Fed Raises Rates; Mortgage Rates PLUMMET; Why? JVM’s Here to Stay!

JVM’S HERE TO STAY; BACKUP FOR BANKS PULLING OUT JVM was officially founded in 2006, and effectively founded in 1999 under another name by my wife, Heejin – with much of her operation carrying over to JVM in 2006. All this is to say that we are definitely here to stay, as we have ridden […]Read More

100% Financing With CalHFA’s Dream for All Program – Coming Soon!

On March 27th, CalHFA will launch its most aggressive effort yet to help first-time homebuyers – with true 100% LTV Financing! It is called the CalHFA Dream for All Program, and this is how it works. 80 LTV 1st Mortgage: JVM provides the 80% Loan-to-Value (LTV) 1st Mortgage. 20% LTV 2nd Mortgage: CalHFA provides the […]Read More

Europe Raised Rates by 1/2%, and Rates FELL

The European Central Bank (ECB) raised its short-term rate (its equivalent to the Fed Funds Rate that the Fed raises here in the U.S.) by a full 1/2% yesterday. It shocked many observers because Europe is facing a banking crisis that is potentially much worse than what we face here in the U.S. (for reasons […]Read More

Jumbo Loans In Peril Because Of Commercial Bank Issues

EVERYTHING IS FINE…UNTIL IT ISN’T The former owner of RPM Mortgage (now merged with Cross Country) told me about a particularly harrowing ordeal he went through in 2008. His company had locked tens of millions of dollars of loans with the intention of selling them to particular investors when they closed. RPM underwrote and funded […]Read More

Silicon Valley Bank Failure – Effect on the Mortgage Industry

  Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB’s) failure dominated headlines and social media all day Friday and over the weekend. Investors worldwide were very concerned because they were not sure if this was the start of an overall banking system meltdown or a one-off scenario. No economy can function without an effective banking system, so the initial […]Read More

Mortgage Banks (Like JVM) Can Broker Loans Too!

A Few Quick Reminders: FHA Rates Are 1% Lower – in some cases: This is a quick reminder that FHA’s interest rates can be as much as 1% lower than Fannie Mae’s conforming rates – particularly for borrowers with large loan amounts, small down payments and/or lower credit scores. Hot Markets/14-Day Closes: Despite all the […]Read More

Inflation Concerns Push Rates Up – Opposite of My Predictions

Mortgage applications fell precipitously recently in direct response to a rise in interest rates. We have seen the opposite effect too over the last several months in response to falling rates. All this is to say (or prove) that mortgage applications and purchase activity are extremely sensitive to interest rates – surprising many people, including […]Read More

Who Buys Loans From Mortgage Banks; How It Works & Why It Matters

Most mortgages in America are funded by “mortgage banks” – which are entities that solely originate, underwrite, and fund mortgages; they do not hold deposits or do any of the things that commercial banks traditionally do. Rocket Mortgage, loanDepot, Guaranteed Rate, Guild Mortgage, American Pacific Mortgage, Fairway Independent Mortgage, and CrossCountry Mortgage are all examples […]Read More

Housing Data Remains Strong – Despite “Imminent Crash”

Steven Van Metre is a macro analyst and financial planner who has been predicting an “imminent housing crash” for over a year, including here, here, here, here, and… here. Despite Steven’s constant “sky is falling” rhetoric, I actually enjoy his videos, as they are data-laden and always interesting. I am bringing him up today because […]Read More

Will Artificial Intelligence (AI) Take Over Mortgage Lending? So We Can Push A Button & Get A Loan?

Knock knock. Who’s there? Real Estate. Real Estate who? Real Estate the perfect home for you Yeah, I didn’t get it either… BUT – that was the result when I asked an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine to tell me a knock-knock joke about real estate agents. So, AI is clearly not ready for prime time, […]Read More

Wells Fargo Is Exiting Mortgage Lending & Why It Matters; Hate & Love for WFB

Embessler Stole $300,000 From Me And Heejin In 2011, Heejin and I caught our bookkeeper embezzling money from us. It was over $200,000 we knew for sure, but we never figured out the exact amount because of … Wells Fargo. As soon as we got suspicious of our bookkeeper, we went to Wells Fargo and […]Read More

January Lead Season and Weather

Hockey in -25 F Weather; Peddling Through Blizzards; Working When It Is Raining Outside 😊 When I was a kid in rural Minnesota, we played hockey at an outdoor rink. The games were supposed to be called when the temperature dipped below -25 F, but I remember playing anyway on one of the occasions when […]Read More

Southwest Airlines and Mortgages; BEWARE!!!

