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

In-N-Out vs. Five Guys – Pristine Systems Are Key!!

I had a brutal case of the flu last week and the only thing that sounded good at the tail end of it was cheeseburgers with raw onions. I have no idea why, but it did give me an opportunity to compare my local In-N-Out and Five Guys burger shops. And boy was it interesting! […]Read More

What Moves Interest Rates

I’ve touched on interest rates often in recent months b/c the most recent drop has been so surprising. Examples: Are Low Rates the New Normal? Rates Hit 19-Month Low; Will They Stay Low Borrowers and agents alike are nevertheless still asking if rates will stay low or move lower, so I thought it was time […]Read More

Much Better Alternative to “Hard Money” – “Investor Advantage”

We often get borrowers who lack sufficient verifiable income to qualify for competitive mortgages. If those borrowers had large down payments (25% to 30%), we used to refer them to our Hard Money or more euphemistically our “Private Money” sources, as they require nothing but collateral and a large down payment. But, we now fund […]Read More

JVM Has Never Funded A Mortgage Loan! Here’s Why.

In 13 years of business, JVM Lending has never funded a single mortgage loan. This is b/c there are actually no mortgages in CA and Texas, and JVM is really a “Deed of Trust” lender (as CA and Texas are “Deed of Trust” states). Everyone uses the term “mortgage” generically to refer to any loan […]Read More

Rental Car Horror Story – Analogous to … Everything!

My wife Heejin travels to our Texas branches every week and rents a car. She normally rents from Hertz Gold b/c it is so easy and frictionless – you literally just walk up, hop in the car of your choice and drive away. But, recently Hertz Gold was ridiculously overpriced b/c of a major event […]Read More

How Much Is a Huge Lot Worth? Probably Less Than You Think

Reminder: ALL of our blogs are on our website and are easily “searchable” by topic. In response to yesterday’s blog about the value of in-law units, I received numerous other appraisal-related inquiries including a few questions about lot-size. Agents are often frustrated b/c they think appraisers ignore or underestimate the value of larger lots. But, […]Read More

How Much is an “In-Law” Unit Worth? Interior Access; Less Than You Think

REALTOR MISSES VALUE OF HIS OWN HOME BY $500,000 Years ago I was refinancing a Realtor who insisted his remodeled 3,700 square foot home was worth at least $1.5 million. I was therefore shocked to see the appraisal come in under $1 million. I reviewed the appraisal and quickly realized why it was so low. […]Read More

Rates – “Sticky” Down; “Slippery” Up; Why We Like to Lock

Rates moved higher today primarily in response to the removal of tariff threats with Mexico. I mention often how good economic news (regarding employment, retail sales, GDP growth, trade, etc.) usually moves rates higher while bad news tends to push rates lower. But, the market’s response to good and bad news is not always proportional. […]Read More

Why Shake Shack’s Founder Is So Inspirational! “Hospitality vs. Service”; Success Recipe!!

60% of restaurants fail in their first year of business, and 80% are gone in five years. That is why people are so inspired by Danny Meyer, the founder of Gramercy Tavern, numerous other restaurants, and the entire Shake Shack chain. Virtually ALL of his restaurants thrive and his net worth is close to $700 […]Read More

Why Friendly Appraisers Should NOT Push Values Too Far; Review Appraisers Are Like Sharks

$125,000 APPRAISAL CUT KILLS DEAL Several years ago, we had a $700,000 purchase of a property with an unpermitted in-law unit in Concord, CA (very common in both our Bay Area and Austin markets). There was 1,600 square feet of permitted (legal) space and an additional 800 square feet of unpermitted space (the in-law unit). […]Read More

Internal Appraisal Panel; Why We Left the Broker Channel; Never Pushing Values

APPRAISER WHO LIVED 100 MILES FROM SUBJECT PROPERTY In October, I shared an appraisal horror story about a huge Appraisal Management Company hiring an appraiser who lived 100 miles away from our subject property. The appraiser crossed a major freeway to find comparable sales in a vastly inferior neighborhood, and came in $200,000 under contract […]Read More

All-Time Record Month!! Why and What Did We Learn?

