Archives for July 2010

The West Seattle Grand Parade

I must confess, I love parades.   And for me, the West Seattle Grand Parade is at the top of my list.  Not only is it in my home town, it features JP Patches, Seafair Pirates, marching bands, drill teams and Miss West Seattle HiYu with her court.  





This year, my step-daughter, Kelsey, is a candidate for Miss West Seattle HiYu which makes the parade extra special.

Here are more of my photos from yesterday’s West Seattle Grand Parade.

Moms-to-Be CAN Qualify for a Mortgage

My Mom and Me Recently the New York Times published an article stating that expectant mothers were being denied mortgages partially due to guidelines such as Fannie Mae's Lender's Quality Initiative.  I'm not sure if this was a case of bad reporting or a bit of fear from the lenders part of LQI, where loans may possibly be denied at closing if the loan application changes.   HUD has announced they are investigating this as discrimination against expectant mothers and new parents.

From HUD's Press Release:

"…FHA requires its approved lenders to review a borrower's income to determine whether they can reasonably be expected to continue paying their mortgage for the first three years of the loan.  FHA-insured lenders cannot, however, inquire about the future maternity leave.  If a borrower is on maternity leave at the time of closing, lenders must document the borrower's intent to return to work, that the borrower has the right to return to work, and that the borrower qualifies for the loan taking into account any reduction of income due to their leave.  Meanwhile, HUD is currently reviewing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's underwriting guidelines to determine if they satisfy the Fair Housing Act, including income verification of persons taking parental or disability leave…"

The New York Times article references a mother from Washington State who's mortgage was almost denied due to her maternity leave:

Elizabeth Budde, a 33-year-old oncologist who lives in Kenmore, Wash. She nearly lost her mortgage after a loan officer learned she was home with her newborn.

With stellar credit and a solid job, Dr. Budde said she had been notified via e-mail that she was approved for a loan on June 15. But that note prompted an automatic, “out of the office” e-mail reply from Dr. Budde’s work account, which said she was out on maternity leave.

The next day, Dr. Budde received a second e-mail message from the lender, this time denying her loan approval. Since “maternity leave is classified as paid via short-term or temporary disability income,” the e-mail message said, it could not be used because it would not continue for three years.

The message also said the lender could not consider her regular, salaried income because she was not on the job. “I was really shocked,” Dr. Budde said. “At the time, they didn’t know how I was getting paid for my leave.”

In the case of this new mom, her base salary would have sufficed for her loan approval to not be in jeopardy had she disclosed this to the mortgage originator assuming this mortgage originator knew their underwriting guidelines.  (Sounds like this mortgage originator either didn't know her guidelines or her lender has very strict underwriting overlays, in my opinion).

It's assumed there are no changes to your loan application between the time of application and closing.  If you have changes to your employment, income, assets or credit during your transaction, you need to let your mortgage originator know as soon as possible.  Verification of employment (VOE's) are performed prior to closing (funding) and in some cases, credit may be re-verified.   LQI (Loan Quality Initiative) requires that lenders do pre-funding reviews to make sure that the loan application is accurate prior to funding.  Per Fannie Mae:

The pre-funding review process should include controls or checks that test the accuracy of the loan data to ensure the information obtained is correct (e.g. borrower identity, employment, financial information, property information).

Anyone, man or woman, planning on taking any leave from their employment during their loan transaction should let their mortgage originator know. 

Photo: My brand new Mom (with me). 

Give Yourself a Raise – Refinance with Lifetime Low Mortgage Rates

If you own a home and have an interest rate in the 5% range, it could be worth while to check with a local mortgage originator to see if refinancing makes sense for your personal scenario.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Most mortgages are full doc now.  You need to be able to show your income.
  • Conventional mortgages may allow expanded loan-to-values with the HARP program (home affordable refinance).  
  • If your original conventional mortgage has an 80% loan to value and you're upside down now, you may qualify for programs without private mortgage insurance at today's low rates.
  • FHA and VA streamline refinances are available without appraisals.
  • Minimum credit score of 620 with Mortgage Master Service Corporation.
  • Refinances available for owner occupied, investment and vacation homes.
  • Refinances can be used to reduce your interest rate, reduce your mortgage term, consolidate mortgages or pay off debts.

Not everyone situation qualifies for a refinance, but you won't know unless you take a few moments to check it out.   Why not see if you can put some extra cash into your monthly budget?  If your property is located in Washington State, I'm happy to provide a rate quote at no obligation to you.   You can also see what rate's I'm quoting live by following me on Twitter (you can unfollow me anytime).

Take a Sunday Drive to Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle

The Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle is open to the public on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 


Here's the panoramic view from the top! 

It's an amazing bit of Seattle history and a beautiful place to visit.  Established in 1887, the current tower was first lit in 1913, the lighthouse will be celebrating her 100th birthday in a couple years.  

Come check it out before Labor Day!   Here are more of my photos of the Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle.

Garden Glass Art

Our Seattle home is situated very close to our both neighbors.  In fact, the view out our dining room window are the grey shingles of our next door neighbor’s house.  My husband and I started keeping an eye out for glass art to create a garden.  Last weekend, at the West Seattle Summerfest, we spied a booth, Simply Qwirky, selling beautiful yard art made from vintage looking glass plates.

They really brighten up the view and add a little whimsey.   I’m told the artist, Julie and Carline, are typically at the Fremont Sunday Street Market.  Below is more of their pretty flower glass plates from the West Seattle fair last weekend.


Paying Alimony? You May Want to Consider an FHA Insured Mortgage

UPDATE: You no longer have to FHA if you’re paying alimony... Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have updated their guidelines. Check it out here!

Most mortgage originators know that if you have less than 10 payments remaining with alimony or child support payments, it may not have to be factored into your qualifying ratios (debt to income) as long as the payment doesn’t impact your ability to pay the mortgage following closing.  A borrower needs to be well qualified with plenty of savings for an underwriter to support this guideline. [Read more…]

Seafair Pirates invade Alki Beach in West Seattle

My photos of the Seafair pirates landing at Alki are posted here.

Mortgage Master Service Corporation is closed for the holiday

Mortgage Master Service Corporation is  closed today in observance of Independence Day.  Our main office in Kent will reopen for business as usual on the morning of Tuesday, July 6, 2010.

The markets are closed today too so I won't be posting mortgage rates today.