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Homebuying For Healthcare Workers

Down Payment Assistance Programs For Healthcare Workers Buying a home while also being a healthcare worker can be difficult, especially for homebuyers who are healthcare workers in California. The added stress of managing your finances to fund your down payment can make your home purchase seem incredibly daunting. Luckily, in California, there are some excellent […]Read More

4 Reasons Why Real Estate Is One of The Best Inflation Hedges!

INFLATION ON THE HORIZON Major inflation seems all but inevitable in light of our burgeoning supply chain issues, massive government spending, enormous money supply infusions (printing), climbing CPI numbers, and skyrocketing PPI numbers. Because of this, I want to remind everyone why real estate is one of the best inflation hedges available. By “inflation hedge” […]Read More

Conforming Loan Limit Up to $625,000? Jumping the Gun and Why It Matters

HIGHER CONFORMING LOAN LIMITS ANNOUNCED EVERY YEAR Every year, usually in late November, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announces the new conforming loan limits for every geographic area for the following calendar year. Shortly thereafter most every mortgage lender follows suit and starts to offer higher conforming loan amounts as well. Two quick reminders: […]Read More

Why Homebuyers Need To Use A Real Estate Agent

WHEN BUYERS REPRESENT THEMSELVES IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS – BAD THINGS HAPPEN 😊 Many years ago when I was new to the business, I wrote a purchase contract for one of my borrowers for a property in the hills of Oakland, CA. I thought it would be an easy way for her and I to […]Read More

The #1 Reason Renters Want To Buy A Home

FIXED HOUSING PAYMENT IS NOT THE BIGGEST INCENTIVE TO BUY In August I blogged about Rent Vs. Buy Comparisons In the Age of Inflation, pointing out how comforting it is to buy a home and lock in a fixed housing payment when rents have been climbing as much as 30% per year in some markets. […]Read More

No Housing Bubble Here Part XXII; 12 Million More Households Than In 2007!

17% ANNUAL APPRECIATION SCARES PUNDITS Housing appreciated 16.6% from May of 2020 to May of 2021. This is a record and it is again sparking media concerns that we are in a housing bubble. So, I am hitting the issue again to allay concerns, and I am again relying on our friend Barry Habib, founder […]Read More

When 5% Down Scares Away Sellers – What To Do?

  Half of all homebuyers getting a mortgage in April put down over 20%.  In the past ten years, the percentage of homebuyers putting 20% down has exceeded 50% three times. That is a big deal b/c all three times were relatively recent. In addition, over 25% of purchases in April were all cash. This […]Read More

Homebuying Hell In 2021! A Real Homebuyer’s Story (It’s Motivational, I Promise)

GUEST BLOG FROM A HOMEBUYER & A JVM MANAGER Below is a guest blog by our long-time Marketing Director, Lindsey Hansen. She wanted to share what she went through to buy a home so frustrated buyers everywhere will know they are not alone. And, more importantly, so buyers know that they should hang in there. […]Read More

8 Tips For Getting Offers Accepted

Yesterday, I listened to my wife Heejin talk a listing agent into accepting our client’s offer – even though there were four higher-priced offers (out of 13 in total). The seller accepted our offer because Heejin touted the strength of our pre-approval, our guarantee to close on time, and how awesome our client (an extraordinarily […]Read More

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. What Is A Purchase Mortgage A […]Read More

Covering Appraisal Shortfalls

Whenever the market heats up like this, particularly in the springtime, appraisals invariably come in low. This is simply because there are often no closed comparable sales (comps) that even come close to supporting current contract prices, especially when there are bidding wars. REMINDER: Appraisers can only use comps that close prior to the appraiser’s […]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

How Long Does It Take To Get Pre-Approved And Apply For A Mortgage?

Agents frequently ask us how long it takes to apply for a loan, and how long it takes to get pre-approved (so they can share the info with their clients). Our answer is always that “it depends” b/c there are so many variables, but that it takes much less time than it did in the […]Read More

Why A Home Inspection Is Crucial For Homebuyers

Many homebuyers have found the perfect home, signed the paperwork, and may think they’re good to go. However, that is not the case. Even if you’ve done your research and saved your money and made an offer on the perfect house, you need to have a home inspection. Unfortunately, to save a little cash, some […]Read More

How Much Can You Afford To Spend On A Home?

DETERMINING YOUR HOUSING BUDGET Many homebuyers are unsure how much they can afford to spend on a home. Even if homebuyers could be pre-approved for a home at the top of their budget, they might be more comfortable with a lower monthly payment when considering their full financial profile. Many homebuyers benefit from using a […]Read More

Four Common Earnest Money Questions Answered

For those planning to take out a mortgage and purchase a home, homebuyers need to make what is called an earnest money deposit. First-time homebuyers typically have lots of questions concerning earnest money deposits: What is earnest money mean? Who is required to pay it? What is the average amount for an earnest money deposit? […]Read More

Down Payment Assistance Options For California Homebuyers

Saving up with the funds for a down payment can be difficult. Luckily, there are some mortgage down payment assistance options available to California homebuyers that are seeking as little as zero down. In California, the two most popular 0% down loan options are: USDA rural loan program and the VA mortgage program for veterans […]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

The Earnest Money Deposit Process

First-time homebuyers generally have lots of questions when it comes to Earnest Money Deposits (EMD). What Is An Earnest Money Deposit? Earnest Money Deposits are a portion of the purchase price that the homebuyer pays upfront to show the seller that the buyer’s offer is serious, in good faith, and “valid.” This deposit can be […]Read More

What Is APR And Why Is It So Important?