May was another all-time record month for JVM Lending – with 83 loans and $45 Million funded. It is fun to look at what spurred our recent growth and success. Here are a few thoughts – in no particular order: True Agent Support.  We built out a highly effective agent support network that includes our […]Read More

Delayed Financing (Paying Cash & Refinancing After Close)

With so many cash-rich buyers in our California and Texas markets, we want to remind everyone that “Delayed Financing” is sometimes a great option for buyers. Delayed Financing is a conventional financing provision that allows “all-cash” buyers to immediately do a cash-out refinance after an all-cash purchase closes. The advantage for buyers of course is […]Read More

Why Borrowers Should Not Pay Points to Buy Down Interest Rates

EVERYONE WHO PAID POINTS IN 2009 WASTED THEIR MONEY In 2009, when rates fell below 5% we refinanced our entire database and many borrowers wanted to pay points to buy down their rate. As a reminder – a “point” is 1% of the loan amount. Our borrowers wanted to pay points b/c: (1) they thought […]Read More

“Rates Hit 19-Month Low” – Why? Will They Stay Low? Rate Roll-Downs

Rates hit a 19-month low and the headlines prompted some of our borrowers to ask about “rolling down” their locked-in rates. RATE “ROLL-DOWNS” Rates, however, have been hovering very close to their current levels for the last few months. So, while rates have bottomed out, the improvements have been marginal. When lenders lock in a […]Read More

Equity Lines and Mortgage Funds = Seasoned Funds

This is a quick reminder that “cash out” from equity lines, second mortgages and first mortgages is considered to be “seasoned funds” no matter how recently the cash was obtained. Lenders want to make sure all funds are “sourced” and “seasoned.” “Sourced” simply means that we know exactly where the funds came from – which […]Read More

Away Luggage; Partnership, Networking and Life Lessons

I recently found out that my L.L. Bean luggage is very uncool 😊. My niece let me know after she listened to Away’s founder on this recent How I Built This Podcast – another episode I highly recommend b/c it was so fascinating and inspiring. I told my son about the podcast, and he too […]Read More

Why Cash-Heavy Buyers Should Put LESS Down – Liquidity and Investment Returns!

We have had so many “cash-rich” borrowers ask us if they should put more money down lately, that we thought we should repeat this popular blog. Long-story-short:  borrowers usually should not put more money down as long as they have optimal financing and are not paying mortgage insurance. Borrowers also should not be so gung-ho […]Read More

Why Lenders Have to “Beat Up” Borrowers

Our well-heeled borrowers often get extremely frustrated when we ask them to chase down seemingly inane conditions. They will say: “I can just pay cash for the entire house… WHY do I need to provide this?” This happens so often that it prompted me to repeat this blog from a few years ago. BEATING UP […]Read More

Lenders Often Don’t Need Tax Returns

It is a common misconception that lenders always need two years of tax returns for income verification. They don’t. If borrowers are “W2 Wage Earners” only, with no self-employment or side income of any kind, lenders often only need two years of W2s and a month’s worth of paystubs for income verification. These “W2 only” […]Read More

Your Clients Will Google You, And You’re Losing Them

We work with an agent who closes 150 transactions per year, and her “Google presence” is practically perfect. While her Google presence is not the only reason she does so much business, it is a major contributor. When people Google just her name (and nothing else), the search results literally dominate page 1 of Google. […]Read More

Cash Out Vs. Rate & Term Refis – What’s The Big Deal?

