Congratulations to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission!

iStock_000009450603SmallI’ve just learned that last month, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission did their 50,000 closing! In other words, WSHFC has helped over 50,000 families buy a home in Washington state using one of their first mortgage and down payment assistance programs. The 50,000th home buyers are from Federal Way and represent a typical Home Advantage home buyer:

Just 22 and 23 years old, the Olsens are recent UW Tacoma graduates and newlyweds. They had landed good jobs after graduation and had their own apartment (plus two dogs). But they thought they couldn’t afford a home of their own.

Then they learned about the Commission’s Home Advantage Program. Because their household income was under $97,000 and they were qualified borrowers with a good credit score, they were eligible for help with the down payment—a large obstacle for many would-be homebuyers.

“It was critical for us to have help with the downpayment,” said Jeremy Olsen. “The 0% apr loan over 30 years let us save our cash for emergencies or any work we have to do on the house.”

Just yesterday at the WSHFC sponsored home buyer class I was teaching, I addressed making sure that home buyers have enough reserve funds after they buy their home in the event of “life” happening after closing. Down payment assistance helps new home owners to have some extra cushion in their savings for when the unexpected happens, like employment or health issues or if something goes wrong with the home.

WSHFC has been historically known for the “state bond program” House Key Opportunity, which provides under market pricing for families who qualify. Funding is limited for this program and also has the potential for a recapture tax.  The Home Advantage Mortgage is probably the program that I find offering the most to home buyers interested in down payment assistance. Home Advantage is available to home buyers in Washington state with good credit who have incomes of $97,000 or less and there are no penalties (recapture tax) when the home is sold. In addition, Home Advantage is not limited to first time home buyers.

I’m proud to be one of the mortgage professionals sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, allowing me to teach their home buyer education classes and help home buyers with their mortgage programs.

Congrats to the Commission!

Changes to USDA Mortgages

2014-09-03_usdaUSDA offers mortgages with no down payment for homes that are located in designated rural areas to borrowers who meet household income limits. The mortgage rates are very competitive and the mortgage insurance (technically called “guarantee fees”) are very affordable. It’s a truly a great program for those who qualify and are buying a home in rural areas, like Duvall, Enumclaw or Anacortes.

Recently, USDA issued Handbook 3555 with updated regulations for USDA mortgages. Here are just a few of the changes:

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What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: September 8, 2014

mortgageporter-economyThis week’s calendar of economic indicators seems light, especially following last week that included the Jobs Report on Friday.

Remember, mortgage rates are based on bonds (mortgage backed securities) and often change throughout the day. Sometimes mortgage rates change only slightly by price (the cost for a specific rate) and of course, we can see dramatic rate changes as well. The direction of mortgage rates may be influenced by scheduled economic data, the direction of the stock market, inflation or even world events.

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Freddie Mac’s Mortgage Rate Survey reveals some of the lowest mortgage rates of 2014

Today Freddie Mac released their Primary Mortgage Market Survey showing the 30 year fixed rate at some of the lowest levels for this year. Freddie’s PMMS is based on survey of various lenders from rates quoted the previous week and is intended to show consumers what the average rate and points for that rate were last week.

2014-09-04_1205_Freddie_Mac_Mortgage_Rate_Survey

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What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: September 1, 2014

10626879_10152256097026046_1092128899241203089_nHappy Labor Day! Our office is closed today and will re-open for business as usual tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. This photo is from an hour or so ago at the dog park at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island. My hubby is tossing a bumper for our pup, Hitch (the black one to the right) and has a few other pups who are interested in playing too. What a gorgeous September day this is – I hope you and yours and having a wonderful holiday.

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I’m BACK from my Pointless vacation in the San Juan Islands and British Columbia

I’m back home in Seattle from a two week (okay, just over 2 week) vacation on our sailboat, Pointless. We cruised the San Juans, up to Princess Louisa Islet and returned home via the Canadian Gulf Islands. The sailboat is newer to us – we’ve had it almost a year. She’s a Valiant 40 that was built in 1985. We purchased her from the original owners who sailed her around the world while living aboard. My husband has spent the last year lovingly sprucing her up and this vacation was the longest voyage she (or I) have been on to date!

Pointless Jones Island Aug 2014

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Home Buyer Class in Seattle

Seattle Home Buyer ClassesI will be teaching a home buyer class in Seattle with Jim Repppond of Coldwell Banker Danforth on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at the Broadview Library in Seattle.

The class is sponsored by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Students who attend are eligible for programs like Home Advantage or House Key Opportunity (the Washington state bond program) or Freddie Mac Home Possible. Students are also eligible for various down payment assistance programs and MCC (mortgage credit certificates).

If you are considering buying a home with your spouse, partner or friend, they will need to attend the class with you to qualify for the programs.  You do not need to be a first time home buyer to qualify for many of the mortgage programs. And of course, you’re welcome to attend if you’re not interested in down payment assistance programs and you just want to learn more about the home buying process.

Space is limited, so please RSVP today:

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What May Impact Mortgage Rates this week: August 11, 2014

mortgageporter-economyThis week’s economic calendar is on the lighter side.  Here are some of the economic indicators scheduled to be released this week:

  • Wednesday, August 13: Retail Sales
  • Thursday, August 14: Initial Jobless Claims
  • Friday, August 15: Producer Price Index; Empire State Index; Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)

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