Are you reading this post from Google Reader?

It seems like a bad April Fools joke… except it’s going to take place on the first of July instead of the first of April: Google Reader is going away.

If you are reading the articles I publish at Mortgage Porter via Google Reader, I encourage you to take a few moments to subscribe in the upper left corner of my blog.

You can receive my articles via email or by Feedburner RSS.

Your information is kept private and will never be sold. Subscribing is only for receiving articles that I publish on this blog, The Mortgage Porter.

As always, you can unsubscribe at anytime…but why would you do a silly thing like that? :)

Seriously, I do appreciate my readers. Thank you!

 

Happy Sixth Birthday to The Mortgage Porter

Six years ago today, I published my first post for this blog, The Mortgage Porter. I’m often asked what triggered me to start writing my mortgage blog. I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. Mortgage licensing had just become a requirement for mortgage originators IF they didn’t work for depository bank or credit union. A local evening news reporter was covering a local case of mortgage fraud and ended her story with something along the lines of “thank goodness all mortgage originators will be licensed effective 2007″. If you’re in mortgage lending, you know this isn’t true.

When the SAFE Act was passed, Congress, in all their wisdom, excluded loan originators who work for big banks and credit unions from being licensed; they are only required to be registered (there’s a big difference between licensed and registered requirements).  LO’s who work for banks will often insist that they were already being regulated. One just needs to remember how well those regulators did at regulating Washington Mutual, Countrywide and World Savings, just to name a few. 

Six years later, and I’m still waiting to see all the day when all residential mortgage originators, regardless of the type of institution they work for, are held to the exact same standards. 

My blog has continued to allow me to share important information about mortgage ever-changing mortgage guidelines, to vent every so often about things I’d like to see changed and perhaps share a personal bit on a weekend. Thanks to all for reading and subscribing to The Mortgage Porter.

7thBday
Happy 6th Birthday!

Yep…that’s really me in the photo, celebrating my sixth birthday!

National Mortgage Originator Magazine’s Top 25 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals

I’m honored to be included as one of National  Mortgage Originator’s 2012 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals. This list includes mortgage originators from across the country to use social media in their mortgage practice.  My mug somehow made it on the cover!

Social media has been a very important part of my career. It allows me to share information about mortgages ranging from basic information that consumers should now before obtaining a mortgage to current underwriting trends and ever-changing program guidelines.

Thanks again to my readers! I don’t write “The Mortgage Porter” for recognition or awards, I do this to help share information with consumers. Thanks again for reading, subscribing and sharing the content of my blog.

The Mortgage Porter: Comment Policy

Every so often, I start writing a formal comment policy and it seems to wind up on the back burner.  A few years ago, I decided to have comments approved before being published on Mortgage Porter due to some very spammy,  self-promotional comments that mortgage lenders were leaving.  I welcome comments on my blog…but I will not tolerate spam, self-promotional comments or anything vulgar.

I reserve the right to edit comments if needed…typically this would be removing self-promotional.  You do not need to add your url or titles–please use the links provided in your signature line of the comment for that.  I may be adding advertising to this blog in the future and if you're interested in paying me to promote yourself, let me know. 

I reserve the right to delete comments that are pure spam and that add no value to the conversation or that are vulgar. 

In addition, as everything on this blog is my content, I will not tolerate plagiarism.  If you wish to refer to my content or use an excerpt from one of my post, I'm flattered, just do so with a link back and proper credit to me.  This blog and all content (text, photos, videos, etc.) is protected by US Copyright. 

I've been writing Mortgage Porter since late 2006 and it's become a wonderful way for me to connect with readers and to work with new clients who are seeking a mortgage for a home in Washington State.  

Bottom line, I would love for this blog to be a place for discussion and conversation.  If you have questions, please contact me. 

Be nice and we'll all get along.  

President Obama Declares April National Financial Literacy Month

Recently President Obama declared April as National Financial Literacy Month.  

In recent years, our Nation's financial system has grown increasingly complex.  This has left too many Americans behind, unable to build a secure financial future for themselves and their families.  During National Financial Literacy Month, we recommit to teaching ourselves and our children about the basics of financial education.

I've always felt that financial education should be taught in high school.  I'm not talking home-ec, at least not the the home-ec I attended at Hazen High School where I grew up in Renton, where we made up incomes and came up with a rough budget.  I'm talking about a detailed course where students would focus on the benefits and consequences of credit and debt.

I think it's great that the President is bringing attention to Financial Literacy.  During the subprime era of mortgage, I met with people who wanted to buy a home because their friend or co-worker just did.  They had no idea what financial responsibilities coincide with owning a home.  They often wanted to buy as much as they could be qualified for based on guidelines at that time even if the mortgage payment or program was not suitable

More from President Obama's proclamation:

The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency I have proposed will ensure ordinary Americans get clear and concise financial information…. While our Government has a critical role to play in protecting consumers and promoting financial literacy, we are each responsible for understanding basic concepts….

