Stop worring about inquiries on your credit report

Inquiries on your credit report

Plan on getting a home loan soon? Worried about qualifying for a mortgage? Need to get pre-approved to buy a home in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Think your credit score will go down?

For 99% of the people, 99% of the time, you don’t need to sweat a lender pulling your credit report!

Sorry, Minneapolis rates are NOT going back down!

Minnesota mortgage ratesMinneapolis, MN:  This isn’t easy to say, but understand…  rates are NOT going back down to where they were last month.

Today’s mortgage rates for the best customers at about 4.625%, but range up to  above 5%, based on lender, credit score, program, down payment, etc..  Our quoted rates today are 1/2% higher than just last Monday. Volatility is the name of the game, as we have seen rates  jump by as much as .25% in interest rate in a single day. What we quote in the morning may be long gone by the afternoon.

With the drastic and dramatic jump we’ve seen since May 3rd, consumers may have thrown the brakes on for looking at houses, or refinancing  – waiting for rates to come back down.  It is important that you a work closely with your favorite Mortgage Loan Officer to understand rates, what they are, why they move, and if you should lock in a rate.

While I don’t know for sure, I believe the 4.50% – 4.75% range is our new floor of support for a little while.  We may see a slight uptick, and we may also see a minor drop as the market players settle into the new reality, but the 30-year fixed rate loan in the 3’s is now just a memory.


As mortgage rates climb, beware of not accurate quotes

Fed Chairman Bernanke

St Paul, MN: Mortgage rates the last few weeks have climbed steadily on the statement from the Federal Reserve that they plans to scale back, and ultimately end the buying of Mortgage backed Securities by the middle of 2014.
This news translated into mortgage rates having one of the worst weeks in history, with Friday alone generating a 1/4% rise in interest rates. While 1/4% isn’t a killer by itself, combined with the rate increases from the earlier part of the week, the combination proves to be a nightmare for mortgage rates. Real mortgage rates ending Friday for the best clients are now about 4.625%.  This compares to 3.50% just a month ago.

BEWARE OF WHAT YOU READ – Not all Mortgage Quotes are current

I took numerous calls this week, where clients complained about the rate I was telling them compared to what they were reading elsewhere for “average rates.”  Most of the average rate information published on web sites, newspapers, and reported by the media comes from the weekly rate report published by Freddie Mac.  While the report is great for tracking averages over time, it is the AVERAGE of rates compiled through the end of the previous week, then reported on the following Thursday.

freddieAnother problem is many web sites don’t update daily, or even weekly.  Newspapers, and other print media may have collected rate information on Wednesday morning for publication in Sundays paper. This week, that would leave people with quotes at least .375% to .500% lower than reality.

If you are buying Google stock, does it matter what last week average price was, or what you can buy if for today?  Only rely on constantly updated and accurate rate reporting system, or while a phone call to a Loan Officer.

Check LIVE and CURRENT MN and WI Mortgage Rates 24/7


As rates rise, should Real Estate agents worry?

Minneapolis, MN:  Yesterday the Federal Reserve “clarified” to everyone when it will likely end its economic stimulus program.  This ended weeks of speculation that has caused mortgage rates to surge to the highest levels since 2011, and up over 1/2% in physical rate in the past two months.

house_new_constructionBased on the news, it appears mortgage rates have a new bottom, which is about where they are at today. There is plenty of room for rates to move higher.  Express this to your clients, and get the fence sitters moving.

Loan Officers and Real Estate Agents have great fear for future purchase activity.  Is it founded?  “There should be some concern, but overall, I only expect a minor slowdown in purchase activity. People always buy homes, regardless of rate.” said Eric Metzler, a Senior Loan Officer with Cambria Mortgage in St Paul, MN.

