Archives for March 2013

HARP 2.0 exceeds FHFA’s expectations

FHFA has published their 2012 Refinance Report which includes some interesting stats on the Home Affordable Refinance Program (aka HARP 2.0).  HARP 2.0 is a program to help home owners who have lost home equity refinance their property as long as the mortgage was securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. You can learn more about HARP 2.0 by checking out my guide.

December’s refinance report revealed that since the inception of HARP 2.0, over 2 million home owners have benefited from a HARP refinance. 

  • 88% of HARP refinances have been owner occupied/primary residence
  • 9% have been for investment properties
  • 3% were second or vacation homes

According to the FHFA Refinance Report, 25% of the transactions in December were for homes that were significantly underwater, with loan to values over 125%. Almost half the refinances were for homes with loan to values over 105%.

One of the benefits of a HARP 2.0 refinance is that it allows the home owner to refinance without getting new private mortgage insurance regardless of loan to value. If the home owner currently has pmi, it needs to transfer to the new HARP refi (this happens in a majority of cases).

The report states that 18% of those who did a HARP refinance in December 2012 opted for shorter terms (15 or 20 year) instead of a 30 year fixed.

Remember, the HARP 2.0 program is set to expire on December 31, 2013. 

If your home is located in Redmond, Renton, Ravensdale or anywhere in the State of Washington, where I’m licensed to originate mortgages, I am happy to help you. Click here if you would like a mortgage rate quote.

Potential changes to USDA Zero Down Mortgages

USDA mortgages are available with zero down payment to borrowers under certain income limits who want to buy in a designated rural area. USDA provides maps that illustrate whether or not a geographical area is allowed to have this program. 

The maps for USDA were set to be revised late last month with revisions taking place at the end of this month have been postponed by Congress. USDA mortgages are proceeding “business as usual” until they hear otherwise from “the hill”.


The orange areas of this map shows areas that are currently not eligible for USDA zero down payment financing.

Congress has introduced bills that would change how a rural area is defined, including increasing the population to 35,000 based on the 2010 Census which would allow more homes to be eligible for zero down USDA mortgages.

USDA loans offer very competitive rates. Just yesterday on Twitter, I shared a quote based on a USDA loan in the Maltby area in the mid 3’s for a 30 year fixed with zero down payment for a $500,000 sales price based on a family of 5. 


If you would like a mortgage rate quote for a zero down USDA mortgage on a home located in Washington, click here.

In addition to the property being in a designated rural area, to qualify for the USDA zero down mortgage program, your household income cannot exceed the current income limits. Current household income limits for properties in King and Snohomish counties are $93,450 for a family up to 4 and $123,350 for a family of 5 to 8 members living in the home.

If you’re interested in a USDA zero down mortgage in Duvall, North Bend, Port Townsend or anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you.

Mortgage rate update for the week of March 11, 2013

MortgagePorter-JobsReportThe strong Jobs Report on Friday caused mortgage rates to trend higher. This morning rates are still at that level. Please keep in mind that although I talk about mortgage  rates been higher – they’re still very low. However if you’ve been pricing mortgage rates over the last two months, you’ll notice that the price (discount) for the same rate you’ve been quoted, cost more.

[Read more…]

My Painting: In-laws as Out-Laws

 Just for fun I thought I’d share one of my recent paintings that I did of my in-laws, Bob and Ruth Porter posing as Bonnie and Clyde.

InLaws as OutLaws by Rhonda Porter
InLaws as OutLaws by Rhonda Porter

Bob Porter actually founded Mortgage Master Service Corporation in 1976. Two of Bob and Ruth’s children, Marilyn and John, are still at Mortgage Master today.

This painting is currently entered in an online art competition for Daniel Smith’s 11th Annual Customer Art Contest.

 If you’d like to vote for my painting, you can click here. You’ll need to search “rhonda” to find the painting…and vote often! 🙂    Enjoy your weekend!

FHA Streamlined Refi for your Investment Property

Did you know that if your existing mortgage is FHA on your investment property, that it may qualify for an FHA streamlined refi?

Here’s the scoop for a non-owner occupied FHA streamlined refi:

[Read more…]

Median Home Prices up 18.5% in King County

A few days ago, I shared an article about how the greater Seattle – Bellevue – Everett area is one of the top 5 places in the country to be a home seller.  Yesterday’s article in the Seattle Times appears to back that up.

A record-low inventory of homes for sale in King County, very low interest rates and a growing Puget Sound economy combined to push the median price of houses sold in February to $365,000, an 18 percent jump over a year ago.

Only 2,947 homes were listed for sale in King County last month, down from 5,178 a year ago, according to Tuesday’s report by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

I’m currently working with several pre-approved buyers who are ready, able and wanting to buy a home in this area. What they need is more inventory.

If you have been considering selling your home, now could be the time. You may find that you have an advantage being listed before other homes plan to go on the market for Spring.

If you are planning on buying a home, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be prepared for competition. It’s crucial to be fully preapproved with a local, reputable mortgage professional.

If you’re considering buying a home in King County, or any county in Washington state, I’m happy to help you with your mortgage needs. 

Reader Question: Do underwriting guidelines vary between lenders?

I recently received this email from a Mortgage Porter subscriber:

Do different banks need different underwriting documents? I am talking to two lenders now, and one will give me a lower rate but asks for the bank statement from my family which wires me money; the other one has a higher rate but only needs a gift letter. Is it because some banks are more strict because of their lower rate? Thanks.

[Read more…]

Mortgage Rate update for the week of March 4, 2013

This week’s economic calender would be considered a little on the light side if not for Friday’s Jobs Report. Here are some of the economic indicators scheduled to be released this week.

Tuesday, March 5: ISM Services Index

Wednesday, March 6: ADP National Employment Report and the Beige Book

Thursday, March 7: Initial Jobless Claims and Productivity

Friday, March 8: THE JOBS REPORT

Remember, signs of inflation tend to drive mortgage rates higher. You may also notice that when the stock markets are doing well, mortgage rates tend to rise as investors will trade the safety of bonds (like mortgage backed securities) for the potential greater return of stocks.

Mortgage rates are still very low, however they have been trending higher over the last several weeks.

If I can provide you with a rate quote for a home purchase or refinance located anywhere in Washington state, please click here.