BBB Integrity Counts! Award Honoree

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We are very proud to be an Honoree of the 2008 Integrity Counts! award from the Southwest Idaho Better Business Bureau… as it turns out, honesty is still the best policy!  Questions?  Call 208.388.0500
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Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe…

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… is no way to pick your mortgage lender.  Most of our clients come to us by referral.  If you are using the internet to search for professional to help you with your mortgage, you should consider asking someone you trust for a referral instead. After all, if shopping for a mortgage was just about getting rate quotes, we never would have experienced a foreclosure crisis. CLICK HERE to see what people are saying about us. 

Not Your Average Mortgage Bankers

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It’s our team that makes us different.  No giant call center with a “we’ll get to you when we get to you” attitude.  We’re local folks too and it’s all about you being excited to see us when we bump into each other at the Saturday morning farmer’s market.
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Questions?  Call (208) 388-0500

It Takes a Village…

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We believe in keeping business local.  It helps the Idaho economy and it also fosters a quicker, less stressful closing.  We take pride in having relationships with some of the best Idaho REALTORS®, Title Professionals, Escrow Agents, Insurance Agents, Home Inspectors, Builders and Appraisers who are knowledgeable, ethical and share our philosophy.  Need a recommendation?  Call 208.388.0500

Oct 27

4 Reasons to Buy Your Home Now!

4 reasons to buy your home now (fall 2014)

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

 

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All information is the opinion of and provided by www.KeepingCurrentMatters.com | Ark-La-Tex Financial Services, LLC d/b/a Benchmark Mortgage 5160 Tennyson Pkwy STE 2000W, Plano, TX 75024. NMLS ID #2143 (www.benchmark.us) 972-398-7676. This advertisement is for general information purposes only. Some products may not be available in all licensed locations. Information, rates, and pricing are subject to change without prior notice at the sole discretion of Ark-La-Tex Financial Services, LLC.  All loan programs subject to borrowers meeting appropriate underwriting conditions.  This is not a commitment to lend. Other restrictions may apply. Idaho Mortgage Broker & Lender #MBL – 4060

Oct 20

The Truth about Buying a Home: You Don’t Need 20% Down in Idaho

Zero Down On a New Home?

In a recent survey, How America Views Homeownership, it was revealed that 68% of Americans feel that now is a good time to buy a home and 95% said they want to own a home if they don’t already. Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo home mortgage production, explains:

“Although the home buying process has changed in many ways in recent years, our survey found Americans still view homeownership as an achievement to be proud of and many believe that now is a good time to buy a home.”

Confusion Creates Paralysis

However, the survey also reported that many are afraid to purchase a home because of uncertainty about “qualifying for a mortgage or navigating the home buying process”. Though 74% said they “know and understand” the financial process involved in buying a home, they also gave answers that suggest otherwise. For example:

  • 30% of respondents believe that only individuals with high incomes can obtain a mortgage
  • 64% of respondents believe they must have a “very good” credit score to buy a home
  • 44% believe that a 20% down payment is required

In actuality many of these beliefs are unfounded. Let’s look at the question of down payment: Freddie Mac, in a recent blog post addressing the issue, confirmed that there is misinformation regarding the amount necessary when determining the down payment for a home purchase:

“Did you know 40 percent of today’s homebuyers using mortgage financing are making down payments that are less than 10 percent? And how about this: since 2010, the number of people putting down less than 10 percent for conventional loans has grown three fold.  So, not only are low down payment options real, they represent a significant portion of today’s purchases.”

In a separate Executive Perspectives, Christina Boyle, Freddie Mac’s VP and Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management explained further:

  • A person “can get a conforming, conventional mortgage with a down payment of as little as 5 percent (sometimes with as little as 3 percent coming out of their own pockets)”.
  • In Idaho, multiple zero down options exist including options for folks with moderate income, veteran’s status, or home buyers looking at rural properties.
  • Qualified borrowers can further reduce the down payment coming out of their own pockets to 3 percent by lining up gifts from family, grants or loans from non-profits or public agencies.

Education is the Key

Boyle talked about the importance of educating potential buyers:

“Letting more consumers know how down payments are determined could bring more qualified borrowers off the sidelines. Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 or 10 percent.”

