The Super Importance of a Well Crafted Bio!!

NOTE: Despite the cut in the Fed Funds Rate on Wednesday by the Fed, mortgage rates still remain at least 1/4% higher than where they were a few weeks ago. We frequently assist our agent partners with the enhancement of their “Digital Footprint.” An agent’s digital footprint is basically what potential clients see when they […]Read More

The Fed Cut Rates by 1/4 Point And Mortgage Rates Fell Marginally

The Fed cut the Fed Funds Rate by 1/4 percent yesterday, and rates…actually fell after the announcement. I was almost disappointed to see that b/c it will again confuse people about the influence the Fed has on mortgage rates. Briefly and once again – the Fed cut “The Fed Funds Rate” which is a short […]Read More

“This Is the Biggest Predictor of Career Success”

My brother recently shared this article from Inc. Magazine that explains the biggest predictor of career success. It is NOT “talent, brains, grit, luck or connections.” The biggest predictor of success is being part of an open network. To explain what an open network is the author defines its opposite – a closed network. A […]Read More

Will Rates Fall Again? Yes, But Probably Not Soon

Barry Habib is a relatively famous mortgage industry pundit and a Broadway musical producer (l learned today) who was on The National Real Estate Post today discussing the future of interest rates. He has a lot of credibility in the industry as of late b/c he has become relatively skilled at predicting interest rate movements, […]Read More

“This was the worst week for mortgage rates in 3 years – and it may be just the beginning”

Rates fell sharply on Wednesday and everyone breathed a sigh of relief and started locking like crazy. But then rates shot up again yesterday and a friend of mine sent me this link to a short CNBC article with a title that I borrowed for the above subject line. Here are the article’s key points: […]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

Condo Spot Approvals (again), Reserves, Time-Frames; Rate Volatility

RATE VOLATILITY On Monday, a top producing loan officer/friend told me over dinner how much he loves the lack of volatility in the current rate environment. He explained that it allows him to float (not lock in rates) for many of his borrowers until he has the time and capacity to process their loans. But […]Read More

What Are iBuyers (Zillow/Opendoor) Really About? Lead Gen, Revenue Growth & Friction

Inman has a great video about iBuyers (companies that buy homes directly from consumers) called “Battle of the Behemoths” and it conveys a really interesting perspective. Zillow hopped into the iBuyer market for reasons many don’t understand. iBuying for Revenue Growth First of all, Zillow’s revenue growth from their “Premier Agent” program (selling Zillow leads) […]Read More

Will a Recession Tank Housing Prices? Probably Not…

I know numerous people who are anxiously waiting for the next recession b/c they expect housing prices to tank. They can’t wait to swoop in and find bargains like the many that were available after the 2008 meltdown. BUT, according to Appraisal-Blogger-Extraordinaire, Ryan Lundquist, housing prices don’t always “correct” or decrease during recessions. Prices often […]Read More

FHA: “Condo Complexes No Longer Have to Be FHA Approved” – Spot Approvals Return!

About ten years ago “FHA Spot Approvals” went the way of the dodo bird, in that they disappeared. This was devastating to a lot of FHA buyers b/c condos were all that they could afford in their markets and so many condo complexes are NOT FHA approved. Fortunately, however, HUD/FHA will again allow for “Spot […]Read More

Bankruptcies Up; How Long Do They Have to Season for Mortgage Financing?

In another indication that we are at the tail end of a business growth cycle, Bankruptcy (BK) filings are increasing even though the economy remains relatively strong. BK filings were up 3% year over year in July, with 64,000 filings nationwide. And, almost 800,000 people are expected to file for BK protection by year-end, as […]Read More

Luck vs. Talent; The Risk of Confusing the Two

One of my favorite podcasts is “How I Built This,” as I mention often. In the podcast, entrepreneurs tell their stories (often terrifying) of what it took to get their companies off the ground. There are usually two recurring themes: (1) the founders had to go through hell and back to achieve their success and […]Read More

Bridge Loans; Buying Before Selling – Best Financing Option

BUYING BEFORE SELLING Sellers often want to buy a new home before selling their current residence for a variety of reasons. They might want more time to move, more time to fix up their current house before selling, or more time to fix up the new house before moving in. They also sometimes want to […]Read More

Fannie & Freddie Breaking Off From Government Control?

