Here are a few suggestions for when you are preparing a purchase and sales agreement to help avoid delays. NOTE: I’m NOT an attorney and this is NOT legal advice. I’m simply a Licensed Loan Officer offering suggestions based on my observations. 🙂 [Read more…]
The greater Seattle real estate market is hot. With the lack of inventory, some home buyers have found themselves in a position where they feel they need to waive their financing contingency or the appraisal. I see this strategy happen when home buyers have been competing with multiple and/or cash offers.
Seattle Real Estate Chat: When your Real Estate Agent or Mortgage Originator “wears two hats” [Video] #SeattleREchat
Our most recent episode of Seattle Real Estate Chat focused on real estate agents or lenders who wear two hats. Jim Reppond of Coldwell Banker Danforth and I discuss transactions where a buyers lender is also their real estate agent OR when the buyer works with the listing agent (listing agent is both sellers agent and buyers agent). Sometimes a buyer may believe the listing agent is working for them, when the listing agent may only be working for the seller. It can be a complicated situation.
Earlier this week’ during our Seattle Real Estate Chat, Jim Reppond of Coldwell Banker Danforth and I discussed multiple offers, which we are seeing a lot of in the greater Seattle area.
Here’s our “show” from this week and learn more about what you need to know before you find yourself in a multiple offer situation.
I’m often asked by home buyers “does my preapproval letter expire” or “what happens if we don’t find a home in a few months”. Preapproval letters should include two dates: when the letter was prepared and when the preapproval expires. Fear not, most of the time, it should just take providing a couple documents to your loan officer so they can “dust off” your application and provide an updated pre-approval letter.
Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch has named the Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area as one top five markets in the nation for selling your home. From the article:
Homes are flying off the market in Seattle. Listed properties spent a median of 56 days on the market as of January, down 38% from a year ago, according to Realtor.com. That’s almost half the median time homes are listed nationally….
….buyers have been left with a smaller number of homes to bid on, which in turn encourages multiple offers on properties that can push the purchase price higher than the asking price, experts say. There were fewer than 4,000 homes for sale in the Seattle metro area as of January, down 44% from a year prior, according to Realtor.com.
This morning’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index also provides some positive data revealing that the Greater Seattle’s prices are up 8.2% year-over-year.
For hopeful home buyers, this means they need to make sure they have their ducks in a row before making an offer on a home. Home buyers in competitive markets like Seattle, Bellevue or Everett should contact a mortgage professional early on to start the preapproval process. The preapproval process typically only takes a day or two once the home buyer provides all the necessary supporting documentation. However it pays to get started early just in case there are situations that could be improved (such as credit scores, savings, etc.).
The FHFA released their report on mortgage interest rates showing that rates trending higher since late November 2012 for the 30 year fixed conforming mortgage. If you’ve been following my rate quotes on Twitter, you may have realized this trend. Although rates are still very low, they are trending higher and have been for a few months.
If you are considering selling your home in the greater Seattle area, please don’t rule out buyers who are approved with FHA or VA financing. FHA and VA loans are much easier to underwrite and process in today’s market. In fact, they’re pretty much like a conventional mortgage. Plus buyers who qualify for FHA or VA loans are able to have higher loan amounts than conforming in our area.
Loan Limits for Seattle – Bellevue – Everett
VA Jumbo: $1 million. $500,000 is the loan limit if the Veteran is looking for a zero down home. After $500,000, the down payment is 25% of the difference between the $500,000 limit and the sales price.
NOTE: Congress has been discussing rolling back loan limits. This is another reason to consider selling now if you have a home that would be impacted with reduced loan limits.
By the way, I have been in the real estate industry for just shy of 27 years. My first fourteen years were in the title and escrow industry and for the last 13 years, I have been a mortgage originator at Mortgage Master Service Corporation. I’ve worked with many real estate agents over my career and I’m happy to recommend one to you if you are considering selling or buying a home.
I’m noticing that more listing agents are performing, what I like to call, “sniff test” to check out the lender who has prepared the preapproval letter. By the way, I think this is an excellent idea. This is especially true if the listing agent is reviewing multiple offers, which is happening more in the greater Seattle area with non-distressed homes that are desirable and priced right.
The sniff test is typically a phone call by the listing agent so they can get an idea about the mortgage originator. The listing agent should not ask personal information about the potential home buyer (such as credit scores or available funds).
When a listing agent contacts me, I know they’re sizing up:
- how quickly I returned their phone call or email
- how experienced I am at closing my clients specific mortgage program (for example, Fannie Mae Homepath, Freddie Mac Homesteps or FHA transactions)
- how long I’ve been in the mortgage industry (over 12 years at Mortgage Master Service Corporation)
- how quickly we can close by
- to learn more about our company (family owned and operated since 1976)
I’ve heard from many local real estate agents that they need to make sure the loan can actually close. Often times, a preapproval letter may not be worth more than the paper it’s written on if the mortgage originator has not done their homework with the actual preapproval. NOTE: you are NOT preapproved unless you have provided your mortgage originator your income and asset documentation.
I wrote about “investigating your preapproval letter” many years ago at Rain City Guide. The issue with preapproval letters then was probably that anybody and their brother was a mortgage originator back in 2007. Now there are far less mortgage originators however, if the mortgage originator works at a bank or credit union, they may still lack experience (they’re not required to be licensed). A licensed mortgage originator may be new to the industry as well. Some large internet mortgage companies have been hiring LO’s who can pass the national exam but still lack experience. There’s a big difference between being a good a passing exams and successfully closing loans.
While the number of mortgage originators is dramatically down, it’s still important to make sure your mortgage originator has the capability to see your transaction to closing. It may be a consideration to make sure your mortgage originator can pass a sniff test.