Archive for April, 2010

There’s still time

April 26, 2010

It seems many potential buyers are not aware of the “fine print” details of the current tax credits for buying homes (either as a first time home buyer OR repeat buyer). Most believe that it is too late to take advantage of the tax credit since it comes to an end this Friday (end of April). That is definitely NOT the case!

Home buyers only need to be under contract by the end of April, then they have another 60 days to complete the purchase. That means buyers still have all week to find a home and get under contract!

Bottom line – if you haven’t given it much thought, have been sitting on the fence, or unsure of what to do, don’t worry, you do still have some time. Just get under contract by the April 30th because 60 days is MORE than enough time to work with a mortgage consultant to complete the purchase.

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3% down and no PMI

April 22, 2010

Yes, you read that correctly. Conventional loan, 3% down, no private mortgage insurance, and to top it off… no appraisal required! The program is known as HomePath Mortgage by Fannie Mae and is available to borrowers looking for a primary residence OR an investment property.

Investors using the HomePath Mortgage program need a 15% down payment, but will not be required to get private mortgage insurance or an appraisal on the investment property. Also, the limit on the number of total properties financed in an investors name is waived.

Fannie Mae designed this loan program to facilitate the sale of their foreclosures. There are numerous properties available, and you can search for them here. However, before you find a home and get ready to submit an offer, remember this is a foreclosed property and there are some things to keep in mind:

  • the property is purchased “as is”
  • the property may require some repairs
  • definitely get an inspection!
  • no contingency offers (on the sale of a current home) allowed

All offers must include a prequalification letter. If you are looking to get prequalified, learn more about interest rates this program, total monthly payments, etc., feel free to call or email me. It would be glad to help you through the mortgage process!

New facebook page

April 19, 2010

Even though there are numerous ways to find your friendly neighborhood mortgage broker (this blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dunwoody Mortgage), I figured one more couldn’t hurt!

Introducing my Facebook fan page – Clay Your Mortgage Professional

This page contains what one would expect (contact information, summary about my services, links to websites, etc.), but also allows me to post the occasional picture and provides clients, friends, and family the opportunity to post comments.

If you are on Facebook (I believe that literally everyone is at this point), I’d love for you to be a fan! So join me, won’t you?

A round of applause

April 13, 2010

Seems people like to give the government (President, Congress, Federal Reserve, etc.) a hard time when things don’t go as planned. Rarely  does anyone give them the credit they sometimes deserve.

In regards to the Federal Reserve’s plan to lower interest rates and stabilize the mortgage back security bond market (MBS bonds), the Feds deserve a round of applause.

During the initial stages of the current financial crisis (when the markets were in total disarray), the Federal Reserve stepped in to the spotlight. The Feds announced a plan to buy MBS bonds with two goals in mind – to stabilize the value of MBS bonds and push interest rates down below 5%.  The Feds succeeded on both objectives, extended the program twice (for a total of 15 months), and spent over $1 trillion (yes, that is a “T” for trillion) buying MBS bonds.

The new concern became what would happen once the Feds program ended. Posts on this blog theorized that if MBS bond prices soared (and interest rates dropped) on the announcement of the plan in November 2008, wouldn’t the opposite occur once the Feds were finished buying MBS bonds?

Initially that theory proved to be right. In the first couple of days after the Feds stopped buying MBD bonds, those bonds dropped over 100 basis points in value and interest rates rose 0.25-0.375%. However, as the Feds bowed out of the MBS bond market, other investors have picked up the slack. For instance, since the Feds have kept the Federal Funding Rates near 0%, money managers, pension funds, etc. are moving away from playing it safe and keeping cash “on the sidelines” and are now investing in MBS bonds.

In the end, the plan seemed to work like a charm. The Feds were able to push rates below 5% (back below 5% at the time of this posting), stabilize the MBS bond market, and encourage other investors to pick up the slack as they slowly moved away from buying MBS bonds.

