How to pick an expert Mortgage Loan Officer

With today’s super low mortgage rates, many people are looking to refinance or buy a home.  Everyday, they call lenders and ask “What is your rate.”  A seeming logical question to ask – but the reality is, the #1 most important aspect of a successful mortgage transaction is the quality of the Loan Officer.

When selecting a Mortgage Loan Officer, most people mistakenly call their local bank first and assume the banks have hired qualified people.  The reality is, most banks hire relatively new, and have low paid people as mortgage loan officers. Bank Loan Officers are NOT required to have any education, nor do they have to pass any sort of mandatory state or federal tests to be labeled a loan officer. Many of the big banks staff their 1-800 phone numbers with temps.  Yes, you heard me – temps!

The secret to selecting an expert is a combination of experience and training.

An experienced Loan Officer can help you understand the entire mortgage process and will be able to determine the best loan for you based on your individual goals. The right loan for someone who plans to stay in a home for three years and who has increasing income, may not be the right loan for someone who wants to have the loan paid off within 15 years and can afford a higher payment. The first borrower may find a five year adjustable rate mortgage the best option, while the second borrower may realize a 15 year low fixed rate mortgage matches her needs best.

Many borrowers find the mortgage process very frustrating. They feel they are kept in the dark about the process and problems that arise which cause delays. An experienced Loan Officer does not over promise, but rather explains the type of problems you may experience and the solutions to those problems. By keeping you informed and protected, an experienced loan consultant reduces your stress.

A poor inexperienced application clerk (loan officer) may suggest you fudge information on your loan application, or may not get a complete application out of laziness. The more complete and accurate your loan application is from the beginning, the faster and smoother your loan underwriting will be. The industry has evolved to the extent that fraudulent or misleading information is almost always uncovered by fraud alert systems that scrutinize employment and residency information. You are required to be honest in completing a loan application. Do not do business with any loan officer who tells you otherwise.

Lastly, an experienced loan officer can explain how closing costs and interest rates are dependent on one another. The more fees you are willing to pay, the lower your rate. The less fees you are willing to pay, the higher the rate. Many loan officers will tell you they have the best rate only to surprise you with unreasonable closing costs. It is best to work with a loan officer who explains all of your rate options with you, and who will suggest a rate and fee combination that works best to meet your long term goals. The right loan officer will always get an exact title fee quote so that the Good Faith Estimate provided to you is accurate.

Once you’ve started talking with a Loan Officer – verify their credentials.  All Loan Officers are required to have and display an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). Go to www.NMLSConsumerAccess.org, and type in your Loan Officers name or number.

You can see their employers, and work history – but more importantly, you can see if they are simply a registered but unlicensed Loan Application Clerk, or an actual Licensed, and Tested Loan Officer.  It is a bit trick to tell, but at the very bottom of their NMLS information page, it will say one of two things:

1) Federal Registration – then Federal Mortgage Loan Originator. This person is a unlicensed application clerk

2)  State Licenses / Registrations – They list one or more individual state licenses. This person is licensed and tested both Federally, and in each state listed.

For the largest financial transaction of your life, it is smart to NEVER WORK WITH JUST AN APPLICATION CLERK


Mortgage Rates break record low

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Averages a Record-Breaking 3.49 Percent

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgages rates continuing their streak of record-breaking lows. The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.49 percent, more than a full percentage point lower than a year ago when it averaged 4.55 percent. Meanwhile, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, a popular choice for those looking to refinance, also set another record low at 2.80 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.49 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 26, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.53 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.55 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.80 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.83 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.66 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.74 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.69 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.25 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.71 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.69 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.95 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.

Freddie Mac’s survey is the average of loans bought from lenders last week, including discount points. Follow this link to view today’s MN and WI mortgage interest rates.

What is Homepath and Homesteps?

You’ve seen the logo’s, but what is HomePath and HomeSteps?

Fannie Mae HomePath lender in MN and WIThe HomePath and HomeSteps programs allows a person to buy a specially designated Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac owned foreclosed property with a low down payment, flexible mortgage terms, no lender-requested appraisal and no mortgage insurance. Expanded seller contributions to closing costs are allowed as well making the buyers

Freddie Mac HomeSteps lender in MN and WIHow Does It Work?
Simple. Just follow these steps:

  • Apply with a lender. Get Pre-Approved. Just qualify for a traditional financing with at least 3% down.
  • Meet with a Realtor – Look at homes, buy your dream house.  You MUST select a home to buy from a special list of available foreclosed properties
  • Close and move in!

Where can I see the list of available houses?
Easy. Contact a Real Estate Agent,  and they’ll show you a list of qualified HomePath and HomeStep properties.

What about closing costs?
Closing costs can be rolled into the transaction, up to 6% of the loan amount.

