Fixed Mortgage Rates Ease Going Into The Labor Day Weekend

Fixed Mortgage Rates Ease Going Into The Labor Day Weekend

Minneapolis, MN:  Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates pulling back and following bond yields lower after gradually moving higher over the past month.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages  averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 30, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.66 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.22 percent.
  • 15-year fix rate mortgages this week averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.39 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 2.78 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.96 percent.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

  • “Treasury bond yields fell, allowing mortgage rates to follow, after the release of the July 31st and August 1stminutes of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy committee. Committee members agreed that economic activity had decelerated more in recent months than they had anticipated at their last meeting in June. Some members even saw room for additional stimulus fairly soon if needed.
  • “Nonetheless, the housing market continued to show improvement over the past few months. New home sales rose 3.6 percent in July matching May’s pace as the strongest month since April 2010.  Similarly, pending existing home sales also rose in July to its highest rate since April 2010. And, the S&P/Case-Shiller® National Home Price Index rose 1.2 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and 2012, reflecting the first annual increase since the second quarter of 2010.”

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 best mortgage interest rates.


Wells Fargo Fires Man Over a DIME!

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFC) has fired a Des Moines worker over a 1963 incident at a Laundromat involving a fake dime in the wake of new employment guidelines.

Richard Eggers, 68, was fired in July from his job as a customer service representative for putting a cardboard cutout of a dime in a washing machine nearly 50 years ago



Turn your Jumbo Loan into a lower rate Conventional Loan

Minneapolis, MN: As mortgage interest rates continue to sit at historical lows, many homeowners have taken this opportunity as a time to refinance into a fixed rate home loan. Inevitably interest rates will rise and for this reason it makes sense to lock into a great low mortgage interest rate sooner rather than later.

While interest rates are very low for all home loans, if you are looking for a fixed rate loan and you have a jumbo mortgage (over $417,000 in 95% of the country and ALL of Minnesota and Wisconsin), you will see a higher fixed rate available. That is because the Jumbo market is essentially a private market for mortgages, as opposed to conventional loans, which are backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Given this fact, many homeowners who have Jumbo mortgages and are looking to lock into a fixed rate loan, are now considering paying down their mortgages to the conventional loan limit of $417,000 and then refinancing. As this would allow them to trade in their jumbo loan for a new fixed rate conventional loan, at a lower interest rate. The current difference between a 30-yr fixed rate jumbo loan versus a conventional loan is about 1/2%.  Dropping your rate by that much can amount to huge savings over time.

Now obviously, this only applies to those who have the funds to do so, but here in Minnesota especially, there are many homeowners with home mortgages just slightly above the conventional loan limits. For those homeowners, it may make sense to pay down the mortgage and lock into the lower conventional fixed rate.

If you are considering refinancing your Jumbo mortgage and paying down your existing loan to a conventional loan, as always please contact a local licensed Loan Officer, not an unlicensed bank application clerk, to discuss all of your options.

This pay down options isn’t right for everyone, but for many homeowners it could be a wise decision to lower your loan balance and lock into a low fixed conventional loan rate.

An original article by Joe Metzler (C) 2012 Metzler Enterprises, LLC for www.MnRealEstateDaily.com

Fannie Mae Delayed Financing Exception

Have you ever paid cash for a home, then found out you need to wait at least 6 months to refinance it?

Well Fannie Mae has now come out with the Delayed Financing Exception.  You are now allowed a cash-out refinance within six months of a purchase transaction when NO Financing was used to purchase the property.  However, there are certain restrictions in order to qualify.  They are as follows:

  • The new loan cannot be more than the actual documented amount of the borrower’s initial investment when they bought the property, plus the financing of closing costs, preapid fees, and points (subject to the ltv, cltv, hcltv ratios).
  • Must have been arms-length transaction.
  • The purchase was documented with a HUD-1,which confirms that there was no mortgage financing involved to acquire the property.  The preliminary title report must verify the same.
  • The source of the original funds used to finance the property must be verified by bank statements, personal loan documents, HELOC, gift, 401k, etc).  Any loans used as the source for the purchase transaction (including gifts), will be required to be repaid and must show on the new HUD-1. ( Basically,  the funds from the new loan must be used to replenish or payoff where the funds came from including a 401k, hint hint).
  • All other cash-out refinance requirements are met and cash-out pricing is used vs rate and term.

