What’s the difference between Fannie Mae Homepath and Freddie Mac Homesteps?

EDITORS NOTE: Fannie Mae is no longer offering the FannieMae HomePath mortgage program. If you are considering buying a Fannie Mae HomePath property (foreclosure that is owned by Fannie Mae) in Washington state, I’m happy to help you.

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HUD extends Waiver for “Anti-Flipping” Rule through 2012



HUD recently announced they will extend their anti-flipping waiver through December 2012.  From HUD:

In an effort to continue stabilizing home values and improve conditions in communities experiencing high foreclosure activity…[HUD] will extend FHA’s temporary waiver of the anti-flipping regulations. 

With certain exceptions, FHA regulations prohibit insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days… The new extension will permit buyers to continue to use FHA-insured financing to purchase HUD-owned properties, bank-owned properties, or properties resold through private sales. It will allow homes to resell as quickly as possible, helping to stabilize real estate prices and to revitalize neighborhoods and communities.

The extension is effective through December 31, 2012, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by FHA.  All other terms of the existing Waiver will remain the same. The Waiver contains strict conditions and guidelines to prevent the predatory practice of property flipping, in which properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers.  The Waiver continues to be limited to sales meeting the following conditions:

  • All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction. 
  • In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller’s acquisition cost, the Waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions and documents the justification for the increase in value.
  • The Waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program. [Reverse Mortgages]

In addition to what HUD covered in their email on Friday, the waiver also specifies that:

  • the sale must be by the owner of record
  • the property may not have been a repeatedly “flipped” over the past year
  • the property was marketed openly and fairly

When a home is being resold 20% or higher than what the seller purchased the property for in less than 90 days, often times a second appraisal will be required and the seller will need to show documentation to support the increased value in the home, such as receipts for the improvements made. A property inspection report will also be required by the lender to assure the quality of the improvements made to the property. Any health or safety issues disclosed by the property inspection will need to be corrected.

If a home has been re-sold withing 91-180 days at more at 100% or more than the seller’s acquisition cost, the same conditions will apply. If a second appraisal is required, the home buyer is not allowed to pay for it per HUD. Thanks to LO Comp, which the Fed passed in April, your friendly mortgage originator cannot use their commission to pay for this cost either.

Investors who are reselling in a short period of time for a much higher amount than their acquisition cost should be prepared for the cost of the second appraisal when the buyer is using FHA for financing. Folks should also retain detailed records of improvements (including all receipts) when they’re planning to quickly resale a home. The seller’s acquisition cost is the sales price of the home, plus the seller’s closing cost, including real estate commissions. It does not include any repairs.  

If you are considering buying a home located anywhere in Washington State, I’m happy to help you! Click here for a mortgage rate quote for homes located anywhere in Washington.  I’ve been originating home loans at Mortgage Master Service Corporation since April 2000, including FHA insured loans.

The Low Down: Comparing FHA to Fannie Mae Homepath Mortgages

EDITORS NOTE: Fannie Mae is no longer offering the FannieMae HomePath mortgage program. If you are considering buying a Fannie Mae HomePath property (foreclosure that is owned by Fannie Mae) in Washington state, I’m happy to help you. 

If you’re thinking about buying a home with minimum down payment requirements in the greater Seattle area, you may be considering a property that is owned by Fannie Mae and eligible for the Fannie Mae Homepath Mortgage or using an FHA insured loan which most properties qualify for.  When home buyers contact me about a Fannie Mae Homepath mortgage, they often ask how it compares to an FHA insured loan. Both are great programs and the benefits may vary depending on credit score, down payment and the type of property.

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How much can Sellers contribute towards Closing Cost?

If negotiated in your purchase and sales agreement, a Seller may agree to chip in towards some or all of your bona fide closing costs, prepaids and reserves.  They cannot contribute towards your down payment.  The amount the seller can contribute varies depending on the program type and the amount of home buyer’s down payment. The percentage is based on the sales price and if the credit exceeds the closing cost, the mortgage originator can often use it towards discount points to buy down the interest rate.

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Buying a Condo or Townhome?

iStock_000061440694_MediumCondos come in many forms including high-rises, converted apartment buildings and even some town-homes may be condominiums depending on how they are legally described.  If you’re planning on buying a condo and not paying cash for your purchase, here are a few things to look out for where lenders may have an issue with.

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The Mortgage Process: Contemplating Buying a Home to Getting Preapproved

For a while now, I’ve had this idea floating around in my head that with four years of articles at Mortgage Porter, I really should organize the post by the actual mortgage process.  Right now, my blog is traditionally organized chronologically and by categories.  I’m not changing that at all…what I am planning on doing is reposting the articles I most commonly refer to for my clients in an order that follows the mortgage process.  This will be a post I will continue to update with new content via links to the article…it’s a work in progress!  

In my opinion, someone considering buying a home should start researching the process months before actually entering into a purchase and sales agreement.  So that’s where we’ll start:

Considering Buying a Home?

Getting on Track to Buy Your Home

Basic Tips for Homebuyers

How Much Home Can I Afford?

That new car with cost you!

Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Game Plan for if your credit score is low.

