5-Step Guide To Applying For An FHA Loan

FHA loans are a popular loan option for many homebuyers – especially those who are purchasing a home for the first time or those who are short on funds for a down payment.  How To Apply For An FH Loan In 5 Steps  Applying for an FHA loan is easy and can be accomplished in […]Read More

Buy A House With As Little As 3.5% Down Using FHA Loans

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are a popular financing option among home buyers – especially those in the Bay Area who are contending with high property prices. One of the major appeals to this program is the minimum required down payment. FHA financing allows you to purchase with 3.5% up to the County loan limit. […]Read More

FHA Loans Available For Condo Buyers

On October 15th, 2019, the FHA issued new guidelines for condo buyers. First-time homebuyers looking to purchase a condominium will appreciate this new availability because of FHA loans’ low down payment requirement. The new regulations promote affordable and sustainable homeownership and are designed to be responsive to the current market. Many homebuyers who are not […]Read More

What do FHA appraisers do during property appraisals?

FHA loans are currently one of the most common mortgage financing choices among homebuyers in California and Texas. FHA loans are supervised by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Because of this, HUD defines all of the regulations for FHA loans in California, including home inspections and appraisals. While many believe the opposite, […]Read More

Homebuyers Use Less Than 20% For Down Payment On Home

According to recent data, more than half of all homebuyers in California, Texas, and nationwide make their down payment with less than 20% when purchasing a home. This is additional evidence to discard the myth that homebuyers must put down 20% to be eligible for a mortgage loan. OVER HALF OF ALL HOMEBUYERS PUT DOWN […]Read More

FHA Loan Requirements for Texas Homebuyers

FHA loans are an excellent option for borrowers who may not have the higher credit score or down payment funds needed to secure a conforming mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program has been helping homebuyers since its implementation in the 1930s. Today, it’s one of the more popular mortgage financing options, but there […]Read More

FHA Loan Requirements for California Homebuyers

FHA loans are an excellent option for borrowers who may not have the higher credit score or down payment funds needed to secure a conforming mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program has been helping homebuyers since its implementation in the 1930s. Today, it’s one of the more popular mortgage financing options, but there […]Read More

First-Time Texas Homebuyers Should Consider FHA

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are an excellent option for first-time homebuyers looking to buy in the competitive Texas market. FHA loans have low down-payment financing options with flexible underwriting guidelines that are great for Texas homebuyers with liquidity or credit issues. FHA loans are growing increasingly popular among the first-time homebuyer demographic. The Urban […]Read More

No VA Loan Limits! FHA and Conforming Loan Limits Way Up!

VA LOAN LIMITS ELIMINATED – 2020 When “VA loans” first surfaced in 1944, the average cost of a house was only $8,600, making “loan limits” a nonconcern for the most part. As home prices rose, however, loan limits or maximum loan amounts were put in place just like they were for FHA and Conforming loans. […]Read More

3 Reasons to Make Smaller Down Payments

We recently had a borrower with ample income and about $70,000 of liquid assets try to squeeze into a $600,000 home with 10% down. She wanted to put as much down as possible to minimize her housing payment. We instead talked her into putting 3.5% down and using FHA financing for the three reasons discussed […]Read More

More Condo Reminders – Non QM; Owner Occ Ratios; Condo vs. Townhome; 12 Considerations

Below are a few more reminders for condo buyers. Non-QM Loans for Condos There is a condo complex near our office that is still 25% owned by the developer. This is a deal-killer for Fannie, Freddie, FHA and Jumbo lenders. But, we have a Non-QM investor that has no issue with this. So, this is […]Read More

FHA & VA Myths

LOAN OFFICER QUOTES RIDICULOUS FHA RATE We hosted a large first-time homebuyer seminar last week and one of the attendees had just been pre-approved by another lender for FHA financing. The loan officer convinced her that she was only marginally qualified, that FHA loans are harder and that FHA rates are higher. He quoted her […]Read More

FHA & VA Myths, Rates and Refi’s

LOAN OFFICER QUOTES RIDICULOUS FHA RATE We hosted a large first-time homebuyer seminar recently and one of the attendees had just been pre-approved by another lender for FHA financing. The loan officer convinced her that she was only marginally qualified, that FHA loans are harder and that FHA rates are higher. He quoted her a […]Read More