NOT SO FAST:  Sounds great right?  Unfortunately, Fannie Mae doesn’t do loans.  They buy loans after the fact from lenders.  You need to find a lender willing to do this, and frankly, I don’t know a single lender that will allow you to refinance this way.

The bottom line:  Expect to wait at least 6 months to refinance after you paid cash for a home – no matter what you read online!.


CFPB – LO Compensation Victory

CFPB Proposed LO Compensation Rule Now Open For Public Comments

In case you were not aware, the mortgage industry was very close with having to adjust to a flat fee for compensation. Fortunately, NAMB, in addition to having multiple meetings with top CFPB oficials, was able to get 5 members of 19 SBREFA panelists to represent YOU and the entire industry to help explain why the flat fee was a bad idea.

Here’s a summary of the latest CFPB proposal

In case you are in the mood, please read the 369 page proposal on LO Comp

 Bottom line, here are the victories:

  1. No Flat Fee
  2. LO’s can be compensated on a consumer-paid transaction
  3. Originator qualifications (Bank LO’s need to get licensed!)

Do Your Part – Get Involved and Participate

Every LO should want to comment on this proposal…Public comments are due by 10/16/12 –

Click here for submit your comment – If you will write more than 2000 characters, please attach your comments as a document.

Disparate Impact Still A Problem To Face


USDA Refinance Funds Gone for 2012 – Purchase Money Still OK!

USDA Refinance funds for fiscal year (FY) 2012 are now exhausted!

St Paul, MN: Have a USDA Rural Development loan?  Thinking of getting a USDA Refinance loan? Sorry – USDA announced today that they are out of money for refinances for 2012.

For the vast majority of homeowners, this really isn’t a big issue, as many of them can lower their interest rate and refinance into many other loan products.

Looking to buy a home? USDA Rural Development Purchase Loans on the other hand have plenty of money – so there is no need to worry if you are buying a home.

As a side note, the cost of a USDA home loan in going up slightly on October 1st, 2012. Currently the loans have mortgage insurance of .030%, and will be going up to .040%.  On a $100,000 loan, the old mortgage insure would have been $25 a month, and would now be $33.33 a month.

An original article by Joe Metzler (C) 2012 Metzler Enterprises, LLC for www.MnRealEstateDaily.com

VA Mortgage Loan Changes

VA Mortgage Loan Program Changes

Since World War II, The VA home loan program has helped over 18 million veterans receive government-backed mortgages.  Recently the President signed into law some modifications to the VA home loan program.  This new bill will benefit disabled service members, single-parent soldiers and military widows. The new changes include:

Surviving  spouses of Veterans

Before the change, the only way military widows could participate in the VA no-down-payment program is if their spouse had a service-related disability or died in the line of duty.  As a result of the change, a widow may get a VA loans  if the veteran had a service-related disability for at least ten years before their death.

Single parents and military couples

When applying for a VA home loan, you have to sign a piece of paper saying that the property will be your primary residence and you will be the primary occupant.  Military spouses can take the place of military members serving abroad when signing this paper, but this doesn’t necessarily help single-parent soldiers and married military couples.  As a result of this bill, dependent children will be able to meet the occupancy requirement.  Active service members who don’t have children, unfortunately, will still be unable to meet the occupancy requirements.

Disabled veterans

Every VA loans has a funding fee. This fee is added to the loan amount, and the proceeds to go making sure the program will be self-sufficient and not cost tax payers any money. The fee varies by service, first time or second time use of a VA loan, or a VA streamline refinance.

Borrowers with a VA service-related disabilities of at least 10% have always been exempt from this fee.

