Posts Tagged ‘ARM’

More on the new good faith estimate

February 17, 2010

Since blogging about the new good faith estimate in January, I’ve had the chance to listen to clients and other loan professionals’ feedback on the new three-page form… and the feedback has been consistent.

As the recent post states, there are some great benefits to the new good faith estimate:

  • the terms, interest rate, and loan amount are clearly stated on the first page leaving no room for confusion
  • lender fees quoted must match at closing
  • other fees (attorney, credit, etc.) are also clearly identified leaving no room for ambiguity

The areas needing improvement are still there:

  • there is no signature line/page on the new good faith estimate for borrowers to acknowledge they received the form
  • total closing costs are not shown. Instead, prepaids and closing costs are mixed together.
  • total cash required to close is nowhere to be found
  • monthly mortgage payment is also nowhere to be found

Solving the first problem is easy – all mortgage professionals must create a form for borrowers to sign acknowledging they received the good faith estimate.

In order to help our clients with the rest, we created another form. This additional page shows the itemization of closing costs and prepaid items along with the cash required for closing and the monthly mortgage payment – problems solved!

The one item out of our control is how other mortgage professionals quote estimates for property taxes and homeowners insurance. This is one area that the burden is on the borrower to ensure the good faith estimates they review use the same amounts for property taxes and insurance. Only then will a borrower have a true apples-to-apples comparison.

As with all things in life, there are pros and cons, and the new good faith estimate is no different. As a colleague of mine said in one of his recent posts, the keys to helping our clients through the pros and cons haven’t changed – be simple, honest, and professional:

  • quote closing costs honestly and don’t try hiding or under quoting fees
  • quote real interest rates and not something abnormally low to get the phone to ring
  • keep your word!

Mortgage professionals able to do that will help to keep themselves, their realtor partners, and clients happy as we all navigate the new (and sometimes confusing) three-page good faith estimate (oh, and don’t forget the extra page showing the itemization of closing costs, and one more page to confirm receipt of the new good faith estimate).

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Holding onto the past

October 29, 2009

The past can hold a lot of great memories… birthdays, wedding day, graduation, one’s favorite TV show that was cancelled by FOX… OK, that last one was a personal example, but you get the idea.

Some people I talk to still reminisce about the “good old days” of buying a home when it was easy to get financing. By fixating on that thought, one may begin to believe that no one can get financing now. That is simply not true!

Banks are still lending money, but they now prefer “safer and more predictable” loans (in other words, fixed financing) instead of the no doc, stated income/stated asset, subprime, etc. programs that helped usher in the current financial crisis we are all struggling through.

Borrowers can still qualify to buy homes with little money down, less than average credit, and can choose from a variety of loan programs. Some examples:

  • Borrowers only need 620 credit score to qualify for an FHA loan
  • A down payment as little as 3.5% can get someone into a home with an FHA loan (5% for a conventional loan)
  • Some foreclosed homes are eligible to be bought with only $100 down, and still others are available with no money down
  • Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) are also available with as little as 5% down
  • Interest Only ARMs do exist, but the down payment requirement is now 20%

If you are looking to buy or refinance your current home, get in contact with me. We can discuss “how things were” vs. “how things are” and make sure you are ready to move forward with your next loan.

Sometimes it is just best to let go of the past no matter how tough it may be… If we stay in the past, we might miss out on the best buyers market (low rates and lower home values) in years.

One might also miss out watching an actor from their favorite TV show star in his new show on ABC.  If that were true for me, I would have missed this great Halloween episode moment when he paid tribute to his character from the cult TV show FOX cancelled 5 years ago – Malcolm Reynolds from “Firefly”. Enjoy!

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