Tag Archive for: homebuying

GSFA Platinum Program: Down Payment Assistance Made Easy

Are you dreaming of becoming a homeowner but struggling to save up for a down payment? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many aspiring homeowners in California face this hurdle on their path to homeownership. However, there’s good news! The GSFA Platinum Program offers a solution that can make your dreams of owning a home a […]Read More

Buying a House with No Down Payment: Your Guide to Mortgage Financing

Are you dreaming of owning your own home but worried about the hefty down payment required? Well, worry no more! In this blog post, we will explore the world of mortgage financing with no down payment. Yes, you read that right – you can buy a house without having to make a down payment! Whether […]Read More

Why Did Rates Shoot UP 1/2% Recently?

BUYERS IMMEDIATELY LEAVE MARKET WHEN RATES MOVE HIGHER One of the most surprising aspects of the rate increases we have been watching over the past year is how quickly buyers and borrowers respond to the increases. We all of course expect to see less refinance and purchase activity in response to higher rates. But, what […]Read More

Shattered Dreams! CalHFA’s Dream Program Is Out of Money ALREADY

PROGRAM UPDATE AS OF 4/7/2023: We were just informed by CalHFA that as of Friday afternoon the CalHFA Dream For All Program is now entirely out of funds, and the program is now paused. Please contact us to discuss alternative financing options at (855) 855-4491 or [email protected] CalHFA’s Dream For All program truly seemed like […]Read More

Who Pays Title Insurance Costs in Massachusetts?

Title insurance is required when purchasing a home in Massachusetts. According to state law, all homebuyers must purchase a basic owner’s policy in order to protect their interests as well as their lender’s interests when they purchase a home. How Title Insurance Works Title insurance is an insurance policy that covers you from any potential […]Read More

100% Financing With CalHFA’s Dream For All Program

PROGRAM UPDATE AS OF 4/6/2023: We were just informed by CalHFA that the Dream For All program will be paused on Wednesday, April 12th, and likely will be out of funds by Monday, April 10th. Please contact us to discuss alternative financing options at (855) 855-4491 or [email protected]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

Found your Dream Home? 6 Tips to win a Real Estate Bidding War

Found your dream home but the housing market has you down? Here are 6 tools and strategies JVM offers to our clients to help get their offer accepted for their next home purchase.  Bidding wars have been common in our bustling Real Estate markets over the past few years. As you can imagine, buying a […]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

1.9 Million Household Formations; 1.4 Million New Homes Coming Online

In 2023, 1.9 million new households will be formed as young people leave college, leave their parents’ homes, get married, etc. But – only 1.4 million new homes will come online. This data was reported by Barry Habib last week, and it is one more HUGE reminder of why 2023 is so different from 2007 […]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 A 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 […]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

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

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

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

How Much Income Is Needed to Buy A Home?

How Much Income Is Needed to Buy A House? If it is your first time purchasing a home, one of the first questions you probably have is “how can I qualify to buy a house?” or “what can I afford to spend on a house ?” There is no single answer to this question. It […]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


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

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

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

Why I Am Convinced Rates Will FALL By March

I have myriad acquaintances in the mortgage industry (mortgage bank CEOs even) who insist rates will continue to rise throughout 2023. They tell me I am crazy to think they will fall as early as March – with inflation surging and the Fed on the warpath. They further tell me that the Fed cannot get […]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

VA Jumbo Loans in California

VA loans are a great real estate purchase option for eligible veteran borrowers. Unlike conventional or FHA loans, VA loans allow borrowers to obtain purchase loans with a $0 down payment. Borrowers can even obtain jumbo loans over the county loan limit with no downpayment required. Interest rates on VA loans are very competitive as well.Read More

How Much Income Do You Need to Buy a House?

When starting on your homebuying journey, most often homebuyers wonder about the cost, what they can afford, and how much income is needed to purchase a home. There are many different factors and calculations that we’ve broken down to help explain how much income is needed to buy a home.  What are Debt-to-Income Ratios? When […]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

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

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

“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

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

5 Reasons to Put Less Money Down

We often have borrowers who want to put as much down as humanly possible – to minimize their housing payment. But – we often talk them out of it for a variety of reasons that are set out below. #1 – Pay Off Consumer Debt. When buyers have a lot of consumer debt, we always […]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