Many times, Veterans often have to wait months to get their official  VA disability rating.  Thus they potentially may have to pay the VA funding fee when they shouldn’t have to.  With this improvement to VA mortgage loan program, the VA will be required to waive the fee after the pre-disability exam indicates the individual is disabled, instead of waiting months for the official “disability rating.”

Adjustable Mortgages

While most VA loans are the standard 30-year fixed rate mortgage, adjustable mortagegs were an option. Those ARM loans were scheduled to be cut out of the VA loan program by the end of 2012, but adjustable VA mortgages  will now continue to be available.

Veterans living in high-cost area of the country

Veterans who live in the most expensive areas of the nation were hit hard last fall when loan limits for government-backed mortgages dropped to $625,000 from $729,000.  As a result of this bill, higher county loan limits will be reinstated sometime in 2014.



Fixed rates mortgages move higher for third straight week

Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher For Third Consecutive Week

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates following long-term Treasury yields higher. This marks the third straight week of fixed mortgage rates moving higher.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.62 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 16, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.59 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent.
  • 15-year mortgages this week averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.36 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.76 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.77 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.08 percent.
  • 1-year ARM averaged 2.69 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.65 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.86 percent.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The latest economic indicators point toward low inflation but gradually stronger economic activity which placed further upward pressure on long-term Treasury yields and, in turn, fixed mortgage rates. For example, inflation remains in check with 12-month growth in the core consumer price index falling for a second month to 2.1 percent in July. At the same time, industrial production rose 0.6 percent in July compared to a 0.1 percent increase in June and retail sales jumped 0.8 percent in July from a 0.7 percent decline in June.”

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.



95% of refinances are fix rate loans

More Than 95 Percent Of Refinancing Borrowers Choose Fixed-Rate Mortgages

Thirty Percent Shorten Loan Term When Refinancing

In the second quarter of 2012, fixed-rate loans accounted for more than 95 percent of refinance loans, based on the Freddie Mac Quarterly Product Transition Report released today.

Refinancing borrowers clearly preferred fixed-rate loans, regardless of whether their original loan was an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed-rate.

News Facts

  • Of borrowers who refinanced during the second quarter, 30 percent reduced their loan term, while 67 percent of borrowers kept the same term as the loan they had paid off.
  • Eighty-one percent of borrowers who had a hybrid ARM chose a fixed-rate loan during the second quarter, the highest share since the second quarter of 2010, while the remaining 19 percent chose to refinance into the same type of product.
  • Borrowers who refinanced under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) were more likely to take out a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage. For example, 25 percent of HARP borrowers shortened their loan term when they refinanced during the second quarter, compared with 30 percent of borrowers who refinanced outside of HARP. Further, 95 percent of borrowers who were refinancing out of an ARM under the HARP program chose a fixed-rate mortgage. In contrast, borrowers who had an ARM, but did not refinance through HARP, about one-half opted for another hybrid ARM.

Rates for the week

  • Fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.79 percent for 30-year loans and 3.04 percent for 15-year product during the second quarter in Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, well below long-term averages and the lowest quarterly averages recorded in our survey. The Bureau of Economic Analysis has estimated the average coupon on single-family loans was about 5.0 percent during the second quarter of 2012. It’s no wonder we continue to see strong refinance activity into fixed-rate loans.
  • “Compared to a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the interest rate on a 15-year fixed was about three-quarters of a percentage point lower during the second quarter. For borrowers motivated to refinance by low fixed-rates, they could obtain even lower rates by shortening their term. Further, a shorter-term, fully amortizing loan reduces the loan balance faster and builds home equity sooner.”

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.


Dealing with an Underwater Mortgage

Nearly 11 million Homeowners are Underwater, which means they owe more on their mortgage than their property is worth. Below are some of your options for dealing with an underwater mortgage.

Wait It Out:  If you are just depressed at the thought of owing more than it is worth today, but really don’t have any intentions of moving. Stop worrying about it. You have to live somewhere. Although short sales and foreclosures have brought down values, the housing market is slowly recovering, especially here in the Minneapolis, St Paul metro area. If you are able to continue to make payments – do it. It will save your credit score and keep your morale intact.

