Archives for February 2009

Friday Funny: Word of the Day

Liquidity:  When you look at your investments and wet your pants.  

Hat tip to Cliff Treat of The Talon Group.

Just a reminder that I will be at Seattle Real Estate Bar Camp today so I will not be posting mortgage rates.  If you would like a quote when I return, just provide me the information requested here or complete an on-line application (located under Favorite Links).

Seattle Real Estate Bar Camp and Seattle Unchained is this week!

If you're not in the real estate or mortgage industry, this post might be a big *yawn* REBCSea for you.  My apologies!  However, if you are a real estate agent or mortgage originator, you should consider checking out these events (if there's still room).

The big daddy is Real Estate Bar Camp which takes place this Friday beginning at 9:00 a.m. in down town Seattle.  I'm actually leading a break-out session with Brian Brady for fellow mortgage professionals and I'll be involved (learning or teaching) other events throughout the day.   As this is an all day event, I will not be posting rates on this Friday.  You can follow my rate updates on Twitter.  If you are going to RE Bar Camp, be sure to visit the web site and chime in what you would like to learn or teach soon.

Come a day early on Thursday afternoon and you'll catch Seattle Unchained.  I'll be involved on a panel with fellow bloggers at this event.

Zillow was kind to provide space at their headquarters in downtown Seattle at 999 – 3rd Avenue, Floor 41 for both events. 

I'm really looking forward to sharpening my tools at these (un)seminars.  I'll be returning emails and phones over the weekend.   By the way, on Monday, February 16, 2009, Mortgage Master will be closed in observance of President's Day.

Sunday Drive to Lincoln Park in West Seattle

Just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock, you’ll find Lincoln Park in West Seattle along P1190212P1190243 the Puget Sound.  Lincoln Park is one of Seattle’s oldest and largest parks with 135 acres which is packed with trails, covered picnic areas, baseball and soccer fields, playgrounds and swimming pools.   This beautiful park is one of the many designed by the Olmsted brothers in the early 1900s.

Colman Pool, a city landmark, is located within the park and is actually a heated salt water pool!   Here’s a recent review from an “unapologetic pool snob” in the Seattle PI:

“Colman is an Olympic regulation 50 meters long, twice the length of most pools. And — this is the best part — it’s filled with a half-million gallons of salt water from Puget Sound, delivered from a series of wells on the beach and heated to 85 degrees by a vintage gas-fired boiler.

A swim in the soft salt water feels ike a tonic, especially when you pop your head out of the briny water and take in the killer view: Blake Island dead ahead, Vashon and Bainbridge to the left and rightLincoln Park is located at 8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle.  Just take the West Seattle Bridge and follow the signs for the Vashon Ferry. 

Check out more of my photos of Lincoln Park by clicking here.

The FHA Streamlined Refinance

EDITORS NOTE August 23, 2009:  With any mortgage information that you find on the internet, whether it's from a blog or website, be mindful that guidelines are changing constantly in this current climate and information may not be totally up-to-date. 

September 29, 2009:  HUD has issued revisions to FHA Streamlined refi's which will be effective mid-November.

If your existing mortgage is FHA, you may qualify for a streamline refinance to take advantage of today's lower rates.  "Streamline" means that there is less documentation involved for the borrower which allows the transaction to close quicker than a typical refinance.  With a FHA streamline refi there is:

  • no income documentation or verification. UPDATE 8/23/2009:  Many lenders are now requiring proof of income/employment to show ability to make the mortgage payment.
  • no minimum credit score requirements. 620 minimum credit score required by most lenders. UPDATE 8/23/2009: Many lenders are now requiring a 660 minimum credit score. 
  • no verification or documentation of assets (like bank statements, retirement accounts, etc).
  • an appraisal may not be required.   When an appraisal is used for an FHA Streamline, the loan to value is limited to 97.75% (this is also true for refinancing a non-FHA loan to a FHA insured loan).  When an appraisal is not used, there is no "loan to value" ratio and closing costs may not be financed. (Updated).
  • upfront mortgage insurance is reduced to 1.5% of the base loan amount (instead of 1.75% for a non-streamline FHA refi) ). 2.25% (and proposed to be changed soon). 
  • cash back to the borrower is limited to $500. 

The following are some of the requirements for a home owner to qualify for a FHA refinance:

  • the existing mortgage that is being paid off must be an FHA insured mortgage.
  • the borrower may not have been late (30 days or more) on their mortgage payment in the past 12 months.
  • the new loan amount is subject to FHA loan limits.  Note: if you have an FHA mortgage that was acquired in 2008 where your geographical loan limit was higher than the current 2009 limit, you may still qualify for the streamline refi as long as your new loan amount does not exceed the original loan amount and the loan to value is 97.75% or less.

If a property has been converted to an investment property with a FHA insured underlying mortgage, it may also qualify for a FHA Streamline refi with no appraisal and only for the outstanding principal balance.

Last but no least, make sure that your Mortgage Originator works for a company who is HUD approved.  Some loan originators are not and may try to illegally broker your loan to a company that is.  I have been helping Washington State families with FHA financing since 2000 and Mortgage Master is a Direct Endorsed HUD approved lender with our own "in-house" FHA underwriters.  They've been helping home owners in the Pacific Northwest since 1976!

If you're interested in obtaining a FHA Streamline refinance for your home located in the State of Washington, please email me with the following information: 

  • Property address (estimated property taxes and home owners insurance is a plus).
  • Original FHA mortgage balance from when the mortgage was obtained.
  • Original amount of UFMIP (upfront mortgage insurance premium) and when you obtained the FHA insured loan.
  • Current FHA mortgage balance.
  • Estimated home value (appraisal may not be required).

The Magnificent 7 for 2008 are…drum roll please….

I'm still in awe over Larry Cragun's dedication of reading thousands of articles to Nommag72008 share his monthly selection of the seven best articles each month…and then to take those posts for the year and fine tune it down to his top seven favorite consumer focused articles is simply amazing.  Larry has said on his blog that 2008 is his last year for his Magnificent 7.   This makes being recognized as one of the last final seven extra special if not a bittersweet.

Not only am I honored that two of my articles made it to 2008's Magnificent 7, I'm humbled to be included with the others who made it on Larry's list. 

Drum roll…the Magnificent 7 for 2008 are…(click here).