Getting Preapproved

Are You Really Preapproved or just Prequalified?

Debt to Income Ratios (aka DTI)

Do I Really Have to Provide All Pages of My Bank Statements?

What is required to document income?

Documentation for Self Employed or Commissioned Paid Borrowers

Why it pays to get preapproved early:  You may think you know your credit score

Preapproval Letters Defined

What should a preapproval letter contain?

Relocating to Washington State and getting preapproved for a mortgage

Is my Preapproval Letter Still Valid wth all the Rate Changes?

Planning Your Funds for Closing

Funds for closing when you’re buying a home

How much do I need for a down payment?

Gifts from Parents:  FHA and Conventional

We’ve just started the process with this post addressing considering buying a home to getting preapproved!  Watch for future post where I’ll organize articles I’ve written on being in a transaction.

Buying a Home with Owner Occupied Financing After Refinancing Your Home as Owner Occupied

I’m seeing a trend where home owners are refinancing their current home as “owner occupied” and then weeks after closing, try buying another home as “owner occupied”.  You cannot have two owner occupied homes.   It’s really that simple. 

I’ve had a couple of surprised people contact me who thought they could buy a home just following a refinance only to learn by their mortgage originator that they have to finance the new home as an investment property.   Financing an investment property not only offers a slightly higher interest rate than a mortgage for a primary residence, it also has tougher guidelines with higher down payment requirements and greater reserves (savings).  

If you are considering refinancing your primary residence and possibly buying another home, you should discuss this with your mortgage originator as soon as possible.  You will be signing a deed of trust which has language that you intend to occupy that home for 12 months.  Some folks might feel that the “intending to occupy” means that they can refinance as owner occupied and a couple months later buy “owner occupied” and odds are, they will be caught.  It may be purely unintended for this to happen, but be prepared for the possibility the new purchase to be treated as an investment property, even if you’re going to live there. 

If you’re considering taking advantage of the lower home prices and lower rates, you may want to delay your refinance of your current “primary residence” or talk to your mortgage originator about refinancing your current home as an investment property.  Your next purchase might qualify as a second home, however the property typically needs to be about 50 miles away from your primary residence (the one you just refinanced) and it is the underwriter’s call on whether or not the second home “makes sense”…this can be a real grey area.  

Life happens and we know plans change. Be upfront with your mortgage professional if you’re thinking about buying a home.  You may want to ask them to verify with your personal scenario with an underwriter.  Finding yourself in the middle of a transaction to buy your next home and having it declined as owner occupied can be an expensive experience.

Related post:

Is it a Primary Residence, Second Home or Investment Property

Can I Convert My Existing Home to an Investment Property to Buy My Next Home?

How to Buy a Seattle Home with $10,000

NOTE: Mortgage rates quoted in this post from April 2010 are outdated and no longer valid. For a current mortgage rate quote for a home located anywhere in Washington, please click here. Also, other programs available since this post was published. 

I recently had someone getting ready to buy their first home ask me if $10,000 would be enough for a down payment.  If she had served in the military, she could possibly qualify for a zero down VA loan; this was not an option for her.  USDA loans also offer 100% financing but the area she’s considering is not classified as rural. 

An FHA loan will currently allow her to buy a home with as little as 3.5% of the sales price.  Until this summer*, sellers can contribute up to 6% of the sales price towards allowable closing costs and prepaids (*in a few months, this will be reduced to 3%).

So how much with $10,000 buy?  How about a sales price of $285,000.   Here’s how that pencils out.

$285,000 x 3.5% required minimum down payment = $9,975.  This is the buyers minimum required investment if utilizing an FHA insured loan.   A parent can gift funds towards this amount, but the seller cannot.

The rate (as of writing this post 4/28/2010) for an FHA insured 30 year fixed mortgage is 5.000% assuming we’re closing in 30 days (APR 5.620) and priced with zero points to help keep the closing costs down.   Pricing the loan with zero points means that you’re asking the seller to contribute $2,750 less than they would if your rate was priced with a point (1% of the loan amount).  This may make your offer more acceptable.

Based on this scenario, if the Seller contributes $5,500 towards allowable closing cost and prepaids, you’ll wind up needing approximately $10,000 for your down payment and remaining closing costs.

I did use 6 months for property taxes, which will vary depending on when your first mortgage payment is due.  And I used 15 days of prorated interest which is based on closing in the middle of the month.   Closing towards the end of the month reduces the prorated interest (your cost)…of course the trade off is that you don’t own the property until it’s closed.

The total monthly payment, including PITI and mortgage insurance, is going to be around $2,000 (depending on interest rate, taxes and home owners insurance).  My scenario has a payment of $1981.  

In addition to your down payment, you may be required to have reserve funds after closing of at least two months proposed mortgage payments.  Based on this scenario, that would be around $4,000 in the bank (stocks, 401k, etc) after closing. 

Also of note, your first payment will not be due until the month after closing unless you close on an interest credit.  This is a great opportunity to “pay yourself” by putting that mortgage or former rent payment into your savings account.  Owning a home does come with expenses…some not always planned.

If you are interested in buying a home located in Washington state, I’m happy to help.   Please contact me or apply on-line by clicking the tab at the top this page.