INTEREST RATES COULD SHOOT UP AT ANYTIME We often remind both borrowers and agents that interest rates are generally expected to remain low for some time, but that does not mean they cannot shoot up unexpectedly. Our point is that both buyers and current mortgage holders should take advantage of today’s low rates now before […]Read More

Credit Inquiries – Way Too Much Concern

Over 500 borrowers come to JVM every month seeking mortgages. And way too many of them are far too concerned about credit inquiries. It is our strongest borrowers who are often the most concerned, which is ironic b/c they are the least affected by credit inquiries. This is b/c credit inquires only affect a strong […]Read More

No Appraisals For Loans Under $400,000; “New Home Premium;” Appraised Value’s Not Market Value

I want to share a few more interesting comments about appraisals today. On Wednesday I blogged about how appraisers can’t ignore comps that don’t support value. The agents wanted us to use dated comps and ignore more recent comps, but appraisers of course can’t do that b/c underwriters and reviewers will see the ignored comps […]Read More

WeWork’s Pending Crash; Expanding During Good Times?

Scott Galloway is an NYU business professor and entrepreneur whose commentary I love! Recently, he has been beating the heck out of WeWork and what he says is a ridiculous over-valuation. For those of you who don’t know, WeWork is a shared-office-space-provider that caters to entrepreneurs and small business people, and it is currently booming. […]Read More

Why Appraisers Can’t Ignore Comps That Hurt Value

The 1990s were good and bad for appraisers. They were bad b/c appraisers had to use analog sources (books and printouts) to find comparable sales; they were not online. They also had to take analog photos and glue them to old fashioned paper reports. The 1990s were good for appraisers b/c there were no appraisal […]Read More

DANGER! Appraisal Waivers Can Disappear!

I recently blogged about the increasing occurrence of Appraisal Waivers. If a particular property is already in Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s database, it could be eligible for an Appraisal Waiver, meaning no property inspection or appraisal will be required. Some lenders are offering to check for possible appraisal waiver status for particular properties for […]Read More

How “No Cost Loans” and “Lender Credits” Work; No Free Lunches

“NO COST” Vs. “NO POINTS” REFI We recently locked in a $775,000 refinance loan at 3.625% at “no cost.”  (Keep in mind that many factors affect a borrower’s rate, so these numbers only reflect one particular borrower.) “No cost” means that we will use our commission or rebate to pay for all of the borrower’s […]Read More

Why Nobody Takes ARMs (Adjustable Rates); Inverted Yield Curves; Recessions

SELLING ARMS IN THE 1990s There was an event in 1995 that gave a wonderfully powerful jolt to my book of business. A sales rep from a lender called LaSalle came by our office and told us about the Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) his firm offered. They were 5 and 7 year ARMs in the […]Read More

Mortgage Debt Hits Record High of $9.4 Trillion! Time to Worry?

  According to this WSJ article, mortgage debt hit a record high of $9.4 trillion in the 2nd Quarter of this year. This exceeds the previous record of $9.3 trillion set in 2008, prior to the mortgage meltdown. Should we be worried that we are now back to pre-meltdown debt levels? In a word – […]Read More

Tenacity & Focus vs. Training, Seminars, Self-Help, Organizing, Inputting, & Fixing Your Business

Of all the agents we work with (over 800 and counting), one of the most successful, by far, is a buyer’s agent on a very successful team. She is successful via every major metric – units, total volume, and income. What makes her so successful though is simply her tenacity and focus. She does not […]Read More

Big Companies Use A.I. to Push Customer Abuse to Its Limit; Lessons?

“Everyone Hates Customer Service” was the title of a recent and fascinating WSJ article about large companies using Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to abuse customers right up to the point where they’re ready to leave for a competitor. It is only at that point that the companies will bend to a customer’s wishes in order to […]Read More

Do Borrowers Get to “Skip” a Payment When They Refinance? Purchase?

