How long does it take to close a loan

How long does it take to close a loan?

Getting a home mortgage loan in today’s world is a cumbersome paperwork intensive process.  Especially with all the recent regulatory changes added since the market crash.

images98725Not everyone realizes how long the process takes, but this is good information to understand when setting proper expectations for closing dates.

A large portion of mortgage lenders use the same software from Ellie Mae. Through this software, they are able to track the entire process, providing great industry insights.

According to the December 2014 Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae, the average time to close a loan in 2015 took 49 days.

The average time to close a refinance dropped to 47 days, while the average time to close a purchase transaction increased to 50 days.

Obviously these are averages, so can some loans go through the process faster?  You bet.  Some slower?  Of course.

As a Loan Officer for 20+ years, by far the biggest delay I see in closings is cause by the client, by the client not providing requested documents to the lender in a timely fashion. By having standard documents ready to go up front, and responding to any document request from a lender in a timely fashion, the client can help achieve a smooth and successful on time closing.

Here are a few additional tips for a smooth home loan closing.


Avoiding TRID delays in your home loan closing

New government mandated lending rules, commonly known in the industry as TRID, have been reeking havoc across many home loan closings since they started in Oct 2015. The new rules essentially deal with mortgage lenders requirements to be accurate in their numbers and to provide accurate and timely disclosure to the client priot to the loan closing.

So how do homebuyers avoid last minute closing delays

TRID delays may be very real but, the bulk of the issues can be avoided by simply choosing the right Loan Officer.  If your you’re Loan Officer is accurate with the documents from the start, you can avoid many of the delay issues,” says Joe Metzler, a Senior Loan officer with Mortgages Unlimited in St Paul, MN.

A large percentage of Bank and Credit Union Loan Officers are not personally licensed, and should be considered more of a glorified application clerk versus a professional Loan Officer. This is because the rules do not require Loan officers at banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies affiliated with banks or credit unions to be licensed.

On the other hand, Loan Officers who work for non-bank mortgage companies, and for mortgage brokers are required to be personally licensed.  On average, the difference between a licensed and unlicensed Loan Officer can be dramatic.

Home Mortgage Loans in WI, MN, SDWhen working with a clerk, odds are the initial application will have disclosure errors that follow the file all the way to closing, ultimately resulting in a delayed closing.

Add  that to the TILA-RESPA disclosure rule change to be one of the biggest changes the industry has faced in years, and many companies are slow to be prepared to deal with the changes. This is especially true the larger the lender is. Software companies, lenders, mortgage industry vendors, and everybody else working on a deal are trying to figure out just what the CFPB now requires, which results in the delays.

Data from Ellie Mae, who provides mortgage loan software to a large portion of the mortgage industry has indicated the average time to close a home loan is clearly longer today than prior to the new rules, averaging 50 days to close a home loan.  This is an average of 10-days longer than it took one year ago.

Other data also shows the average home loan closing costs have gone up too, as lenders have had to hire more support personal to deal with the new rules.


Nationwide January Home sales dropped 9.2 per cent

Nationwide January Home sales dropped 9.2 per cent

Americans stepped back from buying new homes in January, as purchases plunged sharply in western states where prices are typically higher. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales fell 9.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000. Most of the decline stemmed for a 32.1 drop in sales in the West. Sales also slipped in the Midwest, while edging up in the Northeast and South.New Construction Loans in MN, Wi, SD

There was a sharp fall in sales of newly-built single-family homes in January. The 9.2 per cent drop took sales to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 494,000 units according to data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The National Association of Home Builders says that the dip follows a stronger-than-usual December and the underlying trend is positive that after an unusually high December reading, some pullback is to be expected.

The inventory of new homes for sale rose to 238,000 in January, which is a 5.8-month supply at the current sales pace and the highest level since October

Building a new home? Find new Constructions Home Loans in MN, WI, and SD here.