Will home sales fall as rates rise?  Sure… But most people will still buy, just maybe a little less home. As for the future?? If you are a full time experienced agent with a good past client based, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Desperate Loan Officers

Today, a huge number of Loan Officers have been living largely on refinance activity.  This business will drop dramatically as rates creep up.  Many of these Loan Officers have little, if any, purchase business experience.  We would expect to start seeing layoff’s from many of the larger banks, and online refinance powerhouses.  We should also start seeing Loan Officers back again hitting the streets, trying to drum up Realtor referral business.

My world of advice is to pass on refinance specialists trying to turn into purchase loan hopefuls.  While basic loan requirements are similar, purchase loans have a whole new world of requirements for these Loan officers, and you don’t want them experimenting on you and your clients. Stick with licensed, and experience purchase loan specialists like myself.


Mortgage Rates Annihilated

Minneapolis, MN: Mortgage rates continue to creep higher, as the Fed has announced a plan to scale back their buying of mortgage backed securities.

lmrWhat is causing rates to rise?

The Mortgage-backed-securities (MBS) market is what dictates loan pricing.  Simply put, the government has been artificially holding down rates by buying billions of dollars worth of mortgage backed securities. The ideal is simply to stimulate the economy and job growth with cheap money.  As the economy and job markets improve, the FED has said it would start to taper, then completely end their purchasing of mortgage bonds.

Without the FED buying bonds, fear has taken over.  Fear is never in the markets favor, as one can clearly see in the run up of mortgage rates.

As many of you know, we are currently in round three of the Fed buying bonds.  At the end of round one, when the Fed backed off of buying bonds, rates started moving higher, and quickly.  At that time, the Fed quickly jumped back in to settle things down. We don’t see that happening this time around.  As a matter of fact, the Fed has clearly noted that rising interest rates is something they want.

Actual Effect

The past two month, we have good from best execution 30-year fixed rates about 3.50%, to today, best execution 30-year fixed rates about 4.25%. That is the highest we’ve seen since late 2011. This is also the sharpest rise in rates in 10-years.

If you are even remotely thinking of refinancing, you’d better do it now.  If you are thinking of buying a house in the very near term, you should do it now.  If you are thinking of buying somewhere down the line, you are likely to see higher mortgage rates…  But nothing that should ever stop anyone from buying a home.

For perspective, read this previous article of mine on mortgage rate history.

Should you float of lock?  Read this daily rate lock advisory

Mortgage Rate Perspective

balance_ratesMinneapolis, MN:  With rates having moved up slightly recently, it is good to keep current mortgage rates in perspective.

Here is a mini historic look at conventional 30-yr fixed loan rates

  • In the early 1960’s = 5.25%
  • In June 1971, about 7.53%
  • In June 1981, about 16.70%
  • In June 1990, about 10.16%
  • In June 1998, about 6.99%
  • In June 2000, about 8.29%
  • In June 2005, about 5.58%
  • In June 2009, about 5.52%
  • In June 2010, about 4.75%
  • Last month (May 2013) about 3.54%
  • Today… about 3.91%

I bought my first house in 1981.  I paid 16% for my FHA 30-year fixed!  That same loan today is 3.50%

Less underwater homes as values increase

banner_ad_appraisalUnderwater Mortgages Drop by 850,000

Minneapolis, MN:  Millions of homes went underwater at the beginning of the real estate and mortgage crash. Underwater homes, where the owners own more on the mortgage loan than the home is currently worth, have been a thorny issue, preventing many people from refinancing to today’s low mortgage rates, or from selling their homes.  If has also cause many people to throw in the towel and simply walk away from their home.

CoreLogic, a real estate data firm has reported that an estimated 850,000 homes are no longer underwater in the first quarter of 2013 due to rising home values.  They also reported that another 11.2 million homeowners are now in a “low equity” position, which means they are no longer underwater, but have only a little equity.

This means an estimated 9.7 million homes, about 1 in 5 are still underwater.

Another 11.2 million homeowners were in a low-equity situation, not underwater on their mortgage but with less than 20 percent equity in their homes, a situation that can make refinancing difficult or more expensive.