NO COST DOES NOT MEAN NO “CASH TO CLOSE” Almost all of our refinances are “no cost” loans, meaning that we, as a lender, cover all of the “non-recurring closing costs” (title, escrow, appraisal, underwriting, etc.) with our commission or rebate. Borrowers often get confused though b/c they interpret “no cost” as “no cash to […]Read More

Trade Wars Spark Lowest Rates Since 2016; Why?

Over the last four business days, rates have fallen to their lowest levels since 2016. The primary reason is an escalating trade war with China; it was not the Fed’s rate cut, as I have now mentioned more than a few times, as the rate cut was highly anticipated and fully accounted for long before […]Read More

When Can Borrowers Lock Their Rate? Rate Volatility

BORROWERS OFTEN WANT TO LOCK PRIOR TO GETTING INTO CONTRACT Borrowers often want to lock in their interest rates prior to going into contract (they typically want to take advantage of low rates before they go up). We are unfortunately unable to do so b/c we need to identify a property address before we can […]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

Why Fed Rate Cuts Often Don’t Result In Lower 30-Year Fixed Rates

The Fed reduced the Fed Funds Rate by 1/4 percent and 30-year fixed rates are actually now slightly HIGHER. I have blogged about this paradox many times b/c it is so confusing to borrowers and agents alike. Many of our clients are in fact asking us if they can now get a 1/4 percent lower […]Read More

Technology Working – Finally! Small Businesses Can Compete With Big!

SOFTWARE FIRM HONORS PROMISES – 20 YEARS LATE I frequently tell a story about a huge mortgage software company (now the biggest in the industry) that came to me in the late 1990s, offering me online app tools, drop-down fee schedules, awesome user-interfaces, customer portals, and everything else. And – 20 years later, they finally […]Read More

Appraisal Waivers More Common Now; Here’s Why

Prior to 2016, every mortgage required an appraisal.  That changed, however, in 2016 when Fannie Mae started to offer “Property Inspection Waivers” or “PIWs.” In 2017, both Fannie and Freddie started to offer PIWs for both refi’s and purchases. I blogged about this in early 2018, pointing out two things: PIWs are less common than […]Read More

Home Sales Fall Despite Falling Rates; Is the End Finally Here? We Can Only Hope :)

TULIP MANIA In the 1630s, the Dutch experienced one of the world’s first major financial bubbles – Tulip Mania. They were all convinced that the price of the exotic (at the time) tulip bulbs would increase forever, not taking into account how easy it was to reproduce them and how the ridiculously high prices were […]Read More

Leverage Your Database Before Amazon Does; Amazon Teams Up With Realogy

Most readers have probably heard this already but Amazon is teaming up with Realogy to match homebuyers with real estate agents through a program called TurnKey. This is a huge deal b/c of the size of the partners. Amazon is the world’s largest retailer and Realogy, which owns NRT, Better Homes, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, […]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

Predictive Analytics – Why You Need Them

On Friday I blogged about life events that influence a decision to move and big data and mentioned that I’d elaborate on Predictive Analytics today. I mentioned also that we used to work with SmartZip (the true Predictive Analytics pioneer) and that we have four team members who worked for SmartZip for years. So, we […]Read More

Life Events That Influence Decisions to Move; Big Data

Zillow, with all of its faults, often publishes interesting articles. A recent example is Behind Every Move Is a Story (Life Events That Influence Decisions to Move). It is of course no surprise that major life events influence decisions to move – almost 70% of all movers surveyed experienced one or more major “life events” […]Read More

Who Funds Mortgage Loans? Banks, Credit Unions, Mortgage Banks, and Brokers

We host “Homebuyer Seminars” for buyers and “Mortgage 101 Seminars” for agents, and one of the slides that always derives a surprising amount of interest is the one that sets out the different mortgage origination channels. This is b/c there are so many companies and individuals offering mortgages that it can be both very confusing […]Read More

“No Mike, your new faucet does not add $100,000 to your home’s appraised value;” Market Not That Sensitive

Homeowners are often very confused about how much improvements will impact the appraised value of their properties. Major improvements such as a new pool, a remodel or an addition to a home will almost always add value, as most people know. But confusion arises with minor and/or “functionally obsolete” improvements – b/c the markets are […]Read More