WHAT KIND OF LOAN NEVER DEFAULTS? In the 1990s, I had one destination for borrowers with a lot of equity and savings, and excellent credit: First Nationwide/Cal Fed. The lender required only an appraisal to prove there was a 25% equity cushion, proof of liquid assets equal to 6x “stated income,” and a credit score […]Read More

Inflation DOWN; Rates UP; What Gives? Housing Inventory Still Tight

15 DEGREES LAST NIGHT IN AUSTIN, TX This has nothing to do with mortgages, but I have to share it because I find it so interesting.  Austin saw a low last night of 15 degrees – which is amazing given that Austin is hundreds of miles SOUTH of cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles that […]Read More

Loan Buybacks Are Surging and DANGEROUS!

RUSSIAN MOBSTER SENDING ME LOTS OF BUSINESS Around 2004, an agent referred a Russian gentleman to me for a purchase. He was very wealthy, very well-dressed, very polished, very serious – and very intense. His first purchase went well, as he had a “trading company” that we used for his employment verification and he had […]Read More

6 Reminders for Depressed Real Estate Agents

A prominent loan officer who has been meeting with multiple real estate agents recently told me that he has never seen so many “depressed real estate agents.” They are depressed he says because their business is way down; their phones aren’t ringing; the clients that they do have are apprehensive about buying; the easy deals […]Read More

Commercial Banks Pulling Out Of Jumbo Market; Why & What It Means

Commercial banks are pulling out of the jumbo market rather suddenly – after dominating it for the last year or so. The question is why and what does it mean? When Service Matters We have always been able to crush every commercial bank when it comes to service, as we are far more responsive, we […]Read More

When Great Economic News Is Actually Bad News

I Was Slapped in the Face With Very Good Economic News! For months now, I have been explaining how weak our overall economy is and why that portends much lower interest rates in the near future – no matter what the Fed does. I of course was just repeating what Jim Rickards, Jim Rogers, Stephanie […]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

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

SHOCKING: Huge Lender Exits Business; JVM Here To Stay; JVM Rate Drop Free-Fi®; Opting Out Too

Please Don’t Get Pummeled With Phone Calls (Opt Out) I blogged a few weeks ago about borrowers getting pummeled (literally) with phone calls after they apply for mortgages. This is because credit bureaus sell borrower info. Online lenders then buy that info as “leads” and go after those borrowers with reckless abandon. I bring this […]Read More

Why Would a Mortgage Bank BROKER Loans?

There Are Three Primary Channels In Which Consumers Can Garner Mortgage Loans Commercials banks and credit unions (they do commercial loans, offer checking & savings accounts, and do mortgage loans) Mortgage banks (they only underwrite and fund mortgage loans, and do nothing else) Brokers (they only “originate” loans, and then submit them to unaffiliated lenders) […]Read More

Lenders Pushing “Stated Income” & 100% Financing; Return of 2008?

A Few More Notes On Rates Dropping By March I got a bit of pushback from yesterday’s blog (Why I Am Convinced Rates Will FALL By March) and I wanted to touch on it quickly before hitting my main blog points today. The Fed Is No Longer Buying Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS). Yes, the Fed is […]Read More

Why ARM Rates Are So Close to 30-Year Rates

Apparently, in 2002, it was “Hot In Herre” – or at least it was according to Nelly. I, however, had no idea because I had never heard the song, and I probably wouldn’t have trusted Nelly’s assessment in any case, given his inability to spell. I bring that up though because yesterday’s rates hit 2002 […]Read More

Inflation RED HOT! Rates WAY UP! Relief On The Way?

