What Homebuyers Really Want In A Lender

The lender you refer your clients to is a reflection on you. I repeat that often because it is true and because we meet so many agents who are having issues with their lenders. In light of this, JD Power’s recent survey of borrowers should be of particular interest, as it illuminates what borrowers look […]Read More

8 Ways To Lower Debt Ratios & Qualify for More

I repeat this topic from time to time b/c “Debt Ratios” weigh so heavily in our pre-approval process and b/c tight debt ratios so often prevent borrowers from buying the property they want. I explain what debt ratios are and how we calculate them in this past blog. 8 Ways to Lower Debt Ratios: Put less money […]Read More

Five Misleading Closing Cost Tricks the Big Banks Play

We sent out this blog right after the New Year and feel it is worth repeating now, as we’ve seen the below scenarios play out more and more recently. We have been stealing a lot of loans lately from the big banks b/c our service is better and our rates are lower. As a result, […]Read More

When Renovation (203k) Loans Are Not Practicable

Renovation loans, also known as “203k” or “Homestyle” loans, are an awesome resource for properties that are badly in need of major repairs or updating. These loans allow buyers to finance major home improvements with their initial purchase money mortgage by increasing the mortgage to cover the cost of improvements. For major repairs required by flood, […]Read More

Five Misleading Closing Cost Tricks the Big Banks Play

We have been stealing a lot of loans lately from the big banks b/c our service is better and our rates are lower. As a result, the big banks are using some very aggressive and often misleading tactics to win borrowers back. These tactics include massively understating closing costs and then implying that their closing […]Read More

Cracking the Perfect Credit Score? Don’t Bother…

200 MILLION AMERICANS NOW HAVE FICO SCORES About 200 million Americans now have FICO Scores, and about 3 million have perfect scores of 850, according to this Bloomberg article – “How More Americans Are Getting a Perfect Credit Score.” America may be approaching “peak credit score” with average scores now above where they were at […]Read More

Seller 2nds/Carrybacks Are Kosher; See Our Winter Seller’s Guide

SELLER CARRYBACKS In yesterday’s blog about how sellers can help buyers, I failed to mention an important avenue – Seller Carrybacks or Seller 2nds. Almost all conforming loans allow for seller carrybacks as long as: (1) buyers still meet the minimum down payment requirements – usually 5% of purchase price or more; (2) the note’s […]Read More

How Sellers Can Help Cash-Strapped Buyers (They Can’t Gift Funds)

SELLER CAN’T GIFT FUNDS An agent recently asked us if a seller could gift funds to a cash-strapped buyer to help the buyer get into the home. The answer unfortunately is no. This is what sellers can do to help cash-strapped buyers. 1. Closing Cost Credits. Sellers can give credits up to 6% of the […]Read More

5 Reasons Why This Winter Is The Best Time To Buy

Most of our agent-readers well know why winter can be a great time to buy from a real estate perspective. I am nonetheless repeating a few of the obvious reasons while also illuminating a few less-obvious mortgage-related reasons. 1. Rates Hit Six Week Low! While rates have been climbing for most of the year, they […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents With Every Offer

This is another reminder that we love to call listing agents when offers are made simply b/c it is so effective. Listing agents have in fact told us on numerous occasions that it was our phone calls that pushed our buyers to the top. When we call, we follow the same script every time and […]Read More

The Dispute Over Disputing Disputes (On Credit Reports)

One of our most frequent credit issues involves reported “disputes.” Borrowers report an account in “dispute” whenever they believe some credit data (usually late payments) is reported in error. We usually need to remove the “disputes” from the credit report altogether with an expensive “rapid rescore” and borrowers often do not like this. We must […]Read More

Funding Process Explained; Why Wet/Table Funding Isn’t Favorable

We have had a string of buyers relocating to California from the East Coast lately, and they are confused about the closing process out here. For most purchases in California, the loan is not immediately ready to fund after a borrower signs their loan documents. The “funding package” (signed loan documents and escrow conditions) needs […]Read More

