Archives for May 2009

HUD Approves First Time Home Buyers Using Tax Credit Advance for FHA Loans

There's been a lot of rumbling about whether or not first time home buyers would be able to access the tax credit created by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 towards the purchase of their new home.  From HUD's announcement yesterday:

Current law does not permit approved lenders to monetize the tax credit to meet the required 3.5 percent minimum down payment, but, under the terms of today's announcement, lenders can now monetize the tax credit for use as additional down payment, or for other closing costs, which can help achieve a lower interest rate. Buyers financing through state Housing Finance Agencies and certain non-profits will be able to use the tax credit for their downpayments via secondary financing provided by the HFA or non-profit. In addition to the borrower's own cash investment, FHA allows parents, employers and other governmental entities to contribute towards the downpayment. Today's action permits the first-time homebuyer's anticipated tax credit under the Recovery Act to be applied toward the family's home purchase right away.

Here are some important points for you to know regarding using the tax credit towards a home purchase:

  • The tax credit advance loan cannot be used towards the mandetory 3.5% down payment.  (Update: unless it is through a State Housing Financing Agency).
  • The tax credit advance loan may not exceed the anticipated tax credit due to the home buyer based on the computations of form IRS 5405
  • The borrower will need to provide a copy of their tax refund and/or form IRS 5405.
  • Borrower cannot have unsettled obligations with the IRS.
  • If the tax advance is in the form of a loan with payments, the borrower must qualify with that payment (unless the payments are deferred for at least 36 months).

Reminders about the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit…

You can claim the tax credit if:

  • You purchased your main home after April 8, 2008 (who picked that day?) and before December 1, 2009.
  • You (and your spouse, if married) did not own any other main home during the 3 year period ending on the date of purchase.

The IRS defines "main home" as the one you live in most of the time.  It can be a house, hosueboat, housetrailer, cooperative apartment, condominium, or other type of residence.

You cannot claim the tax credit if:

  • Your modified adjusted gross income is $95,000 or more ($170,000 or more if married filed jointly).
  • Your home financing comes from tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds.
  • You are a nonresident alien.
  • You aquired your home by gift or inheritance.
  • You acquired your home from a related person.

You must repay the tax credit if your home ceases to be your main home within the 36 month period beginning on the purchase date.  

HUD warns that homebuyers should beware of mortgage scams and carefullly compare benefits and costs when seeking out tax credit monetization services.

Don't forget, Mortgage Master is a direct endorsed HUD lender.  If you're buying a home in Washington State and are interested in an FHA loan, I'm happy to help you.

Hey LO’s! Join Me at Safeco Field on Friday, June 19, 2009

RSVP by clicking here!



Question from a Mortgage Porter reader: My Loan Officer Didn’t Lock…What Can I Do?

Last night, I received this email from a borrower who's dealing with yesterday's dramatic rise in mortgage rates:

I was wondering if there was anything we can do if we asked our lender to lock in Monday (which I would suppose would mean Tuesday am) and he didn't because he was sick.  Now he is balking at giving us the rate that he quoted us.  We think that the lending institution should make good on their rate, since we HAD decided to lock in and it was their delay that caused the problem.  Is there a chance for us? 

Monday was Memorial Day and therefore, the mortgage originator probably could not lock and most likely was enjoying a day off.   On Tuesday, it sounds like the loan officer took another day off for health reasons. 

Unless the mortgage originator provided you a written lock confirmation, I'm not sure that you have a leg to stand on.   A rate quote is not a guarantee of rate.  In fact, it's only valid the moment the loan originator is providing it.  Rates change constantly–yesterday, most of the lenders our company works with issued 5 different rate sheets. 

Not being able to reach your loan officer when you want to lock is a risk when floating your mortgage interest rate.  If I have the day off (due to health or vacation) I do have a manager who will take care of locks and/or any issues that may arise.   Consumers may also find it difficult to make contact with their mortgage professional to lock because they may be working with another client at the moment (either locking another loan or in a consultation).  

Not locking your rate at application (if you're closing soon) is gambling the rate not only are your betting that rates will go down, you're risking not being able to lock for the reasons mentioned above and also with constant changing guidelines in this current environment.  Locking the rate is also a form of gambling (that the rate will go up).   Always consider which worse case scenario you can live with when making the decision to lock or not lock.