Why do potential homebuyers make such a big deal about APR? APR can give them a deeper understanding of how much their mortgage will cost them over the loan’s life and is also a great tool to use to compare offers from different lenders. The term “APR” will show up on many documents and is […]Read More

Different Types Of Mortgage Loans For Homebuyers

Homebuyers have many options when it comes to mortgage loans. Whichever loan you choose should be the best fit for your specific situation. Each program has particular qualifications and requirements. This blog will explain the details of the different types of loans that most homebuyers will encounter when planning their home purchase. FIXED-RATE LOANS Fixed-rate […]Read More

What Is The Average Cost Of Homeowner’s Insurance?

Homebuyers are typically required to obtain homeowner’s insurance in order to get their mortgage approved and funded. The average cost of homeowner’s insurance in California is $1,166 annually or approximately $97 per month in 2020. California boasts the second-cheapest homeowner’s insurance rates nationwide, which is a huge boon for California homebuyers. In Texas, the average […]Read More

3 Reasons Refi Rates Are Higher Than Purchase Rates

“The average rate posted on Bankrate.com for a 30-year fixed refinance mortgage was 3.39% Monday, well above the 3.14% on offer for a purchase mortgage, according to the personal-finance website.” That is a direct quote from this WSJ article about why refi rates are higher than purchase rates. As an aside, I love Bankrate’s “average […]Read More

Rent Credits For Down Payment Funds

This is a quick reminder that renters can use “rent credits” towards their down payment. The entire down payment can be in the form of a rent credit in fact. The amount of the credit is the cumulative difference between the “Market Rent” and the “Actual Rent” paid. For example, if the market rent for […]Read More

Habib’s Optimistic Housing Market Predictions; What About Agents Who Are Unable to Leave Home?

Everyone is asking and wondering what will happen to the housing market as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. And fortunately one of the most accurate prognosticators weighed in on the topic in this recent Housing News Podcast. The prognosticator is Barry Habib, CEO of MBS Highway. I quote him often b/c he is apolitical […]Read More

5 Reasons Why There Is Demand For Housing Right Now

5 Reasons Why There Is Demand For Housing Right Now There are numerous signs that the purchase market is coming back to life and that there is an increasing demand for housing. Anecdotally, the number of pre-approval requests in our office are up over 50% from our March and April averages. The number of ratified […]Read More

Why People Remain Bullish On The Housing Market; Foreign Buyers

There are numerous signs that the purchase market is coming back to life. Anecdotally, the number of pre-approval requests in our office are up over 50% from our March and April averages. The number of ratified contracts rolling in has surged to levels not seen since last spring, with 13 coming in last Monday alone. […]Read More

Qualifying After Returning to Work

Many people are wondering how soon laid off and furloughed borrowers will qualify for mortgage financing once they return to work. EMPLOYMENT GAP UNDER SIX MONTHS If the layoff or furlough lasts less than six months, lenders will be able to fund most loans as soon as borrowers return to work (for conforming, FHA and […]Read More

New Reasons to Buy Now; Conforming Loan Limit Reminders

THE CRAZIEST THING HAPPENED LAST WEEK… A seller in an extremely hot market agreed to $15,000 of credits and concessions after the inspection reports came back. We are still seeing a lot of purchase activity and the above is one of the reasons why – sellers are suddenly much more flexible. In today’s fast-changing market, […]Read More

The New Millennial Housing Market in Texas

Millennial buyers (those born 1981-1997) have quickly entered the housing market and they are rapidly becoming the largest and fastest-growing demographic. A 2020 Realtor.com forecast gave the estimation that 51% of the housing market will be comprised of millennials, outnumbering both Generation X and Baby Boomers combined. This will be especially prevalent in Texas markets […]Read More

Appraisal Waivers; Appraisal Contingency Waivers; & DANGER!