52% of Homebuyers In California & Nationwide Have Down Payments Less Than 20%

Zillow recently published their Consumer Housing Trends Report 2018, which included in-depth reporting surveys on 20% down payments in California and across the nation. The comprehensive report found that nearly 52% of homebuyers across the nation are making down payments on home purchases with less than 20% down. This should come as a welcome surprise […]Read More

Buyers Don’t Need a ‘Perfect’ Credit Score to Get a Loan in California

Buyers in don’t need a perfect credit score to get a loan in California. Having a high credit score can help buyers secure a loan with a lower interest rate. However, today’s loans have more forgiving guidelines when it comes to a buyer’s credit, which is especially true with government-funded loans. Where Is The Credit […]Read More

VA vs. FHA; Differences & Similarities

Realtors often confuse VA and FHA guidelines b/c the loans are somewhat similar in that they are both backed or insured by the Federal Gov”t. There are, however, many differences as well. This blog will set them all out. Appraisals – Similar The appraisal requirement for FHA and VA are largely the same. Our Appraisal […]Read More

First Time Homebuyer Program Limitations; First Time Homebuyer Programs = FHA

Our first time homebuyers almost always ask about special financing programs for first time homebuyers. With the exception of a few down payment assistance programs and city-specific programs, there are no effective first time buyer programs other than good old fashioned FHA. JVM has access to various first time buyer programs, but they have significant […]Read More

What If Spouse Has Horrible Credit? Too Much Debt?

We frequently get husband/wife borrowers where one spouse has stellar credit and the other has awful credit. Most people know that the solution is simply to do the loan in the name of the “good-credit-spouse” only, as long as the good-credit-spouse has sufficient income to qualify on his or her own. The bad-credit-spouse can do […]Read More

FHA MI Down; Thumbtack; Contacting JVM; Calling Listing Agents; Weekends

A few facts, tips and reminders: 1. FHA MI dropped from 0.85% to 0.60% for most loans, making FHA that much more attractive with its low rates and flexibility. 2. We have been using Thumbtack for a variety of services from repairs to marketing, and it has worked surprisingly well. We recommend it. 3. The […]Read More

Click-Throughs; Why Borrowers Qualify For Larger FHA Loans? 56.99%

In our recent monthly newsletter, we measured “click-throughs” for our various articles. Interestingly, the mortgage-related article about debt ratios got the most views. Two things: (1) Be sure to measure your click-throughs when you email newsletters; and (2) Here’s something mortgage related: The same borrower can often qualify for a much higher loan amount if […]Read More

FHA Mortgage Insurance LOWER Than PMI In Many Cases; FHA = Good

FHA = Good. That is one of the primary points we make during our “Mortgage 101” Seminars. This is b/c too many Realtors labor under the myth that FHA financing is inferior to conventional financing. The myth stems from the days when FHA financing took longer to close and required clear Section I termite reports […]Read More

FHA Offers – Higher Esteem; Speed, Flexibility and “As Is”

One of the biggest takeaways from our “Mortgage 101” Seminars is to hold FHA offers in higher esteem. Here are a few reasons why: Speed: FHA Financing does not take longer than other types of financing. Skilled lenders can often close FHA loans faster than other types of loans. We have no trouble closing them in 17 days in […]Read More

FHA Is Faster Than Conventional; Myth That FHA Is Slower

We beat this dead horse often, but it keeps rearing its head. So we are re-beating it: FHA loans do not take longer to close than conventional loans (at least at JVM). They are often faster b/c of FHA’s flexibility. We got the below email from a listing agent yesterday after we closed his listing. […]Read More

The Case For FHA: Lower MI; Good for Low Credit Scores; Fast Closing

We are making the case for FHA once again now that MI is so much lower (down to 0.85% from 1.35%). FHA interest rates are much lower than conventional rates, often over 1/2 percent lower. FHA rates are especially competitive for borrowers with low credit scores. It is a myth that FHA properties need to […]Read More

FHA Loans Do Not Take Longer Than Conventional

We are frequently asked by Realtors if we can close FHA loans as fast as conventional loans, and our answer is always the same: “of course.” FHA loans do not take longer to close than conventional loans if a lender has well-trained staff. It is a myth that FHA loans take longer. There are few […]Read More

FHA Properties Do Not Have To Be In Better Condition; Misconception

We continue to hear Realtors express concern about whether or not properties are in good enough condition for FHA financing (as opposed to conventional financing). This is a misconception left over from years ago when FHA properties needed to have all Section I work cleared. We address this often, but FHA financed properties do not […]Read More

