Archives for April 2013

Home Advantage Mortgage with Down Payment Assistance

2013-03-07_0746Home Advantage is a program that is offered through the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.  Home Advantage is typically combined with a Home Advantage second mortgage that can finance closing cost and the down payment. Unlike the House Key program (state bond), this program has unlimited funds available for qualified Washington home buyers.

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HARP 2.0 extended through 2015

FHFA just issued a news release announcing that the Home Affordable Refinance Program (aka HARP) has been extended through 2015.  This refinance program created for home owners with conventional mortgages who are “under-water” home values was set to expire at the end of this year.

There is no mention of expanding or removing the June 1, 2009 securitization requirement that has excluded many home owners from being able to refinance their homes (aka HARP 3.0 or #MyRefi). 

Here are some of the requirements to be eligible for a HARP 2.0 refinance:

  • Your mortgage must be securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. NOTE: this is different than who you make your mortgage payment to (your mortgage servicer). Your may be making your mortgage payment to a big bank and your mortgage is securitized by Fannie or Freddie.
  • The mortgage must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before
    May 31, 2009.
    This is not the same as your closing date and takes place sometimes several weeks after the closing of your loan.
  • The mortgage cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously unless it is a Fannie
    Mae loan that was refinanced under HARP from March-May, 2009.
  • The current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80 percent. It doesn’t matter how “under water” your home’s equity is! Often times, no appraisal is required.
  • The borrower must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payments in the
    last six months and no more than one late payment in the last 12 months

This program is available on owner occupied, second homes and investment property and is available to most mortgages with existing mortgage insurance as long as the above criteria is met.

Click here for my complete guide on the Home Affordable Mortgage Program.

I’m happy to help you with a HARP refi or any mortgage for homes located in Washington state, where I’m Licensed.  Click here for a rate quote.

I am required to have the language below if I am soliciting your Home Affordable Refi for your home in Washington…and yes, I would love to help you with your HARP (or any) refinance:

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have adopted changes to the Home Affordable Refinance program (HARP) and you may be eligible to take advantages of these changes.  

If your mortgage is owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, you may be eligible to refinance your mortgage under the enhanced and expanded provisions of HARP.

You can determine whether your mortgage is owned by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae by checking the following websites: or

What the Fed Said

This morning the FOMC Minutes from last months meeting and it’s causing a stir in the bond markets. The minutes reveal some members of the Committee wanting to pull back on the purchasing of mortgage backed securities by the end of this year. Mortgage interest rates are based on MBS (bonds) and the indication of no longer having the Feds hand in keeping mortgage rates artificially low is causing the bond market to be slightly off this morning.

Here are some “minute bits” relating to mortgage interest rates that I found interesting:

“The staff also reported on potential risks to financial stability, including those associated with the current low interest rate environment. Some observers have suggested that a lengthy period of low long-term rates could encourage excessive risk-taking that could have adverse consequences for financial stability at some point in the future….

Participants generally saw conditions in the housing market as having improved further over the intermeeting period. Rising house prices were strengthening household balance sheets by raising wealth and by increasing the ability of some homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower rates. Such a dynamic was seen as potentially leading to a virtuous cycle that could help support household spending and financial market conditions over time….

…most participants saw asset purchases as having a meaningful effect in easing financial conditions and so supporting economic growth. Some expressed the view that these effects had likely been stronger during the Federal Reserve’s initial large-scale asset purchases because that program also helped support market functioning during the financial crisis. Other participants, however, saw little evidence that the efficacy of asset purchases had declined over time, and a couple of these suggested that the effectiveness of purchases might even have increased more recently, as the easing of credit constraints allowed more borrowers to take advantage of lower interest rates….

Participants generally agreed that asset purchases also have potential costs and risks. In particular, participants pointed to possible risks to the stability of the financial system, the functioning of particular financial markets, the smooth withdrawal of monetary accommodation when it eventually becomes appropriate, and the Federal Reserve’s net income….

to the extent that asset purchases push down longer-term interest rates, they potentially expose financial markets to a rapid rise in those rates in the future, which could impose significant losses on some investors and intermediaries….

Overall, most meeting participants thought the risks and costs of additional asset purchases remained manageable, but also that continued close attention to these issues was warranted. A few participants noted that curtailing the purchase program was the most direct way to mitigate the costs and risks….

Want more? You can read the minutes from the March FOMC meeting here.

What we do know is where mortgage interest rates are today… which is what I refer to as “artificially” low thanks to the Fed.  