Today’s inflation report (Consumer Price Index/CPI) came in much hotter than expected and rates shot through the roof in response. BUT – as Barry Habib (of MBS Highway fame) has been explaining again and again – this was expected – and should not be alarming. In addition, Mr. Habib carefully explains WHY future inflation reports […]Read More

Why Are Banks Not Paying Higher Rates for Deposits? Why Did Rates Plummet Today Too?

Why Interest Rates Are Rising Everywhere – Except Your Savings Account That was the headline from this recent WSJ article. Back in the 1980s, a general lack of savings in America was one of the many reasons why America was going to collapse, and we were all going to die… This was ostensibly because Japan […]Read More

U.S. Dollar at Record Highs & Twitter Is Panicking! Why?

The U.S. dollar is again hitting record highs, and it is much stronger than it was even a few months ago when I last blogged about it: Why a Strong U.S. Dollar Is Terrifying! My favorite way to gauge the dollar’s strength is by watching the DXY Index. The chart at the bottom of this […]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

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

LoanDepot Stock Fell From $32 to $2; SO MUCH TO LEARN

COVID caused rates to plummet – which in turn ushered in the mother of all refi booms. Several large mortgage banks had initial public offerings at the height of the refi boom – with valuations that were based largely on revenues from refis.Read More

Homebuyers: Be Aware of Fraudulent Mailers!

Desperate Mortgage Bankers Resort To Fraud After the 2008 meltdown, a prominent mortgage banker, who was accustomed to living very extravagantly, started a “Loan Modification Consulting” business as a way to bolster his company’s waning revenues. The only small problem was that it was 100% illegal, as his firm was collecting large fees (thousands of […]Read More

China’s Banking System Collapse Is Terrifying; Why It Matters

EVERYONE IS FOCUSED ON “FED DAY” – which is the day of the month (today) on which the Fed announces its latest increase in the Fed Funds Rate (expected to be 0.75%, and the market has “priced it in” already). BUT – there is an economic issue brewing overseas that is 100x more momentous and […]Read More

Car Shortages to Surpluses Overnight; Things Change VERY QUICKLY

I saw this tweet over the weekend: “The auto industry collapse has just begun and this would be one of the worst times for you to buy a vehicle. In a normal market (pre-2020), Auto Loan delinquencies hovered at 2 to 3%. Today, that number is exploding with nearly 1 in every 4 loans in default in Washington DC.” The author of the tweet is Graham Stephan, a young investor and car enthusiast, and he may or may not be right.Read More

A Tale Of Two Businesses; One Rising and One DYING!

I had experiences recently at two different businesses that were so contrasting and so fascinating that I had to blog about them. And yes – this much applies to mortgages and real estate! The Good Business I took my mountain bike to a bike shop that I had not been to for almost 9 months, […]Read More

Mortgage Companies Imploding Again! When to Worry

In 2006, the infamous Implode-O-Meter was established to predict and announce all of the mortgage companies that were going belly up. It was both fascinating and extremely helpful because it warned people to avoid lenders or investors (that buy loans) that were on the verge of bankruptcy.Read More

Good News! Recession Coming Soon; Rates Continue to Fall After Fed Raises “The Rate”

A week ago, I pointed out how the recent 0.75% increase in the Fed Funds rate resulted in LOWER long-term rates. I highlighted three reasons for this: (1) The markets perceived the news as effective inflation fighting; (2) the markets expected the news and had priced it in already; and (3) the Fed Funds rate […]Read More

No Building + Growing Population = Strong Housing Market EVEN IF RATES ARE AT 6%!