FHA Appraisals – Only One Is Allowed;Value Can’t Change w/ New Lender

We had a borrower leave us for an online lender about a month ago. The online lender screwed up the loan, and the appraisal came in low (despite ample comps that supported value). The borrower came back to us with 8 days left to close escrow, and we could have closed on time but for […]Read More

Non-Citizens Can Get FHA/Conv. Financing; VISAs are OK

Borrowers living in the U.S. do not need to be U.S. Citizens to get FHA and Conventional Financing. Visas of a variety of types are acceptable. The most common acceptable Visas are those in the H-series (H1b, etc.). “B,” “L,” “G,” and “O” series Visas are also acceptable. Non-citizens with “Green Cards” or “permanent residency” […]Read More

Escrow Holdbacks For Repairs Are Here Again

Our internal mortgage bank and at least one of our wholesale sources now allow “Escrow Holdbacks” for both FHA and Conforming/Conventional loans. Escrow Holdbacks are an excellent convenience when underwriters call out repairs that normally need to be done prior to close of escrow. Our lending sources will allow us to close the loan before […]Read More

Conventional Construction Loans Revisited; Fannie’s Homestyle Loan

JVM Lending now offers all types of construction financing, including: (1) Streamline FHA 203k loans up to $35,000; (2) Standard 203k loans up to FHA loan limits; (3) Fannie Mae Homepath Renovation Loans; and (4) Fannie Mae’s Homestyle Loans. Fannie Mae’s Homestyle Loan is the best option for most borrowers, as they will avoid FHA […]Read More

100% “Gift Funds” OK for Conventional Now

FHA allows 100% of a down payment to be from “gift funds” from a relative (parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.). Fannie Mae (conventional lending) used to only allow 100% gift funds if the down payment was equal to 20% or more of the purchase price. If a down payment was less than 20%, at least […]Read More

Maximum Loan-to-Value Ratios: 80%; 90%; 95%; 96.5%

Fannie Mae no longer allows 97% loan-to-value financing, making FHA that much more necessary for borrowers with limited funds. Below are the maximum loan-to-value ratios for various loan-types. Conforming Low Balance (< $417,000): 95% Conforming High Balance ($417,000 to $625,500): 90% FHA ($417,000 to $729,750): 96.5% Most Jumbo Lenders: 80%* *Many allow 10% 2nds or […]Read More

Loan Limits of $417,000, $625,500; and $729,750 (FHA) To Remain

Conforming and FHA Loan Limits will remain the same in 2014. This is once again great news for high cost areas like we have in California. Conforming Low Balance: $417,000 Conforming High Balance: $625,500 FHA Low Balance: $417,000 FHA High Balance: $625,500 FHA Super High Balance: $729,750 Rates get slightly higher for each tier. MI […]Read More

FHA “Mortgage Insurance” Rates; High & Permanent, But Necessary

All FHA buyers are required to get mortgage insurance no matter how large their down payment is. Currently, all FHA buyers must pay an Up Front Fee of 1.75% of the loan amount. Most FHA buyers also must pay an annual fee of 1.35% of the loan amount (divided into 12 payments). This annual MI […]Read More

640 FICO and 10% Down? FHA better than Conventional; $729,750 Limit

FHA remains the only or best option for many borrowers, despite the fact that FHA Mortgage Insurance is now permanent. We have a borrower with a 642 FICO and a 10% (of purchase price) down payment. He wants conventional financing but FHA is a better option for him b/c his low credit scores push his […]Read More

“Government Shutdown” Will Marginally Affect Mortgages, If At All

We are getting asked how a “Government Shutdown” might affect mortgage lending. It will most likely be minimal and it will only affect the processing of the loans. It is important to remember that the government does not fund mortgages (either conventional or FHA). The Government only “insures” FHA mortgages via HUD. What the government […]Read More

“Back to Work” Program – 1 Year of Seasoning; Re-visited

FHA’s “Back to Work” program is causing quite a stir and a lot of confusion, as we have borrowers and Realtors pouring out of the woodwork to ask about the program. In a nutshell, FHA’s back to work program allows borrowers to obtain mortgage financing with only one year of seasoning from a short-sale or […]Read More

Appraisals Good for 90 to 120 Days; Caveats

We sometimes have closings severely delayed b/c of repair issues, title issues, or unexpectedly large liens surfacing. In these situations, we are invariably asked how long the appraisal will remain valid. The general answer for conventional loans is 90 days. Loan documents must be drawn before the appraisal is 90 days. FHA lenders will draw […]Read More