It’s a limited opportunity for home owners to refinance and to create more cash flow (especially considering the increase in payroll tax) and to reduce the interest paid on their mortgage and for home buyers to secure a long term low mortgage rate on their next home.

If you are considering buying or refinancing a home located in Redmond, Renton, West Seattle or anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you!

USDA Rural reveals proposed new boundaries for Zero Down Mortgages

USDA Rural loans offers zero down financing to homes located in specific rural areas and to qualified borrowers who’s households who meet income limits.

Many Washington state home buyers have been anxiously waiting to see if they will impacted with the pending changes to USDA boundaries making zero down financing an option.

Recently USDA Rural Development updated their website with maps showing “future eligible areas” which will be based on census data from 2010. The proposed boundaries are set to go into effect as of October 1, 2013 baring Congressional Action. 

In order to have access to the maps, you’ll need to agree to USDA’s disclaimer.  Simply click the link for “future single family” and enter the property address to see if it is in an a proposed eligible area for USDA financing.

Meanwhile it’s “business as usual” with USDA home loans.

If you are interested in a USDA zero down home loan, or any mortgage for homes located in Washington state, I’m happy to help you! 

Mortgage rate update for the week of April 8, 2013

Mortgage rates continue to remain at historically low levels. Homeowners who have not recently refinanced may want to contact their mortgage professional to see if they can reduce how much they’re paying on interest.

Something that’s not staying low in the Seattle/King County area is home prices. The Seattle Times reports that in March, home prices are up 20% year over year. The median price for a home sold last month in Seattle jumped to $462,375. This is largely due to a lack of inventory. If you’ve been considering selling your home, now may be a good time.

Here are some of the economic indicators scheduled to be released this week:

Wednesday, April 10: FOMC Minutes

Thursday, April 11: Initial Jobless Claims

Friday, April 12: Retail Sales; Producer Price Index (PPI); Consumer Sentiment Index (UoM)

Also important to note: there has been some confusion as to the recent changes to mortgage insurance premiums on FHA loans regarding when the coverage terminates. FHA mortgage insurance will not become permanent until June 2013 and impacts newly originated FHA loans only with case numbers issued after May 31, 2013.

If I can help you with your home purchase or refinance for your home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me. Have a great week!

I’m not just a Blogger, I’m also a Licensed Mortgage Originator

This morning my husband and I enjoyed a tasty brunch at West 5 in West Seattle. I love their breakfast hash! When our waitress brought us our check she asked me if I was “that mortgage blogger”.  Yep… that’s me. She then went on to say how much she and her husband enjoyed my blog and that it was a great resource for when the refinanced. 

A bittersweet compliment. Of course I would have loved to help them with their refinance. I thanked her for her compliments.

My husband couldn’t resist calling her back when she walked by to ask why she didn’t contact me for her refi. She had asked for a referral from a trusted friend. I applaud this. That’s much better than calling a mortgage originator who has had to resort to mailing to strangers or clicking on some flashy ad on the internet (that’s probably just a lead generator).

With that said, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take this opportunity to remind my readers that I’m not just a mortgage blogger, what pays my bills is successfully closing mortgage loans on homes located in Washington state. I’m happy to provide you with a detailed mortgage rate quote or help you with your home purchase or refinance.

My commercial break is over 🙂 stay tuned… tomorrow I’ll be posting this week’s scheduled economic indicators. 

More options for Washington home buyers

Yesterday I was “in class” at the Washington State Housing Finance Commission learning about programs they have to offer Washington home buyers, including down payment assistance programs.

In order to obtain the down payment assistance, you must use a WSHFC first mortgage product, which includes:

The first mortgages may be FHA, USDA, VA or conventional mortgages with private mortgage insurance.

The down payment assistance (DPA) is in the form of a second mortgage that have specific criteria home buyers must meet to qualify.

  • Home Advantage DPA has an income limit of $97,000 and does not have a “needs assessment”.
  • Commissioned Second Mortgage works with the House Key Opportunity and is available to home buyers with special needs.

Home buyers interested in either program must attend a 5 hour class in order to qualify for these programs. While at class yesterday, I also received training to be a “Commission trained instructor”.

Watch for more details to follow soon!

Get Ready for Round 2 of Changes to FHA Mortgages

mortgageporter-round-twoEffective this week, FHA annual mortgage insurance premiums were once again increased on loans with case numbers issued April 1, 2013 or later by 10 to 15 basis points. This is just the first round of changes that were issued with HUD Mortgage Letter 2013-04.

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