Many lenders are again touting “Appraisal Waivers” as something unique that only they offer. Appraisal or “Property Inspection Waivers” are, however, available to every borrower obtaining a “conforming” loan (that conforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines). Fannie and Freddie simply use an algorithm that decides when to grant appraisal waivers. If we get […]Read More

10% Down to $1.24 Million; 5% Down to $1.07 Million

“High Balance” Conforming Loan Limits are now $765,600 in “High Cost” areas, which include much of coastal California including the Bay Area. These much higher conforming limits now allow buyers to purchase homes in the $1 million+ range with much smaller down payments – if they couple their first mortgage with a “piggyback” Home-Equity-Line-of-Credit (HELOC) […]Read More

Predictions for 2020 – Higher Rates; Tech Disruptions; Fight for Eyeballs; Collapse of Mortgage Industry; Start of Boom

I have read dozens of predictions of various sorts over the last month, so I thought I’d add a few of my own. HIGHER RATES While many pundits like Barry Habib (owner of MBS Highway) think there will be a recession next year, resulting in sharply lower rates (b/c all of our economic indicators have […]Read More

JVM Has A Down Payment Assistance Program; When Down Payment Assistance Programs Are Overrated

JVM offers the Chenoa Down Payment Assistance Program (DPAP). The “assistance” is a 3.5% (of purchase price) 2nd mortgage that can be coupled with either a 96.5% loan-to-value FHA loan or a 97% loan-to-value conforming loan. Hence, qualified borrowers can purchase a home with no down payment. The 3.5% 2nd mortgage is at a rate […]Read More

Only 21% Think “Now” Is A Good Time to Buy; Demographics Say Otherwise

CONFIDENCE IN BUYING DROPS Only 21% of Americans think now is a good time to buy a home, according to October’s Fannie Mae Housing Survey. This is down from 28% in September, and it shows that low rates do not drive purchase volume as much as many of us might suspect. In response to this, […]Read More

Which Week Is the “Black Friday” For Homebuying?

  This was the title of a Housing Wire article I read last week. I am lifting this directly from the article: “Apparently, the best time to purchase a house is the first week of Fall. This time of year, buyers have less competition, more price reductions and greater inventory, according to realtor.com. Out of […]Read More

Adding Eggs & Why Agents Should Let Sellers Help Sell Their Home

  When General Mills introduced Betty Crocker boxed cake mixes in the 1950s, they included dried eggs. Aspiring cooks just had to add water to the mix in order to get a perfect cake. But, the cakes were so easy and so good that women felt guilty about deceiving people and sales lagged. So, General […]Read More

Our Personal Experience With Big Bank Financing; Not So Good

Heejin and I are buying a property in Texas. B/c JVM is not yet licensed in Texas, we pursued financing with other lenders. B/c we are well qualified, Heejin submitted applications to numerous lenders so we could observe their processes and see what they had to offer. She focused on large banks and credit unions […]Read More

Watch Out For Loan Limit Changes When Crossing County Lines

We recently had an FHA approved buyer cross the bridge from Contra Costa County to Solano County to make a $600,000 FHA offer on a property. This price would have been no issue in Contra Costa County, but Solano County’s FHA Loan Limit is only $550,8500 and the buyer only qualified for FHA financing. As […]Read More

Benefits of Buying Now – Again; Fence-sitters

One of the most effective elements of our Homebuyers Seminars is explaining the benefits of buying now. We are repeating some of our reasons again, as we continue to see a lot of apprehension and b/c rates are rising. Benefits from buying: 1. Inflation Hedge; 2. Building Equity; 3. Feels Good to Own; and 4. […]Read More

Supplemental Tax Bills Often Blind Side Borrowers

Supplemental Property Taxes Homebuyers are often caught off-guard by Supplemental Property Tax Bills. To avoid this, we recently added the below section to our website, and we have made “Supplemental Taxes” a more prominent part of our buyer-education process. This is information every mortgage and real estate professional should know. Supplemental property taxes often create […]Read More

Rates May Fall per Forbes; Should Buyers Wait? No! No Cost Refis

Gary Shilling in a recent Forbes column (Dec. 6 issue) said that he thinks the markets massively over-reacted to Mr. Trump’s election. He points out that the root causes of weak economic growth (that have kept rates low) will remain. He also says that Trump’s proposed tax cuts and stimulus programs will be watered down […]Read More

Share Our Stuff, Please! Educating Buyers w/ Awesome Content

A borrower told us last week: “I asked the same question to three other loan officers before I read the FAQs on your website, and none of them came close to explaining the answer as clearly as your FAQs.” Our new website is chock full of crystal clear information that really seems to help buyers […]Read More

How to Buy Now Before Selling Current Home?

We are repeating a previous blog b/c we are getting so many related questions lately. HOW TO BUY BEFORE YOU SELL (buy a new home before you sell your current home) 1. Bridge Loans. These are temporary loans against a borrower’s current residence that can be used to help finance (provide down payment funds mostly) […]Read More

Do Sellers Care About Buyer’s Intentions? Yes. Great Story

One of our Realtors told us a great story yesterday. His potential buyer ran into a seller during a home-viewing, and the buyer mentioned to the seller that he intended to rent out the property. The listing agent later told our Realtor that his buyer’s bid was the highest and best, but the seller did […]Read More

How to Buy New House Before Selling Old House

We often have borrowers in a hurry to buy a new home before they sell their existing residence. Here are the options for borrowers not wanting to sell their existing home: 1. Bridge Loans. These are temporary loans against a borrower’s current residence that can be used to help finance (provide down payment funds mostly) […]Read More