Recent Interview in the Seattle Times about Seattle Homebuyers

I’m honored to have been quoted in the Seattle Time‘s yesterday in Katherine Khashimova Long’s article “Autumn of heartbreak for home shoppers as Seattle-area prices hit new record highs”. My quote wound up being a tid-bit in the article and I thought it would be interesting to share some of the points that we discussed during the interview.

Katherine’s article addresses King County’s record high prices and how many home owners are opting to refinance instead of selling their home and buying a new one. This is causing a shortage of inventory which area buyers are probably painfully aware of.

I am seeing many refinances where home owners are taking advantage of interest rates near 50 year lows combined with increased values and pulling out equity to make improvements to their current home.

She inquired if we’re seeing a tightening with underwriting guidelines, which is being reported in the industry and we’re really not…yet. A majority of my refinances and even some purchases are being approved without appraisals being required. Most of the documentation is standard.

The only real times where it may be more challenging to get preapproved for a mortgage is if someone has recently gone into forbearance, which has been offered by lenders and landlords due to the pandemic. Typically lenders will require that someone has made at least 3 regular on-time mortgage payments before they can qualify for a new mortgage. Self-employed borrowers may have to provide some additional documentation as well. It’s really nothing out of the ordinary, people steady income, which covid may have impacted, but it’s not really “tighter” than what it has been. If we start to see foreclosures pick up, which I’m concerned could happen, especially for landlords where rent is not being required to be paid due to covid19, then I believe we will see guidelines tightening up quickly.

My quote that made the cut was about how high the volumes have been in the mortgage industry. It does take some patience for people who are wanting to refinance and purchases generally closing on time. If an appraisal is required, it may delay a transaction (refi or purchase) as appraisers are currently very overloaded.

Bottom line, if you are considering buying or refinancing your home located anywhere in Washington state, I am happy to help you!

Potential Recording Delays for Properties in King County

The entire real estate industry is inundated from the historically low mortgage rates that have caused a refi boom during a pandemic, no less! When you buy or refinance a home, documents are recorded in that specific county to give “public notice” of the transaction. Once your transaction is “recorded” it is typically considered “closed”. [Read more…]

Appraisal Waivers on Conforming Mortgages

Some conforming mortgages for refinances or home purchases may not require an appraisal. It all boils down to what the response is from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting systems on whether or not an appraisal is required. You may have perfect credit and tons of equity in your home, yet no appraisal waiver if Fannie or Freddie’s underwriting systems determine it’s not eligible.

Your next conforming mortgage might be eligible to not have an appraisal if it meets the following criteria: [Read more…]

Mortgage Rates Still at Extreme Lows

Freddie Mac’s weekly survey of mortgage rates show that interest rates are still at extremely low levels although I have noticed rates bouncing around a bit more this past week.

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FHFA delays Refi Tax until December 1, 2020

The Federal Housing Finance Agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (conventional lenders), has announced they are delaying the “adverse market fee” until December 1, 2020.

There was significant balking across the mortgage industry when the FHFA announced the fee back on the evening of August 12th which effectively went into effect immediately on new refi’s (since it’s based on when loans are delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac). This was essentially a 0.5% tax on mortgage lenders existing pipelines – some loans in the pipeline were not able to have the 0.5% hit factored into the pricing of the interest rate. [Read more…]

Extremely Low Mortgage Rates trending higher

Freddie Mac released their PMMS (Prime Mortgage Market Survey) this morning stating “Mortgage Rates Inch Up“.  Even if mortgage rates have bounced slightly higher, they are still ridiculously low. PLEASE REMEMBER: the PMMS data shown in the picture is old news! This is from an average of rates from last week. If you would like current rates for your scenario on your home located in Washington, click here.

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Federal Housing Finance Agency issues half-point fee on conventional refinances

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency) announced they are adding an “Adverse Market Refinance Fee” of 50 basis points that is effective on refinance mortgages delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac starting September 1, 2020.  This is a huge hit to mortgage lenders across the country. [Read more…]

Surprise! It’s a strong Jobs Report

May’s Jobs Report came in much better than expected this morning with 2.51 million jobs ADDED vs the anticipated the 8.5 million jobs lost. Personally, this sounds too good to be true to me and I’m thinking that we’ll see corrections in the months to come…of course, I hope I’m wrong and that an economic (and health) recovery is here. [Read more…]