Rising values

The combination of low mortgage rates, and less foreclosures on the market has help boost values and increased sale prices the past year.  In the metro Twin Cities area of Minneapolis / St Paul, average home values have risen 15.1% in the past year alone.

Real Estate is local

Just a few states account for the almost 1/3rd of underwater homes. Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. Many people in the Twin Cities are now able to sell and move up to a bigger home, or to easily take advantage of low mortgage rates again, especially with programs like HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which was specifically designed to assist underwater homeowners who got their current mortgage loan prior to June 1, 2009.

Insurance for a townhomes or condo condo. Do you need it?

Do you need renters insurance for your town home or condo?

Home Car Boat Insurance MN St Paul Minneapolis
Insurance Company for HO-6 policy in MN


When you own a condo or town home, your monthly association dues provides you basically with “walls out” coverage. If the home is damaged or destroyed, the associations insurance policy will rebuild the property.  Anything inside, or “walls in” is NOT covered.


The walls in policy for town homes or condo’s is officially known as an HO6 policy, but think of it as being similar to a renters policy, as is covers everything inside. The main areas covered in a policy are:
Personal property coverage covers your belongings so that you can replace your items in the event of a loss, such as fire, theft, vandalism, etc. Your association’s policy covers the structure of the building, but it does not extend to cover your own property.

Loss of use coverage covers additional living expenses if you have to move out temporarily while your unit is being repaired. This coverage covers the additional costs you would incur by moving to temporary housing, renting a hotel room, or commuting a longer distance to work while your home was being repaired.

Personal liability coverage covers damage the policyholder or his dependents cause to a third party.

Many people don’t think they have much, but the cost to replace everything you own adds up quickly. On average, for around $15 per month, you can get an HO6 insurance policy so that your property can be replaced. Plus, most insurance carriers will offer you a package discount for having both car and and homeowners insurance, so the protection becomes even more affordable.

See how little great protections costs by calling our friends at Reliable Insurance Network at 651-675-4911

Buying a HUD foreclosure with FHA financing

Minneapolis, MN:  The Minnesota and Wisconsin housing market for homes under $250,000 is hot…   Good homes priced well are selling very quickly, and usually above the original asking price.

I’ve run into this situation many time recently when buying a HUD home, so I thought I would address it here.


hh_fsThe quick answer is YES if using an FHA loan to buy the house.  NO if using any other financing.

If you are buying a HUD foreclosure, they almost always already have a HUD Appraisal.  This is good and bad.  On the good side, if the buyer is using an FHA loan, the buyer does not need to pay for one of their own.  They get to use the HUD appraisal.

If the buyer is using any other type of financing, the existing HUD appraisal is meaningless.  You will need a new one.


But if the house goes into multiple offers, the buyers using FHA financing are hamstrung by the HUD Appraisal. Sure, they can offer more than the HUD appraisal, but any amount they offer above the asking appraisal amount will be additional cash out of their pocket above the standard FHA down payment of 3.5%.

For example, a HUD Home is on the market for $100,000 with an existing HUD appraisal at $100,000.  There are multiple offers.  You want the house.  You offer $105,000. Therefore your down payment is $8,675 (3.5% of $105,000 PLUS the $5,000 above the appraisal price).


Mortgage Rates up for 5th straight week

Minneapolis, MN:  Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates climbing higher for the fifth consecutive week on concerns the Federal Reserve may slow its bond purchases amid a strengthening economy. This marks the first time the average 15-year fixed-rate mortgage has gone above 3 percent since the week of May 24th of last year.

check_ratesNews Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.91 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending June 6, 2013, up from last week when it averaged 3.81 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.67 percent.
  • 15-year fixed rate mortgages this week averaged 3.03 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.94 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) averaged 2.74 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.66 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.84 percent.