JVM’s “Don’t List”; Things Not To Do After Getting Pre-Approved

With every pre-approval letter, we also include what we call our “Don’t List.” These are suggested actions to avoid to ensure borrowers remain qualified. These actions do not always kill deals, but they definitely have the potential. 1. Do NOT make large deposits that cannot be explained. All “large deposits” must be explained and/or “paper-trailed.” […]Read More

Credit Info to Know; Mortgage 101 Seminar on Tues, Oct 25th

Here is some credit information everyone in real estate should know. Mortgage companies pull credit from three bureaus and correlate to the middle of the three scores. For multiple borrowers, lenders always correlate to the borrower with the lowest middle score. Mortgage credit scores are usually lower than consumer credit scores (found online) b/c mortgage […]Read More

How To Lower Debt Ratios 101

Experienced Mortgage Analysts (or Loan Officers) have many tools to lower debt ratios to help borrowers qualify for a larger loan. Here are a few that all loan officers should know: 1. Put less money down, and use down payment funds to pay off consumer debt. Mortgage debt has lower payments than consumer debt because […]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

Post-Close HELOC to Reclaim Liquidity; 90% CLTV

We often encourage buyers to put down 20% or more not just to avoid mortgage insurance, but also to make their offers much stronger and to allow us to close in 17 days (80/10/10 financing with two loans requires 21 days). Buyers are often reluctant to deplete their liquidity, borrow from 401ks, or access gift […]Read More

Why Young People Need To Buy Real Estate

We have many clients who come to us concerned about timing the market. While it is of course very advantageous to buy at the bottom, the reality is that nobody can truly know what the market will do over the next few years. The more important thing for young homebuyers to remember is that property […]Read More

JVM’s “Don’t List”; Things Not To Do After Pre-Approval

With every pre-approval letter, we also include what we call our “Don’t List.” These are suggested actions to avoid to ensure borrowers remain qualified. These actions do not always kill deals, but they definitely have the potential. JVM’s “Don’t List:” 1. Do NOT make large deposits that cannot be explained. All “large deposits” must be […]Read More

How To Know If Your Buyer Is Viable

We often have Realtors with eager buyers who want to view homes before the buyers have been pre-approved by us. To ensure no time is wasted on non-viable buyers, Realtors need to ask a few questions about the criteria that make buyers viable: (1) Credit; (2) Income; (3) Equity – Down Payment. Credit: Ask about […]Read More

Borrowers Should Postpone Vacations During Short Escrow Periods

We have a surprisingly large number of borrowers who use our fast closing periods to get their offers accepted, but then somewhat cavalierly wander off on vacation after their contract is ratified :). This makes it all but impossible for us to close on time if we have an escrow period under 21 days. Hence, […]Read More

How Long Is a “Pre-Approval Letter” Valid? Does It Expire?

We are often asked how long our pre-approval letters remain valid, or if they expire. Our pre-approval letters do not expire as long as all major qualifying factors remain the same. These factors include credit scores, total debt payments, income and cash available for a down payment and closing costs. This is why we send […]Read More

17 Day Close – Conventional and FHA Only; Nobody Closing Jumbos “Fast”

We tout our “Super 17” or 17 Day Closings often, but we need to emphasize that this is only for Conventional and FHA Loans, and not for Jumbo Loans. Nobody is closing jumbo loans fast. This is really important b/c our borrowers and Realtors are often confused about this. All jumbo lenders and investors are […]Read More

How To Lower Debt Ratios 101

Experienced Mortgage Analysts (or Loan Officers) have many tools to lower debt ratios to help borrowers qualify for a larger loan. Here are a few that all loan officers should know: 1. Put less money down, and use down payment funds to pay off consumer debt. Mortgage debt has lower payments than consumer debt b/c […]Read More

Using Departing Residence Rents; Equity Cushion; Appraisal Issue

Many homebuyers want to buy a new home before selling their existing residence. And, in most cases those buyers need the rental income from their current residence to qualify for their new purchase. Lenders no longer require “equity” in the departing residence before rental income can be used to qualify. And lenders will only use […]Read More