Codel agreed:

“It is important for prospective homebuyers to feel empowered to ask lenders and real estate agents questions about available options, such as down payment assistance or FHA loan programs or VA loans for veterans.”

Bottom Line

If you are saving for either your first home or that perfect move-up dream house, make sure you know all your options. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Oct 14

Thinking about Selling By Owner? Think Again…

Whether it’s because of the negotiation skills of professional real estate agents, or the technology that is being used to promote listings, homes sold by realtors tend to net seller’s $41,000 more than those sold by owners themselves… all with a whole lot less headache.  If you’re thinking about selling your home your self, then check out some of these statistics first:

 

FSBO Think Again Infographic

Jan 16

Does Idaho Owe You Money? Find Out in 5 Minutes or Less!

wheelbarrow-moneyHave you heard about Idaho unclaimed property fund?   Per the Idaho State Treasurer’s website, there are more than $120 million in unclaimed assets in Idaho that are just waiting to be claimed by their rightful owners.  Are you one of the folks that the State of Idaho owes money to?

 

Annually, millions of dollars are turned over to the State of Idaho; these properties may include: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank accounts, uncashed payroll checks, utility deposits, traveler’s checks, contents from safety deposit boxes, and more.

 

Will the State contact you to let you know that they have assets that belong to you?  Sadly, not in my experience.  So, what happens to unclaimed assets?  Rumor has it that the State of Idaho will hold the assets for 3 years, and then they become property of the State.

 

This year, I discovered the State owes my husband and me about $200.  Woot Wooh – I feel like I won the lottery!  I’d say it was well worth the 5 minutes it took me to search their website (and far better result than any lottery ticket I’ve ever purchased).  From that small payday, I’ve been inspired to set a recurring reminder on my calendar to check the website every January.  You too can find out if you have money coming by visiting http://sto.idaho.gov/unclaimedproperty

 

If it works for you too, I’d love to hear your success stories below!

 

Good Luck!

Oct 02

Zero Down Mortgages in Rural Areas… The USDA Loan Remains Accessible to Many in the Treasure Valley!

Zero down mortgages… if you listen to the media you would think they don’t exist any more.

Fortunately in the Treasure Valley and some areas surrounding Boise, we still have a couple great zero down loans and one of the unsung heroes is the USDA Rural Development Loan.

The catch on these loans is that only certain areas are eligible.. typically outlying rural areas.  For many moons there has been rumor that the USDA was going to redefine the eligible areas.

Good news for home buyers arrived last Friday.  Rural Development issued notice that the existing eligible areas will be preserved until further notice.   This will remain the case at least on a temporary basis… perhaps a short window of opportunity for a fortunate few home buyers.

Curious as to whether a property might be eligible under this program?  Check out their handy dandy online search tool at www.rurdev.usda.gov

One catch… mortgage lenders cannot fund any USDA loans without a conditional commitment from USDA offices, so there might be some interruption in the availability of this loan due to the government furlough.

If you need more information on this program, don’t hesitate to call.

 

Oct 01

The Government Shutdown: What’s the Anticipated Impact for Boise Real Estate Professionals?

shutdown2Here’s the official word from our fearless leaders at Benchmark Mortgage… I imagine many lenders will have the same take on the situation.  We expect that this will have minimal impact so long as this monkey business doesn’t go on too long.  Fingers crossed.

 

“We do not foresee dramatic delays to our loan process, nor do we anticipate a sweeping impact of the government shutdown on our industry; however, there may be some circumstances where a few loans may be impacted (USDA in particular).  We will address each loan individually in order to make sure we explore all options to continue forward progress for the pipeline with as little adverse effect as possible.

Here are some of the things that could be delayed by the Federal Government shutdown.

 

HUD / FHA:

The FHA should not be significantly impacted, providing the shutdown is brief. HUD has provided the following information that applies to our daily operations:

  • FHA will be able to endorse single family loans, however, only a limited number of FHA staff will be available, so the process may take longer.
  • Limited FHA staff will be available to respond to questions, emails or other correspondence.
  • You will still be able to obtain a FHA case number from FHA Connection.
  • CAIVRS and FHA Total Scorecard will still be available.
  • Should FHA run out of commitment authority during a shutdown, then all lenders’ Lender Insurance approval will be temporarily suspended.
  • Manual processes, like case number cancellations will be delayed.