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

“Continuing market concerns that the Federal Reserve may slow its bond purchases amid a strengthening economy added upward pressure on mortgage rates this week. In its June 5th regional economic conditions report, known as the Beige Book, the Federal Reserve noted that overall economic activity increased at a modest to moderate pace over April and May in all its districts except for Dallas which indicated strong economic growth. In addition, pending home sales rose in April to its fastest pace since April 2010 and May’s consumer sentiment was revised upwards to its highest reading since July 2007.”


Freddie Mac’s survey is the average of loans bought from lenders * last week, including discount points. Applicants must pay all closing costs at these rates. No cost loan rates higher.

Follow this link to view today’s best MN and WI mortgage interest rates.

Wells Fargo and B of A top in complaints

St Paul, MN:  This isn’t shocking news to us, but it looks like the big banks, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, top the list of consumer complaints – especially for mortgages.

Read the story from the Washington Business Journal at http://tinyurl.com/ljs3csh 

You can avoid a lot of the problems if you understand who you are working with. Always work with an experienced, professional loan officer. The largest financial transaction of your life is far too important to place into the hands of someone who just quotes rates, but is not capable of advising you properly and troubleshooting the issues that may arise along the way. But how can you tell?

80% of Loan Officers are NOT Licensed

CHECK YOUR LOAN OFFICER OUT on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry 


Bank Loan Officers (Registered) versus SAFE ACT (Licensed) Loan Officers?
There is a BIG difference YOU need to understand

Washington has been busy protecting consumers from bad lenders right? Wrong! They have only done half the job, and sadly, the general perception by the public as to who is the better lender choice is completely wrong. Most people feel the brokers and the non-bank mortgage lenders have created all the problems. This isn’t true. Just the opposite. Consider the fact that Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and banks make the rules, and the banks review, underwrite, and fund the loans for brokers.

Recent changes to the lending industry requires all loan officers to have a tracking number, known as an NMLS number (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry). It should be displayed on their business cards, E-Mail, web sites, all correspondence, and most loan documents. The display of the NMLS number may incorrectly make consumers believe the Loan Officer is licensed. Only 20% of Loan Officers are licensed. The rest are simply registered. Working with an unlicensed, untrained Loan Officer is not in a consumers best interest.

Simply put, Loan Officers at Banks, Credit Unions, or Mortgage Companies owned by a bank are NOT REQUIRED to be licensed, take classes, take continuing education, or pass any state or federally mandated tests to be a Loan Officer!

It is hard to determine if the Loan Officer is simply registered, versus licensed. nmls_checkWhen looking up a loan officer, you have to go to the bottom of their NMLS identification page and look under State Licenses/Registrations or Federal Registration heading.

  • A LICENSED Loan Officer will say “State Licenses/Registrations” and will have one or more STATES listed with all their state licensing information listed.
  • An UNLICENSED, but simply REGISTERED Loan Officer will say “Federal Registration” and the something like “Federal Mortgage Loan Originator”.

Now I am not trying to make this into a David versus Goliath story, but I am trying to emphasize the huge differences between Loan Officer training and education.  Look at it a different way. If you are sick and go to the Doctors office. Do you want to be treated by the receptionist, or the Doctor?

Refinance with no appraisal

appMinneapolis, MN:  As mortgage interest rates fell to all-time lows earlier this year, even underwater homeowners were able to take advantage of refinancing through mortgage programs that do not require a property appraisal.

No appraisal refinances make the refinance process easier than ever, especially for those homeowners that own more than their home is worth.

Some of the most popular no-appraisal refinance programs include the FHA streamline refinance and the HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program).  Other no-appraisal refinance programs include the VA streamline or VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan and the USDA streamline refinance.

While many home values are on the rise across the United States, many homeowners continue to owe more than their home is worth and are unable to qualify for a traditional refinance to lower their interest rate. Under theses streamlined no-appraisal refinance programs, homeowners are able to successfully lower their interest rates without assessing their home’s value.

On average, homeowners that take advantage of a no appraisal refinance program are able to yield a savings of about 35 percent. If your home is currently underwater and you have not been able to qualify for a traditional refinance, look into a no appraisal refinance.