Even though the MBS bond market is now performing without a net, the initial “sky is falling” scare is over and interest rates have rebounded to their levels prior to the Feds leaving the MBS bond market. Who knows how this plan could affect the market a year or two down the road, or how rates will respond if they begin moving in the wrong direction (when they do rise, expect it to be sudden and without much warning), but at least for today, credit should be given to the Feds. Thus far, everything is going according to the plan they laid out. Besides, something bad could happen and we’ll think their idiots again tomorrow 🙂

Here today…

April 8, 2010

The deadline for the tax credit is fast approaching. If you haven’t started the process, don’t worry, there is still time!

Unlike the first go around, you do not have to be closed by the deadline – you only have to be under a binding contract by the end of April. You then have 60 days (end of June) to complete the purchase.

This is ideal for all of those fence sitters out there! 🙂

For more details on the tax credits, check out this previous post. Some quick points:

  • First time home buyer (or not owned a home in 3+ years) tax credit of $8,000 extends through April 30, 2010. Home must be under contract by that date and closed on or before June 30, 2010.
  • A “moving up” tax credit of $6,500 is available for current home owners buying a new primary residence.  To qualify, home owners moving up must have lived in their current residence for 5+ years at the date of the binding contract to buy the new home.

If you have ever thought about buying a home to earn one of the tax credits, it isn’t too late to get started. Begin by talking with a mortgage professional, then find a home.

The tax credits are here today, but won’t be for much longer.

That was fast – rates on the rise

April 2, 2010

Less than 48 hours after the Feds stopped purchasing mortgage backed security bonds, interest rates have already jumped 0.25% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. For information on the Feds buying MBS bonds or how this affects interest rates, see yesterday’s post OR this one OR this one OR this one… you get the idea.

The trading today has been very limited because of the holiday. That may also be why the Feds chose this date to hop out of the bond buying market. The real reaction will begin on Monday.

Regardless, lenders are pricing interest rates on more of a worst case scenario basis, thus the quick jump in interest rates. If Monday is a flat or good day for bonds, rates may stabilize and possibly move lower. However, most investors are just looking for a reason to doubt bonds and feel it is inevitable that interest rates will continue to rise. Either way, Monday should be interesting.

Waiting to lock?… don’t. As many people have said (including posts on this blog), as low as rates have been, they have nowhere to go but up.

Performing without a net

April 1, 2010

The safety net is gone. The Feds are finished purchasing mortgage backed security bonds, and their direct influence on mortgage rates is over. Is a mortgage rate Armageddon upon us?

Don't look!! It's a long way down.

Well, no, it isn’t. That said, there could be a market “adjustment”, and here’s why…

In November 2008, the Federal Reserve announced a plan to purchase mortgage backed security bonds to lower interest rates into the 4’s. At the time of the announcement, rates dropped roughly a half a point over night. As the Feds began buying these bonds (increasing their value), mortgage rates fell into the 4’s – exactly as planned!

The Feds offered a “safety net” for bond prices. Investors knew that no matter what occurs in the financial sector, a certain amount of bonds would be purchased every week. This kept bond prices steady during this turbulent market.

Now the market’s “safety net” has been removed, what should we expect moving forward?

  • Considering rates dropped dramatically on the announcement of the plan, an opposite adjustment would logically be expected now that the plan is over.
  • Negative overreactions to financial events/data are back into play now that the Feds will no longer spend billions of Dollars each week buying bonds. Who will make up that gap during poor performing days for bonds?
  • What happens if the Feds now look to sell the bonds they purchased (over $1 trillion worth)? Putting those bonds for sale into a market along with the new bonds up for sale will dilute the market, weaken bond prices, and push rates higher.

In short, now that the Feds are no longer buying mortgage backed security bonds, the only direction rates have to go is up, not down. All the experts agree on that, they just don’t agree on how much rates will increase.

What should you do? If you are still holding out to buy a home OR refinance a home while rates are in the 4’s, the time is now. Get started and lock in a rate while these historic lows are still here!