 

VA:

Continue originating VA loans; the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue to operate if there is a government shutdown.

  • Obtaining the veteran’s Certificate of Eligibility online through the webLGY will still be available.
  • Submitting applications for new COEs and follow up on COEs requiring more research with the Atlanta Eligibility Center will still be available.
  • Ordering appraisals the Veterans Information Portal will still be available.

 

Rural Housing / USDA:

Updates from USDA are not available at this time. They will likely cease issuing a Conditional Commitment until the shutdown is resolved.

 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

The IRS has indicated that they will not process any forms, including the issuance of tax return transcripts (Form 4506T) during a government shutdown, which will delay loan processing.

 

Social Security Administration (SSA):

In previous shutdowns, the SSA has only retained employees that deal directly with the processing of new claims and benefits. The likelihood is we would not be able to continue to verify SSNs through the SSA, which will delay loan processing.”

 

Long and short… life goes on despite the partial government shutdown.  We just keep on keepin’ on.

Sep 03

HUD Offers an Early Pardon For Some Home Owners Who Experienced Foreclosure or Short Sale.

In a mortgage market where loan guidelines just seem to be getting tighter and tighter, the FHA loan is making an about-face.  In a recent announcement, HUD announced help for responsible homeowners who lost a home due to circumstances beyond their control during the recent recession.  boise mortgage dean shanna tucker

 

In the past, borrowers had to wait 3-7 years to get new financing after defaulting on a home loan.  This is where HUD has stepped in to save the day by reducing the waiting period on FHA loans to 12 MONTHS for qualifying buyers.

 

HUD recognizes the hardships faced by certain borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or desire to repay a mortgage.

 

For borrowers who meet FHA’s requirements, the NEW waiting period after a foreclosure may be as short as 12 months, however to be eligible for this reduced waiting period, borrowers must be able to document:

  • Certain credit impairments were the result of a Loss of Employment or a significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control… normally lenders will be looking for at least a 20% drop in income over at least 6 months.
  • The borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event; and,
  • The borrower has completed housing counseling to insure they are more educated about future home loans and real estate investment.

 

FHA is looking to help folks who really were truly victims of the recession.  Borrowers who had the ability to make their payments, but CHOSE to strategically default on their loans will not be eligible for this new program.  And while the new FHA guidelines are more relaxed, a borrower’s income and credit history will still be scrutinized.

Borrower’s hoping to take advantage of this new program should expect to jump through a extra few hoops… it’s kind of like petitioning the parole board for an early release.  Those who meet HUD’s requirements, however, will have the opportunity to re-enter the housing market and start fresh at a time when there are still great opportunities in the housing market and very low interest rates.

 

Seems like a win-win for the Boise community and local home buyers.  Let the healing begin.

 

Dean and I are always here to answer questions… no strings attached.  Give us a call at 208.287.1717 if you’d like to chat.

 

Jun 19

10 Hints for Great Credit Scores

I have to start by saying, I’m pretty weary about allowing sales folks to come into my office and make presentations.  I made an exception for Sean Nealon with Continental Credit today and I’m glad I did.  In addition to bringing some very delicious treats, Sean offered some insider secrets on credit scores… both made the meeting well worth our while.  :-)

Here are my top 10 take aways from this morning’s meeting if you want to increase your credit scores: 

  1. Pay on time and don’t default on debt… this is a whopping 35% of your score
  2. Have at least 1 open credit card… this can give you up to 150 “bonus” points that you will miss out on if you don’t use credit cards at all.  This one thing can account for up to 30% of your credit score.
  3. Keep each credit card balance under 30% of the available line of credit.  If this is not possible, then try to at least keep your balance at less than 50% of the available credit line.
  4. Keep old accounts open and active… even if it’s only minimally.  The average age of your open accounts accounts for about 15% of your credit score.
  5. Keep one open active credit card for each open active installment loan… rumer has it that this is the “perfect formula” for a great score.  Having the right credit “mix” accounts for about 10% of your credit score.
  6. Avoid having more than 4 or 5 total open active credit cards.
  7. Don’t let creditors pull your credit unnecessarily.  Inquiries can lower your score for up to a year… the harshest impact is in the first 6 months.  This accounts for about 5% of your credit score.
  8. Don’t open new accounts unnecessarily.  New accounts will pull down your credit scores (especially for at least the first 4 months after you’ve opened them). This also accounts for about 5% of your credit score.
  9. Ask your Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) to report as an “installment” loan or “other” rather than a revolving account… especially if your balance is more than 30% of the total line of credit.
  10. Keep an active credit history… no credit (positive or negative) reporting in the past 3 years will result in no credit scores.