Refinance: If your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and that loan was taken out before June2009, you have no late payments in the past six months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months, you may qualify for the HARP – Home Affordable Refinance Program. If you have an FHA loan, or a VA loan

, you may qualify for a FHA streamline refinance, or a VA IRRRL streamline refinance. Both of these program may not need an appraisal.

Short Sale: If you truly cannot pay your bills, or need to move, you may need to consider a short sale in order to avoid foreclosure. Work with an experienced short-sale Realtor to get the best offer.

Become a landlord: A popular option is to turn the property into a rental. Being a landlord isn’t overly difficult. If you don’t want to deal with it, there are plenty of reliable rental companies that will take care of everything for you. There are special requirements for getting a new home mortgage loan when turning your existing home into a rental, so be sure to discuss this with a licensed mortgage professional, not just a bank application clerk,


Mortgage closing costs up because of government rules

Closing costs have NOT gone down!

St Paul, MN:  Recent news releases from the government have been claiming that mortgage closing costs have gone down 7% due to new mandated government procedures that make it necessary for lenders to be more accurate when making estimates for borrower’s closing costs.

The spin masters are wrong on two fronts.

First, most lenders were already accurate in their initial closing cost disclosures, and the items that caused them to re-adjust their estimate later on are still there.  The only significant difference is the incredible burden of new paperwork, and disclosures that make absolutely no difference to the customer, or their bottom line.  For example, the old easy to read and understand one page Good Faith Estimate has been replaced with an incredible confusing three page Good Faith Estimate. The new form has been so badly received, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is already working on a new form to replace the new form! Furthermore, re-disclosing forms for minor changes with mandatory wait times before a client can close on their loan has done more harm than good, and has significantly increased lender costs, turn times, and client frustration.

Secondly, due to the new rules, industry insiders have proven that closing costs have actually risen about $1200 per client.  Where the government spins it is that under the new rules, lenders are now forced to give home owners more “lender credits towards closing costs”. This sounds great, and it does actually lower the OUT-OF-POCKET average closing cost for many people. But, what is actually happening is that the client now has reduced options, and is being forced to pay more over time with a higher interest rate in exchange for those lender credit.

The bottom line?  Don’t be fooled by the spin. The government has mandated more rules, more paperwork, and less consumer choice all while claiming victory in reduced costs. The reality is it cost consumers significantly more in a higher mortgage interest rate over the length of the loan than they ever saved in initial closing costs.

USDA Loan Eligibility Map Changes effective Oct 1, 2012

USDA is changing the property eligibility map effective Oct. 1, 2012.

Cities and towns that formally qualified for the Zero Down USDA Rural Development Loans may no longer qualify.

This change is due to a number of reason, including larger populations, elimination of special consideration zones, or they no longer meet the definition of rural.

The effected cities in MN are listed here.

Click this link to view the full list of cities across the county that are losing their ability to get a USDA Rural Development loan.

 USDA INCOME Eligibility Check
USDA Property Eligibility Check



CEO’s to Washington – LISTEN!

America’s companies have a message for Washington. It’s just not being heard. That’s why they’ve resorted to a new method: Shouting.

You can hear the bafflement, the anger, on the just-completed run of company earnings calls. Typically scripted and banal, the calls have become an unexpected public platform for chastising Democrat and Republican alike for what’s become of our way of governing. A “fiscal cliff” that will reset tax rates looms on Dec. 31, while a presidential election has only sharpened the divide on virtually every major policy issue.




Fixed Rates Move Higher for 2nd week in a row

Fixed Mortgage Rates Move Higher for Second Consecutive Week

St Paul, MN: Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates moving higher following stronger-than-expected employment reports. The 30-year fixed averaged 3.59 percent, and the 15-year fixed averaged, 2.84 percent, still near the historic low.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 9, 2012, up from last week when it averaged 3.55 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.32 percent.
  • 15-year mortgage rates this week averaged 2.84 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.83 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.50 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.77 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.75 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.13 percent.
  • 1-year ARM averaged 2.65 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.70 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

  • “Fixed mortgage rates inched up again this week following stronger-than-expected employment reports. The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, well above the market consensus forecast of 100,000, and the largest increase since February. In addition, the number of announced corporate layoffs fell 45 percent in July compared to last July and was the third time this year that announced layoffs were less than the same month in 2011 according to The Challenger Report. This suggests further net gains in employment are likely in the near future.”