Angry, Frustrated & Suspicious Borrowers In The Age of Social Media

I once spent an extremely frustrating weekend defending a competitor to two exceptionally irate borrowers. Their transaction blew up at the 11th hour b/c an investor refused to sign off on an unexpected condition. So the lender, RPM Mortgage, was forced to go to another investor, delaying the transaction. The borrowers were irate b/c the […]Read More

Cash to Close – Part 27; Beating The Dead Horse Again

We hit this often but it is the cause of so much confusion and delay that we are addressing it again. Lenders need to carefully estimate how much cash will be necessary to close (for closing costs, reserves and down payments), and they need to fully educate borrowers in regard to “cash to close.” Most […]Read More

Major Purchases Prior To Close Are OK If Cash Is Ample; No Financing

Borrowers are usually told not to make any major purchases prior to buying a home or while they are in contract. This is b/c major purchases can either deplete necessary cash reserves or require additional borrowing or financing that might impact qualifying (the new debt might push debt ratios too high). If a borrower has […]Read More

Reminder About Necessary Bonus & Overtime History

We often get borrowers with substantial income in the previous tax year who do not qualify for the financing they desire. This is because a large portion of their income was comprised of either Overtime Pay, Bonus Income, Commissions, or Stock Options (exercised), and there is no “history” of earning such income in prior years. […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents and Touting Offers/Buyers

Now that the housing market is in full swing, I want to remind everyone that we are happy to call listing agents on our borrower’s behalf. We got several borrowers into contract this week only after speaking with the listing agent at length. B/c we fully pre-underwrite and pre-approve every one of our borrowers, we […]Read More

High Loan-To-Value Financing for Well-Healed Borrowers In Hot Markets

We often discuss high loan-to-value (LTV) financing (90% to 96.5%) with borrowers who would otherwise put down 20% or more. This is b/c they are making offers in very hot markets where there are simply not enough comparable sales to support the expected contract price. High LTV financing allows borrowers to put less money down […]Read More

Buying New Home Before Selling Old Home; Considerations

We frequently have borrowers come to us who want to buy a new home before selling their current home, so they are not left homeless. Here are the considerations and options (we address this often b/c it comes up so frequently). 1. Debt Ratios: Borrowers will need enough income to qualify for both the new […]Read More

College = Job History; CD Flexibility w/ Seller Credits

Reminder #1: Borrowers fresh out of college usually do not need a 2 year work history to qualify for mortgage financing. They usually just need an offer letter and 30 days of pay. Technically, their degree program needs to relate to their employment, but lenders are pretty flexible in this regard. Reminder #2: Seller Credits […]Read More

Credit Re-Fresh; Don’t Pay Cards to Zero or Close Them Out

We recently had a borrower who stopped making mortgage payments on one of her properties after we pre-approved her. A few days before funding, we ran a “credit refresh” only to find out she had late mortgage payments and her score had dropped to 617 (we had to pull the funding and re-structure her loan). […]Read More

Importance of Escrow Post TRID w/ Fast Close

We like to push JVM’s super-fast closing periods as a major selling point for buyers, as most people know. Our fast escrow periods and airtight pre-approvals make financed purchases equivalent to cash offers. A major holdup in the closing process, however, can be Escrow, making it extremely important to choose your escrow office carefully and […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents & Touting Appraisers, Pre-Underwrites & Speed

Many of the Realtors we work with have us call listing agents every time they make an offer, and for good reason – b/c it works. When we call listing agents, we tout the fact that we completely pre-underwrite every borrower and have a complete file in-hand (so there will be no surprises). We also […]Read More

Screening Potential Buyers for Viability with Basic Questions

Realtors refer potential buyers to us every day, and we are more than appreciative. Many times, however, the borrowers are not even close to qualified for a variety of reasons. We do not mind screening such borrowers, but we often feel bad for Realtors when we find out they spent substantial time with buyers who […]Read More

Calling Listing Agents and Touting Offers/Buyers

We frequently remind Realtors and borrowers that we are happy to call listing agents to tout the strength of our pre-approved buyers. This makes it more likely that our buyer’s offer will be accepted for a variety of reasons. First of all, we personally know or have worked with many listing agents in the area […]Read More