How do I get started?
It all starts with a no obligation application, and a visit to a special lender offering the programs.

Investors Welcome. Investors can participate in the program too!

Buying a home in MN or WI?  Click here for a HomePath, HomeSteps lender in MN and WI, or call (651) 705-6261, where one of their specially trained Loan Officers will assist you.

Crushing Main Street – The Dodd-Frank Act Anniversary

Chairman Bachus Comments on Dodd-Frank Act Anniversary

Washington, Jul 20 – Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus released the following statement on Friday to mark the second anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Act becoming law:

“When President Obama signed Dodd-Frank into law two years ago, he promised it would provide ‘certainty to everyone from bankers to farmers to business owners to consumers.’ 

Today we look at the sad shape of our economy and realize Dodd-Frank has had precisely the opposite effect. 

Supporters of Dodd-Frank sold it as ‘Wall Street reform,’ but as our committee has learned from listening to hundreds of witnesses, it is Main Street that is getting crushed under the law’s 400 new rules and mandates. 

The layers of red tape Dodd-Frank piles on our economy cause more uncertainty for American businesses and hinder their ability to grow and create jobs.

“With tens of millions of Americans still unemployed, there is no more important task we have than to promote an environment that cultivates job creation, and that means thoroughly examining the job-killing provisions of Dodd-Frank.  Our committee has been hard at work conducting oversight and passing legislation to reverse unnecessary Dodd-Frank regulations in order to increase certainty, end taxpayer bailouts, and promote job creation.”

Note:  For more information on the committee’s Dodd-Frank related activities, click here.

Low Mortgage Rates Continue

Low Mortgage Rates Continue

Minneapolis, MN: Week over week mortgage rates continue to remain at or near historic lows, offering home buyers and mortgage owners interested in refinancing a chance to get amazing interest rates on their home loans.

According to the weekly survey by Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed rate mortgages have reached an average of 3.53% this week, a 0.03% decline under last week’s 3.56% average, and almost a full percent drop from this time last year’s rate, which was 4.52%. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed rate mortgages also dropped, reaching an average of 2.83% under last week’s 2.86% average, and well below last year’s average at this time which was 3.66%.

Treasury-indexed hybrid 5-year adjustable rate mortgages averages 2.69% under last week’s average of 2.74% and below last year’s average at this time which was 3.27%. 1-year treasury-indexed adjustable rate mortgages are at 2.69%, under last year’s average rate of 2.97%.

Vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac, Frank Nothaft made a statement about the continued drop in mortgage interest rates, indicating a correlation between U.S. Treasury bond yields staying “in check” by the Federal Reserve’s “Operation Twist.”

Freddie Mac’s survey is the average of loans bought from lenders last week, including discount points. Follow this link to  view today’s MN and WI mortgage interest rates.


NAIHP continues to fight for all small business housing professionals.

National Association of Independent Housing Professionals
July 12, 2012
Breaking News 

As many of you know, NAIHP has been trying to obtain the approximately 45,000 PUBLIC comment letters submitted to OFHEO, (now the Federal Housing Financial Agency -FHFA) in the spring of 2008.

NAIHP submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request months ago. That request has been stalled by the agency. In addition, we made a complaint to the Inspector General’s Office, which is in “process.”

FHFA has publicly admitted they used these letters in the implementation of the HVCC agreement. However, they continue to refuse to release them. We are aware the majority of these comments were anti-HVCC, and once made public, will provide evidence the FHFA and the GSE’s mislead Congress, the former NY Attorney General and the public.

On April 11, 2012, NAIHP wrote to CFPB Director Richard Cordray (CFPB now has jurisdiction over appraiser independence rules), outlining the problem and provided a complete background/timeline of the HVCC. Although, Cordray never responded, a government watchdog group did.

On June 4, 2012, Judicial Watch, Inc. submitted FOIA requests to the FHFA, CFPB, the Federal Reserve Board, HUD, OCC, NCUA and the US Government Accountability Office. The requests asked for the HVCC comment letters, all emails/correspondents and any notes regarding the appraisal code. The document request goes back to 2008.

CFPB denied the FOIA request almost immediately. In response, Judicial Watch filed an appeal. That appeal was GRANTED! CFPB is now compelled to submit the required documentation within 20 days. The other agencies are due to respond any day.

Once these comment letters are made public (not to mention internal emails and notes), they will prove HVCC was a sham designed to remove the GSE’s from Cuomo’s fraud investigation. The code was built on a foundation of lies. Moreover, with media support, it will show this code has already caused the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, and directly led to further depreciation of real estate values.

NAIHP also has the support of a major consumer group, who believes HVCC/Appraiser Independence is NOT working and needs to be changed.

NAIHP members will receive regular updates on this and other issues.


The ObamaCare Hidden Home Sales Tax

Remember when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats said about ObamaCare “You’ll have to pass it to know whats in it.”  Well here is one of the hidden items you DIDN”T know about.