Short Sale Seasoning? 0 to 3 yrs for FHA; 2 to 4 yrs for Conventional

We are frequently asked if the required seasoning for short sales has changed. It hasn’t. If a borrower had no late mortgage payments prior to his short sale, he can obtain FHA financing immediately after the short sale as long he buys “down” (smaller/cheaper home). No seasoning is required. If a borrower was late with […]Read More

Min. Credit Scores in 2013; FHA: 580; Conventional: 620 to 660

We are frequently asked about “minimum credit scores” for obtaining financing. Here are general guidelines for minimum scores for our office in 2013: FHA: 580 Conventional < $417,000: 620 Conventional > $417,000: 660 Jumbo: 680 Pricing hits/rate increases for lower credit scores are now larger than ever. For example, lenders that accept FHA borrowers with […]Read More

Eliminating PMI

We mentioned recently that FHA MI is now permanent, or required for at least 11 years, for FHA loans. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), however, has much less stringent guidelines. Below is the email we send to borrowers setting out ways to eliminate PMI. Eliminating PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance. Here are three options for eliminating […]Read More

FHA Loans Remain Assumable; Great Selling Point Even Though MI Is Now Permanent

We used to tout FHA’s “assume-ability” feature much more before FHA Mortgage Insurance was made “permanent” on June 3rd. The feature remains an extremely important selling point, however, as rates will inevitably rise several percentage points or more. Hence, the benefits of assuming a very low FHA rate will more than offset the Mortgage Insurance […]Read More

FHA MI Not Affected By Credit Score; PMI is Affected By Credit Score; PMI Rates Much Lower Than FHA MI

We were recently asked if Credit Scores affect FHA Mortgage Insurance (MI) rates. They do not. Credit Scores can affect FHA interest rates but not FHA MI. Credit Scores do, however, significantly affect Private Mortgage Insurance rates associated with Conventional Loans. For 30 year loans, FHA annual MI rates vary from 1.30% per year to […]Read More

Bankruptcy Seasoning Periods (Reminder)

We are getting questions about bankruptcy (BK) seasoning requirements, so we are repeating some general guidelines. Chapter 7 BKs require seasoning periods of TWO (2) years from discharge date for FHA financing, and FOUR (4) years from discharge date for conventional financing. Borrowers should have re-established credit after the BK, in most cases, and definitely […]Read More

FHA – Mortgage Insurance No Matter What the LTV IS

Starting in June, FHA will require Mortgage Insurance (MI) no matter how low the loan-to-value ratio (or how big the down payment) is.  This applies to both 30 year and 15 year mortgages. Many borrowers have to take FHA financing because they have issues that preclude them from obtaining conventional financing.  When this is the case, they […]Read More

Getting FHA Offers Accepted By Offering SPEED; 5 Day Contingencies

We probably beat this dead horse too often, but because the issue surfaced again, we want to address it again. We recently met with a Realtor who was telling his FHA buyers to hold off on making offers until the market cools off a little. He was under the impression that it is simply impossible […]Read More

FHA MI Permanent in June; 5 Years Now; FHA as Temporary Financing

This is a reminder that FHA MI becomes permanent for all case numbers ordered on or after June 1st. FHA Case numbers need to be ordered in May for any and all potential purchases that will close in the next six months. Case numbers expire after six months. FHA MI is 1.35% for most FHA […]Read More

97% LTV or 3% Down Conventional Loans – SFRs and CONDO

3% Down, or 97% loan-to-value loans are available now at many lenders. The option is only for loans below $417,000, but it is a great alternative to FHA financing now that FHA MI is becoming permanent in June. For loans above $417,000, borrowers still need to put down 10%. A major advantage of 3% down […]Read More

“Millennials” Drive Housing Recovery/Future; Internet Driven

Reminder: FHA MI becomes permanent in June. This is an incentive for FHA buyers to find properties sooner rather than later. The below link is a graphic published by the PulteGroup. It illuminates why “Millennials” (18 to 34 year-olds) will be a major part of the housing recovery and housing’s future. Many of our […]Read More

PMI is NOT Permanent; Getting Out of PMI

FHA currently requires Mortgage Insurance for five years no matter what, and in June FHA MI will become permanent (for the life of the loan). This is why conventional financing with Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is often a better route. Several borrowers, however, recently told us they thought PMI was permanent too. It is not, […]Read More