There were about 2.3 million new homes constructed in 1973 – a number we have not seen since. This is not that big of a deal until you remember that the entire population of the U.S. was only about 211 million (compared to 332 million now). Over the last year, we have built about 1.3 million homes, when, again, the U.S. population was over 330 million!Read More

High Rates; Softer Market; ARMs; Housing Shortages; Recessions; Refis

Highest Mortgage Rates Since 2009 Last week’s sky-high inflation numbers have pushed 10-Year Treasury rates to levels we have not seen since 2018. While mortgage rates are at levels we have not seen since 2009. Beating A Dead Horse – Again The fast-climbing rates and media rumblings continue to spook buyers – so I am […]Read More

Why We’re Seeing Fraud Claims Now & Will See A Lot More

I knew and worked with a bunch of hard money lenders (who loaned money based strictly on equity) prior to the 2008 meltdown. Even though they were a bit cocky with their success and they lived like rockstars, they were all nice and honest guys for the most part. They solicited pools of funds from friends, family members, and outside investors – and then loaned out that money to homeowners and homebuyers who could not qualify for better financing.Read More

What Every Homebuyer Must Know About Hazard Insurance & Mortgages

Here are a few tidbits about Hazard Insurance, something that is required with every mortgage. Hazard insurance is also known as fire insurance and homeowners insurance, and it should not be confused with mortgage insurance, which only covers the mortgage and not the dwelling. Lenders require the “Dwelling Coverage” to match or exceed the lower of the loan amount, or the replacement cost estimate.Read More

Media Lies About Housing Market; Slower Market ≠ Depreciation

Agents are telling me that some of their clients are getting cold feet about buying right now for a variety of reasons, including: 1) Concerns about higher rates and payments; 2) Concerns about depleted investment accounts; 3) Concerns about an overheated housing market; and 4) Misleading media reports that are scaring the heck out of everyone!Read More

Supply Chains Untangling; Inflation Waning? Who Was Right?

For much of 2021 we were shown photos of container ship parking lots drifting far out to sea – with dire warnings of inventory crises and mass shortages. But today, Leonard Steinberg shared this in his Compass blog:Read More

Adjustable Rate Mortgages Hit 14-Year High

ARMs now comprise 11% of all mortgages, up from only 3% at the start of the year. And the reason is obvious: consumers can knock 1% or more off of their mortgage rate by taking an ARM instead of a 30-year fixed.Read More


“… I remember my first mortgage back in 1982, when my rate was 15%!” said every boomer ever… “… I remember my first mortgage back in 1982, when my rate was 10%!” said my law school professor… The above two comments are huge reminders that homes still sell in even the highest of interest rate […]Read More

California Giving Away Down Payment Funds For Free!

We have received a ton of questions recently regarding the California Housing Finance Agency's (CalHFA) new program that offers a 10%, forgivable, interest-free loan to first-time homebuyers. So, we want to clarify the program's guidelines and touch on some serious tradeoffs buyers should consider.Read More

Pyramid Lending = Death of Mortgage Banks

During boom times, when there is excess business and margins are fat, “pyramid lending” can work. But – when business slows and margins compress like what has been happening this year – pyramid lending not only does not work, it will kill off many mortgage banks. This is because borrowers can shop for rates and apply for loans more easily than ever nowRead More

Who’s To Blame For High Gas Prices & Why It Matters?

There are 150,000 gas stations in America, and most of them are independent “mom and pop” stations. Similarly, there are 9,000 oil companies in America. So – it is comical to hear politicians accuse the oil and gas industry of “colluding” to create higher gas prices – when it would be impossible. Gas prices are […]Read More

Why Heejin & I Turned Down $10 Million

We know a loan officer with a large team who does about half of JVM’s volume – and he was offered a $6 million “signing bonus” to move to another mortgage bank. He turned it down, however, and remained where he was (I will explain why below). With higher rates and refis all but dead, […]Read More

#1 Reason Fintech Firms Fail In The Mortgage Space

Mortgage Industry Is Reeling With mortgage rates 2% higher than where they were in 2021, much of the mortgage industry is struggling for survival now that refis are all but dead. Many mortgage companies relied so heavily on refis that they are all but out of business now. But – the companies that always seem […]Read More

Cold Feet In The Face of Uncertainty (Take The Money & Run)

In the early months after COVID hit in 2020, I wrote numerous blogs about the strong likelihood of the economy and the housing market bouncing back. My reasoning was based on strong demographic demand, a shortage of inventory, the press’s propensity to make crises seem worse than they are, and America’s overall resilience in general (as we had bounced back from many other crises amazingly fast).Read More