I wonder what is an "ordinary American" and what if you're not an "ordinary American"?  In his proclamation, he also talks about how our "recent economic crisis was the result of irresponsible actions on Wall Street and everyday choices on Main Street" and includes "large banks [that] speculated recklessly".  His list of who's at fault no where includes our Congress who mandated that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA create programs or different guidelines to help more Americans buy homes

From the Wall Street Journal:

Fannie and Freddie retained the support of many in Congress, particularly Democrats, and they were allowed to continue unrestrained. Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass), for example, now the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, openly described the "arrangement" with the GSEs at a committee hearing on GSE reform in 2003: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have played a very useful role in helping to make housing more affordable . . . a mission that this Congress has given them in return for some of the arrangements which are of some benefit to them to focus on affordable housing." The hint to Fannie and Freddie was obvious: Concentrate on affordable housing and, despite your problems, your congressional support is secure.

But I digress…

President Obama is promoting a website they've created for financial literacy which appears to be an assortment of various government links organized on one site.   It' looks like it's well meaning advice but I'm not sure it's the best or most practical advice–very similar to HUD's book on buying and financing your home.  The site also has information that is very biased, in my opinion, about financial tools such as reverse mortgages, which are not right for everyone but when used in the right situation, can make a huge difference for the better in a seniors life.  I also found some information about credit repair that would potentially provide the result a consumer would be looking for.

I highly recommend that you subscribe to Get Rich Slowly.  This is a fantastic blog that is packed full of common sense financial information on getting out of debt and building your savings.  J.D. Roth's blog was recently named the most inspiring money blog by Money Magazine.

Washington State's Department of Financial Institutions also has a blog that you may find interesting:  Money Talks.  I'm a new subscriber to this blog and so far, the information seems very good.   In fact, it was from DFI's blog that I learned about the Twitter hashtag for April's Financial Literacy Month: #FinLit10

Of course I hope you're a subscriber to my blog, The Mortgage Porter.  I don't only write about mortgages or post interest rates on my blog, you'll also find quite a bit of information about credit scoringwhich impacts your life every day.  I cover other topics too.  You can subscribe in the upper right corner by entering your email address and you can un-subscribe anytime.

During April, I'll share information in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month…actually I hope that's what I've been doing at Mortgage Porter for the last couple of years!

100 Days Remaining for the Home Buyer Tax Credit (and my 1000th Post)

Fthbtax My apologies for the home buyer tax credit clock I've added to the left side bar of my blog ticking away the time remaining for home buyers tax credit.  It's not my style, I don't like to pressure folks and I really don't like telling someone that they missed an opportunity. 

Whether you are for or against our home buyer tax credit it is something that many home buyers, first time and "move-up" home buyers, will take advantage of.   Unlike the first tax credit that was passed where the home buyer had to pay it back over 15 years, this is a "tax credit".  This credit repaid if you sell your home within three years. 

The available tax credit for first time home buyers (those who have not owned a home in the last 36 months) is up to $8,000.   For the "move-up" or "long-time resident" (you don't have to be buying a bigger home to qualify), the available tax credit is up $6,500.  The long-time resident is defined as someone who has owned their home as their primary residence for the last three out of five consecutive years.  The tax credit for both first time and long time residents is for the purchase of a primary residence (owner occupied).

Income limits were raised for transactions closing after November 6, 2009 to up to $125,000 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for taxpayers and $225,000 for joint filers.  The credit is reduced up to those with MAGI above $145,000 for single and $245,000 for joint.

Homes with a sales price of over $800,000 are not eligible (too bad–the Jumbo market needs all the help it can get). 

In order to qualify for the tax credit, home buyers must be in contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010 (100 days away as of today)* with a closing date no later than June 30, 2010 (no summer vacations for escrow officers in June).   Home buyers will need to file IRS Form 5405 and be sure to include a copy of their HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

Members of our Armed Forces serving outside of the United States have been granted an extra year for the tax credit.  They must be in contract by April 30, 2011 and close prior to June 30, 2011.

Check with your tax advisor for more information.

Special note: this is my 1000th article posted at Mortgage Porter!  Thanks again for your continued support and readership. 

A Few Minor Adjustments

I think I've somehow managed to lose my Feedburner feed, where my readers receive what ever articles I write on Mortgage Porter directly to their email.  So I'm looking at using this as an opportunity to revamp what I use for my feed and I could use your help.

Please comment below if you are a Mortgage Porter subscriber and let me know if you have received this post via:

  • Feedburner
  • Feedblitz
  • Mailchimp
  • other

Thanks so much for your help! 

Happy Third Birthday, Mortgage Porter

It's hard to believe that I've began writing on blogs three years ago today.   I honestly didn't expect anyone to read what I had to say about mortgages.  It almost began more as free therapy since I had to get what was bothering me about the industry off my chest.  And thanks to the current mortgage landscape, I still have plenty to write about and there are so many forums with social media.

Three years ago, I  had plugged away on Mortgage Porter until I was invited to be a contributing author at Rain City Guide, where I still post today.  I write for a few other blogs now and then too.  Social media has evolved during this time.  I also enjoy "micro-blogging" in 140 characters or less on Twitter, where I post the rate quotes I'm providing Washington State consumers, various mortgage factoids and personal odds and ends.  Facebook has become a place where I stay connected with family, friends and clients.   My blogging and participation in social media has brought me so many great opportunities including being recognized by peers with the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals 2009 Jim Fitzgerald Distinguished Service Award and being a panelist at RE Blog World in Las Vegas.

And it all started with this blog post…go figure! 

Thank you for reading, commenting and for those of you who have selected me to be your mortgage professional.  I'm honored.