Our Veterans DESERVE to use a VA Mortgage Loan

I’ve been trying to think about how to title this post without “shaming” real estate agents or home sellers… but I do feel that it’s really unfortunate that some still have a low view of VA mortgages. Men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve our country and protect our freedom have EARNED the privilege to have a VA mortgage loan. Those of us who have not committed to serve do not have this benefit… and it is a benefit. [Read more…]

Avoid Delays with your Home Purchase

mortgage-porter-sold-homeHere 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…]

Waiving your financing contingency?

mortgageporter-thinkingThe 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.

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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.

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What you need to know about multiple offers when buying a home [Video]

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.

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How’s the Market?

This is a question I’m often asked about the greater Seattle/Pacific Northwest region. Since I focus on helping people with mortgages to buy or refinance their homes, I defer these types of questions to local real estate professionals.

I recently posted this question with the challenge that the real estate agents keep their response to one sentence or roughly 140 characters. Here are some of the replies I received.

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Updating your Preapproval Letter

j0403639_2I’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.

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The Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area named as a Top 5 Place to Sell Your Home

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

Conforming: $506,000

FHA: $567,500

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.