Archives for December 2007

Festive Friday: Alki’s Blue Glass House

This home is a treat to walk by just south of Alki’s sandy beach.  The locals know this as "The Blue Glass House". 


Img_4752 This time of year, blue Christmas lights adorn their decked out yard.   

Mortgage Master will be closing early tomorrow

Dasanta1_2 Tis the Season for office holiday parties.   Mortgage Master will be closing at 3:00 p.m.  tomorrow, Friday, December 21, 2007 to celebrate Christmas and this year being (almost) OVER! 

We will re-open for business on Monday, December 24, 2007.   As this is Christmas Eve, you can expect a light staff and that we will be closing early (once fundings are complete…so no exact time as of yet).

We will re-open for business on Wednesday, December 26, 2007.

Where is the mistletoe?

My Take on the Fed’s Proposal to Amend Reg Z

You can read the official press release here.   This following is from the highlights.  I’ve added my opinions (if any) in italic.

The proposal would establish a new category of “higher-priced mortgages” that should include virtually all subprime loans. The proposal would, for these loans:

  • Prohibit a lender from engaging in a pattern or practice of lending without considering borrowers’ ability to repay the loans from sources other than the home’s value.  Fine.
  • Prohibit a lender from making a loan by relying on income or assets that it does not verify.   Fine. I have never been a fan of "over" stated income when the income is not there.  I have done just a few stated income loans in my mortgage career where the income was there, but hard to document.  This will impact those borrowers.
  • Restrict prepayment penalties only to loans that meet certain conditions, including the condition that the penalty expire at least sixty days before any possible payment increase.   Fine.  I’ve never liked prepayment penalties.  Life happens and sometimes people don’t stay in a home or mortgage as long as they originally intended.
  • Require that the lender establish an escrow account for the payment of property taxes and homeowners’ insurance.  Fine.  The lender may only offer the borrower the opportunity to opt out of the escrow account after one year. All subprime (or non-prime, same thing–just sounds better these days) should have reserve accounts. 

The proposal would, for these and most other mortgages (prime aka a-paper):

  • Prohibit lenders from paying mortgage brokers “yield spread premiums” that exceed the amount the consumer had agreed in advance the broker would receive.    A yield spread premium is the fee paid by a lender to a broker for higher-rate loans.    Fine…IF…the borrower accepts and understands that the broker is going to be compensated a total of x% which includes YSP plus the origination if any.  For example, the broker would disclose upfront to the borrower that he/she is going to make 1.25% (just for example sake) to the borrower.  If the borrower is paying 1% if origination points and the lender is paying 0.30% in YSP; the loan originator will credit the borrower 0.05% of the YSP to the consumer.   However, if the reverse happens, and the YSP winds up being 0.20%, shouldn’t the Loan Originator be allowed to increase their origination by 0.05% to meet the 1.25% agreed compensation?  It needs to work both ways. 
  • Prohibit certain servicing practices, such as failing to credit a payment to a consumer’s account when the servicer receives it, failing to provide a payoff statement within a reasonable period of time, and “pyramiding” late fees.  This must be on the servicing side (and it’s fine with me).
  • Prohibit a creditor or broker from coercing or encouraging an appraiser to misrepresent the value of a home.  Fine…absolutely fine!
  • Prohibit seven misleading or deceptive advertising practices for closed-end loans; for example, using the term “fixed” to describe a rate that is not truly fixed.  It would also require that all applicable rates or payments be disclosed in advertisements with equal prominence as advertised introductory or “teaser” rates.   Fine.  I have called 5 year ARMs, ARMs that are fixed for five years and adjust annually afterward.  I don’t see that as misleading.  Consumers should know what the "worse case" payment may be on their ARM or any mortgage.
  • Require truth-in-lending disclosures to borrowers early enough to use while shopping for a mortgage. Lenders could not charge fees until after the consumer receives the disclosures, except a fee to obtain a credit report.  Fine.  I do not provide rate quotes (except for those I post on Fridays with all of my disclaimers) without sending a Good Faith Estimate with the Federal Truth in Lending. 

I am not seeing a huge issue with the Fed’s proposal.  In fact, as you can see, for the most part, I agree with it…it’s fine

NOTE:  If you bought a home using over-stated income and have an ARM adjusting, you may need to find a co-signer to help you obtain your next mortgage.  There will not be many (if any) stated or no-income verified products available for you.  This is your government in action.

My email from Congressman Dave Reichert on HR 3915


Dear Mrs. Porter,

Thank you for contacting me to share your views on legislation to address predatory mortgage lending. I appreciate your thoughts on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you know, Representative Brad Miller (D-NC) introduced the Mortgage Refomr and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 3915) on October 22, 2007, to create a nationwide licensing system for mortgage brokers similar to our existing system of federal banking regulation. I supported this legislation when it came to the House floor for a vote because I am concerned that if predatory lending continues to lead to foreclosures and decimate the market, it might reduce the value of homes across the 8th District and our nation. It is estimated that families not facing foreclosure could see the value of their homes decline by $265 billion because of the ripple effect 2.2 million foreclosures would have in diminishing process of surrounding homes. The measure passed the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 291-127, and has been sent to the Senate for review.