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.


Ways to pay off your mortgage debt faster

St Paul, MN: If you surf the cable TV channels, listen to talk radio, or search online, you will find numerous financial and debt management experts offering tips and tricks on managing debt such as mortgage, credit card debt, student loan and so on.

However, it is important to evaluate one’s own personal financial situation before implementing any such debt relief tips. This is to ensure that you benefit from such advice and not further pile up debts that you become responsible for. So, here are 5 strategies to repay your Minnesota  mortgage faster.

Make Extra Payments: If there is no pre-payment penalty, you can make extra payments on the mortgage loan. The extra amount of money is taken off from the principal mortgage amount. For example, a $400,000 loan at 4% rate for 30 year fixed will pay off in only 25 years if you make $200 extra payment every month.

Make Bi-Weekly Payments: Bi-weekly payments on Minnesota mortgage loans are better than a monthly payment. In doing so, at the end of the financial year, you are paying one month extra payment. Therefore, the extra month’s payment will shorten the term of the mortgage. Every penny counts when you’re repaying any sort of debt. For example – Using the same numbers as above, by making bi-weekly payment you would pay off the loan is 25.8 years instead of a regular 30 years.

Get a shorter-term refinance loan: This financial strategy has gained in popularity among the borrowers in Minnesota. The rate of interest has nose-dived and it is much simpler for the homeowners to repay their mortgage debts. The advantage of this refinance loan is that by paying high monthly payments you pay off the loan in considerably shorter period of time. For example – Instead of taking a regular 30 Year Fixed mortgage, consider taking a 20, 15 or a 10 year mortgage. If you can afford the payment, you save on interest cost and also pay off the loan much quicker. A few mortgage lenders even let you pick whatever mortgage amortization term you want, from 8 – 30-years. For example, if you have only 12-years left, you can get a new 12-year mortgage loan.

Make a One Time Big Payment: If you get inheritance, gift or a big bonus, you can make one large lumpsum payment. That will reduce your principal balance substantially and thus pay off the loan quicker. You can also ask the lender to “recast” the loan and reduce the monthly payment without refinancing. Don’t just make the extra payment. Talk to your lender first.

The ideas mentioned here are not meant to be a tax advice. You are encouraged to contact your CPA/Financial Adviser before making any significant money decision.


How soon after a short-sale can I get a new mortgage?

How Soon Can You Get A Mortgage After a Short-Sale or Foreclosure

Depending on which lending institution you ask you will receive different time-frames allowed to purchase again after a short sale or foreclosure. The reason is most lenders have credit overlays, which translates into stricter underwriting guidelines than Fannie Mae and FHA have published.

There are lesser time-frames allowed if there are documented Extenuating Circumstances involved beyond the control of the borrower, such as serious illness or death of a wage earner, and the borrower has re-established good credit since the foreclosure.

Divorce, loss of employment, inability to sell the property and job transfer or relocation does not qualify for extenuating circumstances. All other events are known as Financial Mismanagement.

  • Conventional – Foreclosure – 7 years
  • FHA – Foreclosure: 3 years.  Exception: No waiting Period if the borrower was current on their mortgage and all other installment debt for the 12 months preceding the short sale, the new subject property is not in the same geographical area as the short sale, and the short sale lender accepted the short sale as payment in full.
  • USDA – 3 years. You may read of significantly less time, but the rules are so tough, it will never happen.
  • VA – 2 years minimum. Score over 640, otherwise 3-years
  • Conventional Short-sale 2-7 years: 2 years with 20% down, 4 years with 10% down (2 years with 10% with  extenuating Circumstance) and 7 years with less than 10% down or financial mismanagement.

I am using the current Fannie Mae conventional guidelines to close loans for Short Sale as of 6/20/2012.