Protect Your Local Lender :) (Even If It Is Not Us)

I remember the vicious phone call vividly. I took BART into the City on a Friday night to meet my wife Heejin for a date and was climbing the stairs out of Embarcadero station when I received a call from the angriest borrower I had ever dealt with. She was spitting nails, vitriol and profanity […]Read More

iBuyers; Higher Fees vs Lower Commission; Friction Avoidance All Over Again

The National Real Estate Post recently posted this interesting comparison of iBuyers and real estate agents. As most of you know, iBuyers are large firms that buy homes from sellers outright so sellers don’t have to go to the trouble of listing and showing their homes. The iBuyers then resell the properties as quickly as […]Read More

Competing With Builder Financing – False Enticements & Lender Credits!

Most new home builders offer large credits to buyers who opt to use the builder’s preferred mortgage company. The credits come in the form of interior “upgrades” (better floor coverings, cabinets, appliances, etc.) and/or in the form of closing costs. Sometimes the builders’ offers are very competitive b/c the builders are willing to “give away […]Read More

Occupancy Checks – What Are They and Why?

I remember the turmoil and state of panic like it was yesterday, even though it happened during my first month in the business in 1994. A lender that funded one of our brokered loans did an “occupancy check” about a month after our loan closed and discovered that the borrower had lied about occupancy. The […]Read More

Why ALL Lenders Must Pay Appraisers Extra and Promptly!

AGENT SENDS COMPETING LOAN OFFICER TO US FOR ADVICE An agent we know well recently referred another loan officer to us to get advice in regard to how to finance a Site Condo (a stand-alone unit on a condo lot) he had listed. The loan officer was having great difficulty obtaining financing for her client/buyer, […]Read More

Pursuit of Happiness :)

“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Thomas Jefferson wrote that famous line in the Declaration of Independence, leaders and philosophers the world over all thought “WTF?” This is b/c no official document had ever […]Read More

Happy Fourth of July! A Few Fun Facts

Given that few people are working today, I am keeping the blog short with only a few Fourth of July Fun Facts:  Most Declaration of Independence Signers Signed on August 2nd. Only two people signed on July 4th, so we might be celebrating the wrong date. John Adams and others wanted July 2nd to be […]Read More

Glassdoor (Workplace Reviews) for Talent and Customers!

When someone Googles “JVM Lending” two of the most prominent search results are our Glassdoor reviews – and nothing could make me happier! Glassdoor is an extremely popular website where former and current team members share anonymous reviews. And team-member-reviews can often say far more about a company than all of its marketing and customer-reviews […]Read More

New Condo Complexes/Phases Do NOT Have to Be Complete

Many loan officers and real estate agents mistakenly believe that condo projects and/or phases within a project must be complete before units within them are eligible for mortgage financing. We, however, have an investor that offers new construction condo financing as long as only the building containing the unit is complete. Again – neither the […]Read More

Nasty Fake Yelp Review – Follow Up; Yelp Horror Stories; Poor Yelp :)

I received so much feedback from yesterday’s blog that I felt compelled to follow up today. The responses were so overwhelmingly anti-Yelp, that I actually thought to myself: “poor Yelp” 😊 Yelp is, however, not exactly “poor,” as they apparently net anywhere from $10 to $20 million per quarter (although recent data was suspiciously hard […]Read More

Angry Competitor Gives Us Nasty Fake “One-Star” Yelp Review :)

Back in the olden days (circa 2004), when loan officers ran up against tough competition they had to buckle down and offer lower rates and better service to compete. In 2019, not so much. Now they just leave nasty fake Yelp reviews. What is amusing is that the loan officer clearly didn’t do his homework […]Read More

Pending Divorce Can Be A Deal Killer; Rent Backs; Delayed Financing

Here a few quick reminders: Pending Divorces can be deal killers. This is b/c underwriters need to know what the final obligations will be for both spouses before they can issue a loan approval. If a divorce is pending with no finalized and recorded divorce decree, underwriters have no way of knowing what a spouse’s […]Read More