Prior to the 2008 meltdown, as much 90% of all refinances were “cash out,” meaning borrowers increased their loan amount with almost every refinance. That percentage has since dropped to about 50%, as borrowers are more conservative nowadays and they don’t want to incur the extra cost associated with cash out refinances. Borrowers are allowed […]Read More

Buying Out Spouse/Partner = Refi; Not Cash Out or Purchase

We recently received the below email from a borrower who left us for what he thought was a lower rate.  “Hi Casey, The other lending company fell through and couldn’t get us a loan in time. Their customer support was horrible and wouldn’t provide me with a direct answer. We would like to see if […]Read More

The Main Step To Becoming a Social Media Influencer

I watched WFG Title’s “Ten Steps to Becoming a Social Media Influencer” yesterday, and step #1 was the best by far! Every Realtor and Lender should become an “influencer” of sorts b/c it all but guarantees a loyal referral base. A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in […]Read More

7 Dangers From Falling for “Rate Quotes”

Our borrowers come to us constantly with rate quotes from other lenders, and that is all well and good because our rates are very low and we love competition! What is not good though is that those quotes are often misleading or inaccurate, or they can’t be honored at all. And worst of all from […]Read More

The Extreme Need for Nice – Part II

My wife Heejin recently received the below text from an agent: “I just LOVE your team. You and Jay did good. These people are such beautiful souls. Jenna really helped me yesterday with some issues that were encumbering being able to sign some disclosures and she was so kind, upbeat, and loving. Makes such a […]Read More

Appraisers Need Ratified Contracts & Comps That Close Prior to Inspection

APPRAISERS NEED RATIFIED CONTRACTS This is a reminder that we need a fully ratified contract (signed by all parties) before we can order an appraisal. This is a regulatory requirement and many appraisers won’t even accept orders without ratified contracts. Appraisers need ratified contracts so they can review all the terms within it to see […]Read More

Expect The Worst & Be Happier – Restraint, Logic, and Moving On

Years ago, we spent several hours and over five hundred dollars cleaning up a borrower’s credit. As a “thank you,” the borrower went silent on us, never paid us, and took his cleaned-up credit to another lender to finance his purchase. The borrower’s duplicity enraged me and there was nothing I could do about it, […]Read More

Seller & Lender Credit Guidelines

Here are a few quick reminders/guidelines for Seller and Lender Credits. If a credit is specified to be for a repair anywhere in a purchase contract, the repairs will have to be completed PRIOR to close of escrow. We will need to show proof they are complete with either an appraiser’s or a licensed contractor’s […]Read More

Comparable Sales Appraisers Can & CAN’T Use

Realtors often send our Appraisal Manager comparable sales (comps) to review for their upcoming appraisal appointments or for rebuttals when appraisals come in low. The problem is that we often cannot use the comps b/c they are so far outside of standard appraisal guidelines. This happened recently when an agent sent us comps that were […]Read More

Income Continuance – Three Years Is All We Ask

When my dog Kevin was issuing pre-approvals based on Desktop Underwriting (DU) findings only, one of his biggest mistakes was not verifying “Income Continuance.” Lenders cannot use Child Support, Alimony, Disability, or Retirement income unless they have proof that it will continue for a minimum of three years after close of escrow. For example, if […]Read More

Ego, Hubris, Hot Markets, & WAMU’s Collapse

I don’t share this often but I used to play in a summertime three-on-three basketball league with Steph Curry and LeBron James (they were my teammates). We not only went 25 and 0, we held every other team scoreless! After two seasons of this, I knew I was great at basketball. So, I dropped Steph […]Read More

How Much Do HOA Dues Zap Purchasing Power?

We recently had a buyer who desperately wanted to qualify for a condo purchase but could not b/c the HOA dues were $800 per month! This prompted me to remind agents and buyers alike of just how much purchasing power HOA dues extract from buyers. In the above situation, $800 of HOA dues equates to […]Read More

Appraisal Condition/Health & Safety Issues to Watch For!

Realtors are often frustrated about “condition” and “health & safety” issues that get called out by appraisers, and they come to us for guidance. They obviously want to avoid getting conditions called out by appraisers that will either cost too much to repair, delay closings, or kill deals altogether. Our Appraisal Manager, Jennifer Muzzall, provided […]Read More

Are Low Rates The “New Normal?” The Fed Is Irrelevant

For years I have been repeating the predictions of various market experts about how interest rates have to go up at some point. And for years, I have been dead wrong! My wrongness was only illuminated again with the recent dramatic drop in rates. All this only makes me think that low rates may now […]Read More