My Interview on NPR: Credit and Refinancing

If you listen to the soothing voices of NPR in the mornings, you may have heard NPR's Wendy Kaufman's interview discussing the challenges of refinancing with lower credit scores.  I actually meet with Wendy about a week ago in Bellevue so she could interview me for this piece which I'm told will be airing again around 8:50 this morning PST on KPLU (88.5 a.m.).

You can also read the text version which includes a link to the broadcast:  Home Loan Blues: Refinancing Isn't So Easy

Here are some points I'd like to add to the interview:

It is more challenging to refinance (or purchase) in today's market.  Especially if you compare it to the wild subprime era of a few years ago…however the pendulum is still swinging tighter.  Mortgage guidelines absolutely needed to swing back from subprime, however some people may surprised to experience a mortgage transaction today.   The broadcast included a borrower who had to take clear copies of his documents–that would have happened before too assuming his supporting documentation (bank statements) were even required.   Today's underwriter is asking a lot more "why" instead of simply checking off a box that was generated by a streamlined automated underwriting system.  Qualifying for a mortgage is not impossible but you do need to be cooperative and provide what your mortgage professional asks of you…including that last page of your bank statement, even if it's blank.

With regards to credit scoring, we continue to see the minimum allowed credit score being raised.  It used to be that a 700 credit score or higher was considered great.  Now there are three different credit score "brackets" with conforming mortgages if your score is in the 700 range.   With higher loan to value loans, like FHA, many lenders are requiring a mid-score of 640 or higher (some lenders may go lower but I expect their credit score standards to increase too at a higher rate).

There are programs available for refinancing your home if you have lost equity and/or have a lower credit score.  If home owners currently have an FHA mortgage or conforming mortgage that qualifies for a Home Affordable Refi, they may still be able to take advantage of today's low rates.  If your home is located in Washington state, I'm happy to review your scenario at no obligation to see if refinancing makes sense for you. 

Listen to the NPR interview where I discuss credit scores.


You Don’t Want to Miss this Conversation

Dustin Luther of Rain City Guide and 4realz has been hosting weekly "radio shows" where people can call in, chat via the internet or do both while guest have a conversation with a panel selected by Dustin.   As a contributor to Rain City Guide, I’ve participated in a couple of these interesting sessions.  Recently we had a great discussion about the proposed changes to how appraisals are ordered for conforming mortgages…tomorrow’s conversation promises to be just as informing when Dustin interviews Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors.  The conversation is centered around the Effect of the FDIC/Treasury Actions on Homebuyers and the Real Estate Industry.

Tune in tomorrow, July 17, 2008 at 5pm PST.

I’m planning on being a part of the conversation–if you would like to learn how you can attend, click here.

Update:  If you missed the live broadcast, you can hear the discussion here:

Great Roundtable Conversation about Appraisal Changes

I was just part of the latest 4realz Roundtable hosted by Dustin Luther and featuring Jonathan J. Miller, an appraiser from New York.   This discussion is about the upcoming changes with how conforming appraisals will be ordered, which I wrote about earlier this year at Rain City Guide.  I was planning to be a fly on the wall…but Dustin wouldn’t have that!   Jessie B. from was also active on the panel.

This will impact any conforming (Fannie/Freddie) mortgage and I really don’t see ANY benefit to this new procedure that is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2009.   If this goes into effect, appraisals will be ordered from an "appraisal management company" instead of from a mortgage broker/loan originator.   It’s my understanding that even though this change has come about from NY’s Attorney General Coumo suing Washington Mutual and eAppraisal, banks like WaMU will not be impacted.  (Am I the only one who finds this ironic?).

My take on this is that appraisals will take longer and will have less quality if they are ordered via a pool (very similar to VA appraisals).

Listen and learn! Just click the green arrow above.

Join Me Tuesday at Rain City Radio featuring The Tim (aka the Seattle Bubble)

Once again we have a great show lined up at Rain City Radio, featuring "The Tim" who author and moderates The Seattle Bubble blog.  It should be a very interesting conversation and you are welcome to join the RCG panel.   For more information, click here.

I will update this post as more information becomes available.

Update:  Click below to listen to the interview with Tim Ellis from Seattle Bubble.  This is a great interview that expands beyond "the bubble" and also discusses blogging, and Tim’s Naked Loon.

Catch Me Tomorrow at RCG Radio featuring the West Seattle Blog

Dustin Luther of Rain City Guide will be hosting Rain City Conversations at 4:00 p.m. PST on Tuesday, June 24, 2008. Our featured guest is non other than Tracy Record, Editor of the infamous West Seattle Blog.  I’m really looking forward to having the chance to actually chat with Tracy.   I have a very small neighborhood blog in West Seattle as well…I bow down and curtsy to WSB!   I do hope you join us at 4:00 p.m. PST to participate — for more information, click here.

Dustin continues to line up the great guests and topics…plan on tuning in Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m.

Update:  Listen to a West Seattle Conversation featuring Tracy Record, Editor of the West Seattle Blog.