted home values. I made the further mistake of saying I was not sure how much higher rates would impact values too, in light of all the […]Read More

How To Read a “Loan Estimate” (LE); Where and How To Look

MORTGAGE RATES ARE IMPROVING AS I AM TYPING THIS BLOG – DESPITE THE FED’S RATE HIKE – showing once again that mortgage rates often do not move in unison with the short-term Fed Funds Rate (the rate the Fed increases). I recently blogged about the tricks lenders play when providing loan estimates to help lure […]Read More

3-2-1 Buydowns Are NOT “The New Option ARM,” “Impending Doom” or “Smoke & Mirrors”

That Time I Was Accused Of Fraud And Turned In To Regulators In the early 2000s, I got to know a roofing contractor really well. He was from Mexico and barely spoke English, but he and I became fast friends because he did such amazing work and I sent him dozens of referrals. So, when […]Read More

Is the Airbnb/Short-Term Rental Market Crashing?

My wife Heejin and I were looking at a property in Park City, Utah last year, and the agent explained to us how easy it would be to turn it into a short-term rental and how “everyone was doing it.” And – I thought to myself… “uh, oh… holy potential glut of short-term rentals, Batman!” […]Read More

Why EVERYONE Needs A House as an Inflation Hedge Now More Than Ever!

I often blog about reasons to buy a property, as there are many: (1) avoid rising rents with a fixed housing payment; (2) tax advantages; (3) ability to do what you want with the home; (4) forced savings/retirement nest egg; (5) pride of ownership; and (6) inflation hedge. BUT – I don’t think I drive […]Read More

The Beauty of BUYDOWNS – To Lower Payments & Save Deals

In Friday’s blog, I explained why ARMs are NOT the solution for payment relief (because ARM rates are so close to 30-year rates) in today’s high-rate world. BUT – there is another solution for payment relief that is nothing short of awesome: TEMPORARY RATE BUYDOWNS, aka 3-2-1; 2-1; or 1-0.5 buydowns (NOTE: these are NOT […]Read More

More Home Equity Line Info

Last week I wrote a blog asking If Home Equity Lines Were Still A Thing? I asked because Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) rates are so much higher, and I pointed out that HELOCs are still “a thing,” as borrowers use them to avoid dipping into jumbo loan amount territory. The blog turned out […]Read More

Are Home Equity Lines (HELOCs) Still A Thing?

The Prime Rate today is 6.25% – a full 3% higher than where it was last year at this time. Prime Rate is the rate that commercial banks charge their most creditworthy customers, usually large corporations. It matters to us though because it is also the rate that most Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) […]Read More

How Does A Rent Back Work; Owner Occupancy Rules

What Is Needed for a Rent Back Agreement In the fast-moving world of real estate, oftentimes, homebuyers find that the timing doesn’t always align with moving schedules. Oftentimes the sellers may still be trying to find their dream home or might not be ready to move just quite yet. With the option of rent back […]Read More

What Rent vs. Buy Analyses MISS! (Huge Esoteric Benefits Of Homeownership)

RISING RATES ALTER CALCULUS OF BUYING VS. RENTING The above headline is a link taken directly from the WSJ. I am blogging about it because rent vs. buy analyses are often ridiculously misleading and they miss so much! A typical rent vs. buy calculator like Freddie Mac’s will look at the total cost of renting […]Read More

Where’s the Inventory Glut? A VW at 3% vs. A Porsche at 6%

I shamelessly stole my headline from Brian Stevens in his most recent The National Real Estate Post video. His point of course was that yes, rates are way up, but buyers in many markets can get way more house for their money in light of all the price reductions (something we are definitely seeing in […]Read More

Investors Dumping Inventory vs. Mortgage Rate Lockdowns!