Also, don’t be afraid to dispute information that might be pulling down your score.  All disputes should request detailed information regarding the information reporting.  Creditors have a legal obligation per the Fair Credit Reporting Act to only report information that is accurate and can be documented.  If you question a late payment reporting, request detailed payment history… only late payments greater than 30 days should be reporting.  If you are unsure that you owe on a collection, request a copy of the original signed contract proving you owe the debt as well as a detailed payment history.  If you have a medical debt, request a copy of the time and date of doctor’s visit with details regarding the nature of the visit… you should also request a copy of the payment history.  Most derogatory item cannot legally report after 7 years from the date of original service or the last payment (whichever is later).  Late payments should not report if they were not a full 30 days late at least.

 

If you need some professional help getting your scores in order… don’t be afraid to seek the help of pros.  We’ve never worked with Continental, but since they offer a free consultation, what harm could come from a few minutes on the phone with them? They also have a good rating with their local BBB… and that goes a long ways in my book.    Sean Nealon at Continental Credit can be reached at sean@continentalcreditllc.com or 303.339.7056.  You can find their website online at www.continentalcreditonline.com… you can also click here for their BBB rating.

Jun 04

10 Tips for Burglar Proofing Your Home & Car

Burglaries don’t happen in Boise and if they do they happen to other folks, right? 

 

Unfortunately crime statistics say otherwise.  I recently heard a presentation from the Boise Police and they said that many burglaries can be prevented by some very easy and inexpensive measures… often thieves are lazy and look for the most convenient victims.

 

Here’s an example of something I found amazing… did you know that thieves watch Facebook and other social media sites watching for folks to be out of town or on vacation?  Being careful with your social media posts is not the only quick and easy thing you can do to protect yourself.

Here are 10 Simple tips for BURGLAR PROOFING your house and car.

  1. Be cautious about posting about your vacation or out of town travels on Facebook and social media sites… thieves monitor these sites watching for people to go out of town. Have lights in all entrances.
  2. Don’t use a message on your answering machine that says you’re away from home or on vacation, etc.Have good locks (deadbolt) on all doors and windows.
  3. Use timers to turn lights and radios on when you are not home (noise is a great security enhancement). Stop mail and newspaper delivery when you are out of town.
  4. Do not use your first name on your mailbox or in the phone directory – use your first initial.
  5. Know which of your neighbors you can trust in an emergency.
  6. Plant prickly plants under your windows… it makes it a lot fast and easy (and pleasant) to break in this way.
  7. Check who is at the door before opening it, and do not open the door to an unexpected visitor. Do not let strangers into your home to use the phone. Offer to make the call for them.
  8. Don’t hide extra keys in easily accessible places. Criminals will find them.
  9. Never give personal information to telephone solicitors.
  10. Lock your car doors… and what ever you do, don’t leave your key on top of a tire or in a magnetic key holder on the vehicle… burglars know this trick and are watching for folks who do it.

It’s not a pleasant thought, but we hope you picked up a few ideas to help protect your home and your family from an unsavory event like burglary.

Jun 04

Will Rising Rates Take Home Buyer’s Out of the Market?

According to the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors as well as the Mortgage Banker’s Association… Mortgage rates will continue to rise through the end of 2013.  Surprise, surprise, right?  As the economy takes a firmer foothold, rates will go up.  This is the nature of economic cycles.  Predictably, there will be less need for government subsidy in the mortgage markets and more banks wanting to take profits as the demand for mortgage loans increase.

So what does this mean for the average home buyer?  Among other things, it means you will have to make more money to qualify for a loan.  Here’s an example:

income needed to buyWant to know more about the predictions made by the National Association of Realtors?  Here’s a link that pulls back the curtains on the Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates.

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