Your vote counts big time in 2012, make sure you and all your friends and family know about this !  Please use the SHARE, Like, and FORWARD links at the end of this article.


I thought you might find this interesting, — maybe even SICKENING!

The National Association of Realtors is all over this and working to get it repealed, — before it takes effect. But, I am very pleased we aren’t the only ones who know about this ploy to steal billions from unsuspecting homeowners. How many realtors do you think will vote Democratic in 2012?

Did you know that if you sell your house after 2012 you will potentially pay a 3.8% sales tax on the capital gains? ** When did this happen? It’s in the health care bill, — and it goes into effect in 2013. Why 2013? Could it be so that it doesn’t come to light until after the 2012 elections? So, this is ‘change you can believe in’?

Under the new health care bill, all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% capital gains sales tax.  This bill is set to screw the retiring generation, — who often downsize their homes, and have sizable capital gains on the sale. Does this make your November, 2012 vote more important?

Oh, you weren’t aware that this was in the ObamaCare bill? Guess what; you aren’t alone! There are more than a few members of Congress that weren’t aware of it either.

You can check this out for yourself at:  http://www.gop.gov/blog/10/04/08/obamacare-flatlines-obamacare-taxes-home

I hope you forward this to every single person in your address book. VOTERS NEED TO KNOW.

** Consult your tax advisor if you plan on selling a home. Capital gain and income restrictions apply. Not everyone will be required to pay this Obamacare fee

Another Week Of Record-Breaking Lows For Fixed Rate Mortgages

News Release Issued: July 12, 2012 10:00 AM EDT

Another Week Of Record-Breaking Lows For Fixed-Rate Mortgages

MCLEAN, Va., July 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Freddie Mac (OTC: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates continuing to find new all-time record lows amid easing bond yields following June’s lackluster employment report. Both the average 30-year and 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit new lows. The average 30-year fixed has been below 4.00 percent for 16 weeks. The average 15-year fixed has been below 3.00 percent for 7 weeks.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.56 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 12, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.62 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.51 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.65 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.74 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.79 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.29 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.69 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.68 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.95 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

In Real Estate, When you snooze, you lose

In Real Estate – When You Snooze, You Lose!

Minneapolis / St Paul, MN: A big shift in the housing market in our area has taken many by surprise. Any qualify house under $200,000 is selling in just days, with multiple offers, and above asking price.

With dwindling inventory, mostly from fewer foreclosures, increased demand with more competition because of terrific interest rates, we are seeing more and more multiple offers. This often happening soon after a property hits the market. It brings to mind the popular axiom “when you snooze you lose.” Wait too long to look at a great, well-priced property, or to make a strong offer, and you’ve lost your opportunity.

The problem some of you must confront is that even once you learn NOT to snooze and to move fast, you still might lose.


  1. The offer isn’t strong enough even at list price
  2. There are many offers (sometimes 10 and more)
  3. Cash buyers are too plentiful
  4. Lending rules on homes needing a little work

Is this the case with all properties? Certainly not. But we are seeing more competing offers at many price points, and new listings moving more quickly than in the past few years. This is not intended to scare you, and or make you feel that you cannot compete effectively. Simply understand the market has shifted in some significant ways and you need to be aware so you can react accordingly when you find a home you really like.

PAUSE if you aren’t ready to jump, then you shouldn’tJust because things have heated up and there are “bidding wars” does not mean you should get bent out of shape or move quickly on an offer when you are really not ready. It’s a huge decision and an expensive one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make the decision that is right for you. And be prepared to live by it. 

Tips to help you win the deal: 

  • Be SURE to discuss any offer with your mortgage lender BEFORE writing the offer
  • Paying Cash? Have Proof of Funds ready to supply with your offer.
  • Know the comparable properties – this is what you pay a Realtor for.
  • Do not delay in making an appointment to see a hot new listing. Go now. Take time off work.
  • Do NOT assume a listing you like that has been languishing on the market will continue to sit there while you ponder. Remember…NEW BUYERS are hitting the market all the time and they might like the same house YOU do and be prepared to make a move
  • Know your budget (not just what you qualify to borrow) and make SURE you know what you are and are NOT willing to spend
  • Be ready to make an offer immediately if you like the house. Taking a night or two to “think about it” might be the kiss of death. REMEMBER THE TITLE OF THIS POST?!
  • Don’t get caught up in the auction-like atmosphere that can happen with multiple bids
  • Just because the tax value is significantly higher than the asking price DOES NOT mean you are getting a deal on the house.
  • Know that the home still has to appraise if you are getting a mortgage loan. Just because you are willing to spend more does not mean the bank will.


Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

It happens every day. First-time home buyers, partly due to enthusiasm or partly due to ignorance, make costly mistakes during the home buying process.  Like buying more house than you can reasonably afford, or simply buying the wrong house because they thought they were getting a deal.

To help you keep your sanity and your cash, become an educated consumer and avoid the mistakes others have made before you. Here are a few common mistakes new home buyers should avoid:

Big Mistake #1

Not planning ahead. From the moment you think about buying a home, start planning. Start by requesting a copy of your credit report. Carefully examine it for errors and be prepared to answer questions about items on your credit report. Talk to your MN based mortgage lender before you attempt to rectify errors on your report – in some cases your attempts to rectify credit report errors can cause a delay in the approval of your loan.  Talking with a licensed Mortgage loan professional (not an unlicensed bank application clerk) can provide you valuable guidance when it comes to improving your credit score or correcting errors.

Are you currently renting? Check your lease for an early release clause. If you’ll be subject to penalties, try to time your closing with the expiration of the lease.

During this planning phase, consider your life over the next five to seven years. Do you plan to start a family? Will an in-law eventually move in with you? Will you be working from home? The number and layout of the rooms you require will depend on your answers. If you qualify for financing based on a dual income, will you be able to survive on one salary in order to fulfill a long-range plan, such as one parent staying home to raise a child? Once you’ve answered these questions, establish a plan. Then direct the process with reference to the plan. Don’t let the process dictate to you.

Big Mistake #2

Failing to understand the home buying process. First-time home buyers need to ask questions, lots of questions. Choose a real estate agent and licensed mortgage professional who each have experience working with new home buyers. Experienced Realtors and financing professionals should be willing to explain the entire home buying process – from viewing homes, to negotiating, to financing, to escrow and closing in detail, and explain it again until you understand it. Do NOT tolerate a Realtor or Loan Officer you are not comfortable with or someone who treats you like a number.

Big Mistake # 3

Getting in too deep. It can happen when home buyers shop outside their budgets or over-extend themselves. What can you do to avoid getting hooked? Monitor your expenses for a couple of months. Then, based on your findings, develop a budget that truly reflects your lifestyle. Talk to a real estate agent who can provide insight into new home expenses and taxes. Then revise your budget.

Don’t buy a home thinking you’re getting a deal because the previous tax value was high, and the current price is low. If it was worth the previous tax value, that is what it would be seller for!


Prepare for your mortgage loan application

Prepare For Your Mortgage Application
St Paul, MN:  A few days ago, I took a loan application  for some first time home buyers. I’d talked multiple times with both the husband and wife leading up to the time of their full sit down application.Following my habit, I’d included a link to my mortgage website in every email to them, along with my other contact info.   I’d also emailed a link to my website page regarding the financial documents required for mortgage application,  then reviewed that list with them in detail prior to their appointment.

I always do this in the hopes that all the steps taken on my part will motivate my clients to do their part.  That they’ll organize, gather the documents needed, and be fully-prepared for our appointment together.  It makes for a far more smooth and quick application appointment and gets us both off to a good start.

Assurances had been received from this couple that “they had it under control”. They’d have all the required documentation in hand for our meeting.

And you know where this is going …

Instead the entire appointment was bogged-down while this couple rummaged through old paperwork and bills, searching for the documents they needed. And of course, they never found.

During the time they were rummaging, both were very distracted, unable to pay attention to what I was saying.  I’m betting, they didn’t retain half of what was said.

As they became more and more rattled, they sniped at one another … and then their comments to me started to take on an “edge” too. As their situation became more overwhelming to them and their frustrations grew, it was clear the appointment needed to end.  Directions were given to E-Mail and fax the remaining info I needed and then the application was over.

Why do I relate this story?

Because so much of the success to be found within mortgage financing, rests upon how well borrowers are prepared for the process. That preparation takes time, no doubt. Takes effort. Takes organization on the applicant’s part.   It demands their attention.

Today’s mortgage application and underwriting process is challenging. But much of the challenge can be overcome by home buyers if they follow the advice I give them.  Both verbally and above.

Taking the time to prepare, get organized, pay attention, make the effort … it all pays off in big ways.   Not least of all in how pleasurable the process of financing ends-up being.

Not do or see to these things?  You WILL encounter problems and big frustrations for sure. You will rob yourself of the enjoyment of buying your home.  And certainly, that’s not what you want.

Avoid that outcome. Right from your first inquiry, call, or contact with your mortgage lender and agent.  Be thoroughly involved.  Be prepared.  Be organized … or get yourself organized.   Follow-up on all requests made of you in a timely fashion.

Do these things and you will feel and be much more in control of the direction your mortgage processing takes, as well as its outcome. You’ll also greatly improve your chances for a more enjoyable mortgage process and home buying experience along the entire way.

Of course, working with a mortgage professional with over 20 years of experience and expertise helps a lot too!