Barry Speaks! Fed Disdain; Recession & Low Rates Coming; Housing Will Be Fine

Barry Habib reminds us that it is inflation that is driving higher rates, but that it will peak in October and start to fall for two reasons: (1) today’s higher rates are destroying demand across the board (I again suggest watching the video for his full explanation); and (2) supply chains will be untangled and working by then, eliminating shortages.Read More

Why “Timing The Market” Never Works

Dear Hedge Fund, Why are you still buying up houses in droves when the market is obviously going to crash? That was the letter I wrote to a hedge fund yesterday, and boy did I make them feel stupid… Or not, because I might not have actually written that letter. 😊 But here is my […]Read More

17 Day JUMBO Financing – With No Contingencies & Super Low Rates!

I often blog about how jumbo rates are as much as 1% LOWER than conforming rates and explain why too. This recent blog is just one example. Our Jumbo Niche I obsess with jumbo financing not only because it offers astoundingly low rates, but also because it comprises as much as 75% of all financing […]Read More

17 Ways to Lower Debt Ratios and/or Garner More Funds

I blogged recently about 8 Ways to Lower Debt Ratios When Rates Are Climbing – and I got numerous additional suggestions from a friend who owns a mortgage bank (Apex Mortgage) back east. Some of the ideas were so good that I felt compelled to update my blog to “17 Ways.” Several of the ideas […]Read More

When Debt Is a VERY GOOD Thing! (& Why We Love Tradelines)

We often have clients who come to us looking for their first home, very proud that they’ve “never had an ounce of debt” in their “entire life.” No credit cards, no car loan, not a dollar financed – ever. These poor people are then shocked to find out that they can’t finance their first home […]Read More

Make Sure You’re Offer-Ready! Check In On Rates & Your Pre-Approval Before Making An Offer

We like to periodically remind homebuyers to reach out to their lender to check their mortgage pre-approval before making offers, as interest rates are changing rapidly in today’s hot market. Many homebuyers are caught off guard during their homebuying journey when they realize that the interest rate lenders quote during the pre-approval process is not […]Read More

Why Do We Quote Rates With Points – When We Dislike Points?

On Tuesdays, we send out an email to our entire database that says “What’s Going On With Rates?” And – in that email, we share numerous rate quotes – and several are quoted at the cost of 1/2 point. In response to that email though, an agent we have known for years asked me why […]Read More

Bridge Loans Explained (Buying Before Selling Current House)

We often have buyers come to us who want to buy a new residence before selling their current residence. If they do not have enough cash for a down payment, we often just recommend that they get a home equity line of credit (HELOC) against their current home. HELOCs are awesome because they are usually […]Read More

iBuyers Vs. Real Estate Agents – What’s The Difference?

What Are iBuyers? The real estate landscape is always changing. One of those changes is the rise of iBuyers and the rejection of the traditional real estate process (with the use of a Realtor or Real Estate Agent). Both iBuyers and Real Estate Agents share the same goal of assisting in the sale of homes; […]Read More

Intangible Benefits of Homeownership; How To Win Hot Market Battles

This is a quick reminder that we love to help get offers accepted in hot markets by: (1) pre-approving clients so they can waive contingencies; (2) closing very fast – in 14 calendar days for conforming and FHA loans; 21 days for jumbo; (3) calling listing agents to tout the strength of our clients.Read More

The Difference Between Purchase and Refinance Mortgages

  Purchase mortgages and refinances are both home loans, but they serve very different purposes. A purchase mortgage is a type of loan that homebuyers apply to finance the purchase of a new home. A refinance mortgage is the process homeowners go through to change their mortgage rate and terms. While purchase and refinance loans […]Read More

How To Qualify For A Mortgage As A First-Time Homebuyer

Many first-time homebuyers have questions about how they can qualify for a mortgage. One of the best ways to start the homebuying process as a first-time homebuyer is to gather as much information as possible at the onset of the process.  Check Your Credit Score Credit scores play a pivotal role in determining a  first-time […]Read More

Will We See Negative Interest Rates In America? (Hint: We Already Are)

Mortgage Rates Are More Of A Gift Than Ever! I often write that the market’s very low interest rates are a gift because they are so low by historical standards! (and it’s true) And, they are more of a gift than ever before now, despite the fact they have risen by 1/2% since last summer, […]Read More

Why Rising Rates Will Not Crash The Housing Market!

Rates rose another 1/8 to 1/4 percent over the last few weeks and are now almost 1% higher than 2020’s lows. (as a sidebar, they are about where they were last March…so they are not THAT high) But, whenever rates do start to rise in a hurry, I invariably see pundits explaining how rising rates […]Read More