With that said, rates may come back down since the Treasury is not done spending their allotment towards mortgage bonds (which has been keeping mortgage rates artificially low).  No one can say precisely when this will happen or how much rates will be manipulated lower.  

Reminder: No Closings this Friday for King and Snohomish Counties

Due to budget restraints in King and Snohomish Counties, the recorders office will be closed this Friday and will not reopen until Tuesday (due to Memorial Day).  This means that if you are buying, selling or refinancing a home; the Deed or new mortgage (Deed of Trust) cannot be recorded on these dates.  Pierce County's recorders office will remain open Friday, May 22, 2009.

The Talon Group has calendars available with recording schedules for King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties–click here.   Each county is doing their own thing to their respective budgets.   Just last month, Snohomish County announced that they are closing early on Friday's (if they are not on furlough).

If you have a transaction scheduled to close on property located in King or Snohomish Counties this Friday, May 22, you may want to check with your real estate and mortgage professionals.

What I’ve Learned About Pugs

I have a 13 year old Pug, Orson.  Last month it seemed his hind legs were bothering Orshim so I took him to the Vet who thought it was most likely old age and arthritis.  He recommended giving him treats with glucosamine to see if that worked.   A couple weeks later, his front legs began to give him trouble as well and he began walking with a sway (almost as if he was a little drunk).  Orson and I went back to the local Vet and this time the prognosis was not good: possible brain tumor.  They referred us to Dr. Sean Saunders of Seattle Veterinary Specialist in Kirkland who specializes in neurology.  An MRI revealed that Orson does not have a brain tumor; he has Hansen's Type II invertebral disk disease–as bad as this sounds, I'm relieved since this is probably can be managed with doggy drugs. 

What's the probable cause (or at least an aggregator)?

  • Stairs.  His compact body is jarred going up and down stairs. 
  • Being walked with a traditional collar.  Orson now sports a nice harness for his walks.
  • Jumping can also cause injury to the disks in their spine.  Orson's not a jumper.

So this weekend, we're cleaning out our home office area.  Orson's "movin' on up" from the basement to a kennel in the office.  No more stairs for this fellow and I'm happy to share my home office with him. 

USDA Loans offer 100% Financing

EDITORS NOTE:  Please check out this updated post (May 2011) on USDA financing for homes located in Washington State.  Income limits and the guarantee fee have since changed since publishing this post.

USDA Rural Development loans offer financing of single family dwellings in rural areas to people who meet certain income limits.  In King County, the current four-person household adjusted limit is $88,400 maximum income.  

This program provides up to 100% financing with flexible underwriting guidelines. There is no mortgage insurance however, similar to a VA loan, there is an upfront fee of 2% of the loan amount (guarantee fee) that can be financed into the new mortgage.   Mortgage rates are attractive considering the higher loan to value, no credit score price hits and no monthly mortgage insurance–I've added rates for USDA loans to my rate post that I do on Friday's here at Mortgage Porter.

To see if you and a potential property are eligible, click here.

If you're interested in a USDA loan on property located in Washington State, please contact me.  Mortgage Master is an approved lender.

Mortgage Master now has Streamlined FHA 203(k) Loans!

May 2010 UPDATE:  Mortgage Master Service Corporation will no longer do "streamlined" refinances–however we WILL do full 203k rehab mortgages.

Streamlined FHA 203(k) mortgages are intended for "lighter" repairs or improvements to a home.  The rehab amount is limited to a maximum of $35,000 and the minimum repair cost is $5,000.   Here is an example of eligible improvements:

  • Repair or replacement of roofs, gutters and downspouts.
  • Repair or replacement of existing heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning system.
  • Repair or replacement of plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Repair or replacement of flooring.
  • Minor remodeling that does not involve structural repairs.
  • Exterior and interior painting.
  • Weatherization, including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc.
  • Purchase and installation of appliances.
  • Improvements for people with disabilities.
  • Lead-based paint stabilization.
  • Repair, replacement or addition of exterior decks, patios, porches.
  • Basement finishing and remodeling that does not involve structural repairs.
  • Basement waterproofing.
  • Replacement of windows and doors and exterior wall re-siding.

The loan amounts are based on current FHA loan limits.  In King, Pierce and  Snohomish counties, the current FHA loan limit is $567,500.  This program is available for purchase and refi's.

If you're interested in a FHA Streamlined 203(k) mortgage for your home located in Washington State, please contact me.

Happy Mother’s Day


This photo could have been very close to my Mom's first Mother's Day.