Eliminating Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI

Here are three options for eliminating the private mortgage insurance (PMI) obligation associated with a conventional loan (FHA MI is permanent). Option #1 – Refinancing: If your property appreciates to the point where we can garner a new appraisal to support a value high enough to reduce your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio to 80% or less, […]Read More

Home Equity Line = Best “Bridge Loan;” Cheaper, Easier, More Cash

We mention this often, but Home Equity Lines of Credit are the best “Bridge Loans” for buyers who want to buy a new home before selling their current home. They are the cheapest, easiest and fastest way to access cash to use for the purchase of a new home. U.S. Bank for example will lend […]Read More

Post-Close HELOC to Reclaim Liquidity; 90% CLTV

We often encourage buyers to put down 20% or more not just to avoid mortgage insurance, but also to make their offers much stronger and to allow us to close in 14 days (80/10/10 financing with two loans requires 21 days). Buyers are often reluctant to deplete their liquidity, borrow from 401ks, or access gift […]Read More

“Title Only” Is OK; On Title But Not On Loan

Almost every lender is OK with “Title Only” transactions. These are transactions with a buyer who will be on the purchase contract and on title to the property at close, but not on the loan. This is relatively common in fact. We often leave buyers off of a loan if he does not have enough […]Read More

Job History: 30 Days or 6 Months OK; Rarely Need Two Years

Borrowers usually do NOT need to be on a job for two years. We need a two year employment history for loan applications, but borrowers can have multiple jobs. Borrowers can be on a new job for as little as 30 days and still use the income to qualify, if the borrower just moved from […]Read More

3 of 20 Offers in Oakland were JVM Financed; Why It Matters?

Last week, there were twenty offers on a high-end Oakland listing, and three of the twenty offers were accompanied by JVM pre-approval letters. No other lender was represented twice, let alone three times. This matters for a variety of reasons: (1) listing agents know our name, know that we can perform, and are more likely […]Read More

Closing Cost Credits to 6%; Can’t Exceed Closing Costs; No Prepaying

Closing cost credits from sellers are rare in this very competitive seller’s market, but they do come up from time to time as buyers negotiate them in lieu of repair-credits. This is a reminder that seller credits can go up to 6% of the sales price for conventional and FHA purchases. Jumbo lenders typically limit […]Read More

Don’t Pay Credit Cards Down to Zero Balance IF You Want High Scores

We recently had wealthy borrowers who needed a higher credit score to qualify for the financing they desired. Hence, we told them we were going to assist with a rapid re-score; we asked them to pay down a credit card balance to a very specific amount that our credit-software said would maximize their credit score. […]Read More

Buying New Home Before Selling Current Home? Get Equity Line

We have many buyers who want to buy a new home before selling their current home. They often want “bridge loans” to do so. A “bridge loan” is temporary cash out financing against one’s current home that is used to help finance a new home. Our experience with bridge loans, however, has not been good. […]Read More

Real Pre-Approval vs. Perfunctory “Prequals” at On-Line Lenders

A borrower recently came to us who had been “pre-approved” by a major on-line lender. The borrower came to us b/c the listing agent refused to accept the “pre-approval letter” from the on-line lender, and for good reason. After we sent our “needs list” to the borrower so we could approve him, the borrower asked […]Read More

$100,000 “Wall Treatment” Did Not Increase Value of Home

We had a borrower years ago whose appraisal came in much lower than she expected and she was irate b/c the appraiser gave insufficient or no value to many of her upgrades and improvements. Specifically, she had spent over $100,000 on a wall treatment in her foyer. The wall treatment, interestingly, was a textured gold […]Read More

Foreign Funds Can Be Used; Paper Trail; Translation; Gift?

It is very common for home-buyers in California to access foreign funds for down payments and closing costs. Lenders allow the use of foreign funds as long as they can be “sourced” and “paper-trailed.” This, unfortunately, is often easier said than done. It is sometimes difficult to get foreign account statements, and they often need […]Read More