When H.R. 3915 was originally presented to the House, it contained some flawed provisions. That’s why I supported amendments to clarify and narrow its scope to ensure that it targets predatory lenders and does not have unintended consequences for mortgage brokers who responsibly extend credit to homebuyers. I also sought to exempt prime loans from the bill and reduce the potential for frivolous lawsuits and borrowers alike.

Rest assured that I will continue to closely monitor the crisis in our mortgage markets and its impact on our economy. The crisis will require public and private sector effects to help those affected, and I will support measures that provide necessary assistance without sacrificing free market principles.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued and I hope to hear from you in the future regarding other matters of importance. I encourage you to visit my website and sign up for my monthly e-newsletter at to learn more about other issues impacting the 8th Congressional District and our nation.


David G. Reichert
Member of Congress

What to do when your husband starts a DIY project before Christmas?

Decorate…of course!


This is how this is how this nice hole in the wall started.

Michelle Brown’s Memorial Service

Update:  Michelle’s obituary and guest book.

Here is a memo from Christine, one of my co-workers at Mortgage Master.  She did a  wonderful job composing this regarding Michelle Brown’s Memorial on Monday, December 17.    Mortgage Master will be open with a light staff on Monday.  I will not be working on that day.   Please contact my Processor, Dina should you need anything on a transaction in progress.

To The Friends of Michelle Brown~

As most of the you are aware, on the afternoon of December 12th,  our dear friend Michelle passed away.  Below is information that her family has asked me to pass on.
Michelle’s memorial service will be held at the Kent Senior Activity Center at 2:00pm, Monday, December 17th.  There will be a celebration of Michelle’s life immediately following the memorial service at Henry’s Switch at Lake Wilderness Golf Course. There will also be an open viewing at Marlatt’s Funeral Home on Monday morning from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Michelle to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, or The family of Michelle Brown Memorial Fund.  If you would like to send flowers, the family’s preferred flower vendor is Covington Buds & Blooms.
As her friend, I know the family would want me to extend their gratitude to each and every one of you for your love, friendship, support and generosity.  We have all been truly blessed to have had such a wonderful person touch our lives and live forever in our hearts.Michelle
Warmest regards,
I am scouring through my photos trying to find more of Michelle.   This is a goofy one where we are dressing up like Marilyn Porter (the lady in the red hat who is my sister in law and our "boss") celebrating Marilyn’s milestone birthday.   Michelle enjoyed life and was never without a smile.   
Important information for Michelle’s Memorial:

Kent Senior Activity Center

600 East Smith Street

Kent, WA  98031

Henry’s Switch at Lake Wilderness Golf Course
25400 Witte Road SE
Maple Valley, WA  98038
Marlatt’s Funeral Home
713 Central Avenue North
Kent, WA 
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
PO BOX 19023
Seattle, WA  98109
Mention In Memory of Michelle Brown on memo line or with operator
206-667-6121 (phone donations)
Online payment options are not available at this time
The Family of Michelle Brown Memorial Fund
Executor – Dave Tredo
Washington Mutual Bank – Donations accepted at any branch
Covington Buds and Blooms
15220 SE 272nd
Kent, WA  98042

FHA jet setting towards Modernization

250pxjetsonsmeetflintstones The Senate overwhelmingly just passed the FHA Modernization Bill with a 93-1 vote.  If enacted, this will bring dramatic changes for FHA insured mortgages including increased loan limits and reduced down payments. 

HUD has been chomping at the bit to have FHA become more "modern" for quite some time.  In April of 2006,  Brian Montgomery Assistant Secretary of Housing stated,

"The bill itself is really very simple, the proposal straightforward. It does just what its name suggests: it modernizes the 72-year-old Federal Housing Administration and restores the agency to its intended place in the mortgage market."

The Senate and House both have different versions of the bill.  I’m betting the President will be approving the FHA Modernization Act into law possibly by the end of the year. 

FHA has always been a great resource for home owners and home buyers alike.   For more information on FHA mortgages, please check out my FHA Resources page.

Festive Friday: Christmas Lights in West Seattle

The Menashe family on Beach Drive in West Seattle creates the largest light display in the neighborhood along with Christmas music playing in the background.  I hope their neighbors don’t mind!   If you need a little help getting in the holiday spirit, drive on by this home!

These videos were taking with my new Flip recorder on December 1 when we had our first snow.   I treated myself to this mini-video camera to celebrate Mortgage Porter’s first birthday. I’m learning I need to "slow down" when I’m taking a video (I may have to stick with still photography).