BIG PROBLEMS AHEAD FOR REAL ESTATE INVESTORS! That was the title of this tweet from Nick Gerli, a real estate guru on YouTube. He said: “The 6-month US Treasury now yields…the same as Buying & Renting Out a House in America…Translation: Big Real Estate Investor selloff coming. Especially among Wall Street owners.” And, in response […]Read More

This Ain’t 2008 – Again

I COULD ROTATE MY FOOT 270 DEGREES – SO NATURALLY, I PANICKED About 15 years ago, I turned my entire knee into butter while I was skiing at Squaw Valley (now Palisades Tahoe). I was skiing with a bunch of way-too-cautious boomers that day, so I escaped during lunch to do one fast run. Wanting […]Read More

The True Cost of “Low Rate” Commercial Bank Mortgages

Some regional commercial banks are buying the jumbo loan market right now with very aggressive rates. BUT – they come with an enormous cost that most borrowers do not take into account. At one of the more prominent banks – that cost is a mandatory deposit equal to 15% of the mortgage! In other words, […]Read More

Housing As A “Nest Egg” – Why Homeowners Have Far Higher Net Worths

The average net worth of Americans who own homes is $1.1 million. The average net worth of Americans who don’t own homes is about $96,000 – according to this Business Insider article. Do homeowners have high net worths because they came from wealth, or do they have high net worths because they bought homes? I […]Read More

Save Money With An 80-10-10 Loan

In today’s market, it is important to consider every way to save money when buying a home. An 80-10-10 loan can be an excellent option for many homebuyers. But what exactly are they and how do they work? Here is everything you need to know about saving money with an 80-10-10 loan. What Is An […]Read More

What Is An Assumable Mortgage and How Does It Work?

Homebuyers have numerous mortgage options and factors to consider when financing a home purchase – and whether or not a loan is assumable is just one of those many factors. So, what is an assumable mortgage and how does it work? We explain everything you need to know about assumable mortgages below. What Is An […]Read More

Nervous Homebuyers Taking Advantage of More Inventory; Surge in Contracts

We recently had a very nervous homebuyer (a single mom) come back to the market after sitting on the sidelines for about a year. This is despite the fact that higher rates reduced her buying power. She came back to the market because she saw the increase in inventory and the corresponding price reductions. She […]Read More

What Are The Average Closing Costs in California?

Closing costs are the various fees and charges buyers face when buying a home that are required in order to close on a loan. Closing costs accrue from lenders and third parties in your loan transaction such as escrow, home appraisers, and title companies. There are some fundamental elements that contribute to the total amount of […]Read More

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit in 2022

Becoming a homeowner has many perks that come along with the house itself. For first-time homebuyers, tax credits may be available to help incentivize you to buy a home. Here is everything you need to know about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit in 2022. What Is First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit? First-time homebuyer tax credits are […]Read More

Household Formations EXCEED Home Completions (GREAT NEWS FOR NERVOUS HOMEBUYERS)

The media loves to beat the “Housing Crash Coming Soon” drums! And that, unfortunately, is keeping all too many homebuyers on the sidelines – for no reason! As a result, I like to push back with our own data – or in this case, Barry Habib’s data (from MBS Highway). The biggest driver of housing […]Read More

Income Needed to Buy $450,000 and $1 Million Homes?

Per a request from an agent, here are some estimates of the income necessary to buy a $1 million home in California and a $450,000 home in Texas. We used $1 million for California because that is close to the median home price in all too many towns and cities (and interestingly, it is much […]Read More

Cash Reserves After Closing – How Important Are They? Inflation…Or Not

Four of our borrowers starved to death shortly after moving into their homes last year. This is because our poor borrowers had no money to buy food because most loan programs do not require any cash reserves in a buyer’s bank account after their loan closes. In other words, most loan programs allow borrowers to […]Read More

“Departing Residence” Rental Income – More Important Than Ever!

“Housing Crash In Austin!” Somebody posted that on Twitter last week, citing climbing inventory, price reductions, and fewer buyers. That same day, however, Heejin and I had dinner with a very successful agent in Austin, and I asked him about the tweet.  This was his response:  “What, seriously?  Nobody told me.  All of my investor-clients […]Read More

Minimum Number of Tradelines & Why We Have To Pull Credit

Buyers often come to us and say something like this: “I have a 780 credit score; I make $275,000 per year; and I want to put $500,000 down against a $1.5mm home – what is your best rate?” We can quote a rate, but more often than not, it won’t be accurate because there will […]Read More

Is Inflation “Over?” (and boy does it matter!)

Inflation Is Here To Stay! (or not) After telling us that inflation was transitory or temporary for months in 2021, many if not most economists changed their tune and declared that inflation was here to stay. This is why the Fed changed course so quickly and aggressively this year, and it is largely why interest […]Read More