Side note: I always chuckle at these monthly reports.  They really have little meaning on a monthly basis.  The long-term trend is the more important view.


The Mortgage Broker vs. The Bank

The Mortgage Broker vs. The Bank

Minneapolis, MN: When you are considering financing a home, you will have the choice to work with either a non-bank mortgage lender or a bank.  Non-bank lenders encompass many people, from a traditional mortgage broker, to correspondent lenders (think super broker), or direct lenders who are not banks.

Real Estate, Minnesota, Minneapolis, for sale, mortgage rates, interest rates
Get Pre-Approved Today – Click HERE

Most potential home buyers think everyone who isn’t a bank is a broker. While it is more complicated than that, for sake of this article, I’ll call everyone not a bank a broker.

Full disclosure. I work for a correspondent lender. We originate, underwrite, fund and close our own loans, then sell them to large servicers (typically a big bank) after closing.

Here are a few distinct pros and cons of working with a bank or a broker.

Brokers:

  1. Mortgage Brokers generally have lower operating costs and less overhead (hence the whole concept of broker to begin with)
  2. Mortgage Brokers generally have significantly more loan options as they provide the products of many lenders
  3. Mortgage Brokers generally are more knowledgeable and experienced. The Loan Officers at non-depository lenders (brokers) must be individually licensed, pass state and federal tests, and complete continuing education each year. Loan Officers working for a bank or credit union do not.
  4. Mortgage Brokers generally work 100% by commission, and need to deliver 100% satisfaction to our clients.
  5. Generally speaking, you work directly with your Loan Officer, and no one else to get through the maze of loan options, paperwork, etc.

Banks

  1. Banks are convenient because they often have many locations.
  2. Banks have higher overhead. All those brick and mortar locations, and paying for stadium naming rights gets pass on to you.
  3. Banks only offer their own products. They may not offer what you need.
  4. Banks will cross sell you on all their other products.
  5. Generally speaking, at banks, your Loan Officer is more typically a low level application clerk, vs. a true mortgage professional. You will generally be passed along to many people during the process.

Those are just 10 factors to consider, obviously there are many more ways to compare. But if I was doing my largest financial transaction of my life, I’d want an experienced person, with the largest amount of loan options, and with the least overhead, so I get the best possible deal – and that is almost never at a bank.


Average home price up 5.2% for Oct 2015

Home prices up 5.2%

Home Values UP
Home values up 5.2% Nationally for Oct 2015

The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that home prices were up nationally 5.2% in October 2015 compared to October 2014. That’s an increase from the 4.9% rise recorded in September 2015 over September 2014.

Denver, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon all saw large 10.9% increases year-over-year.

The top 20 percent increased 5.5 per cent overall to return to their winter 2007 levels.

We are getting there, but these numbers still represent on average, around 13% below 2006 peak home values.


Finding the Best Mortgage Loan Officer

Minneapolis, MN:  Buying a home for most people is the largest financial transaction of your life. Finding the Best Mortgage Loan Officer  that is licensed, educated, experienced, professional and ethical is probably the most important decision you’ll make next to actually picking out that perfect dream home.

Most people these days pick their mortgage company one of three ways:

  1. Calling the bank where they have their checking account
  2. Going with whomever the Realtor suggests
  3. Online search (but usually only for the person quoting the lowest rate)

None of these in and of themselves are right or wrong, but here are some tips to know and understand:

First, understand that the mortgage company or bank that you choose in most cases has little to do with the success of your transaction. Essentially all mortgage lenders have and offer the same basic programs with the same underwriting guidelines. FHA loans for example are FHA loans no matter who you call, so in most cases, there is nothing special that one lender has over another.

Yet for others, there can be some differences, especially if you are on the edges in terms of loan approval. For example, a big bank with the stagecoach in their logo will not offer FHA loans over a 45% debt ratio, while some mortgage brokers (like us) will go to 50% debt-in-income ratio. This is a good example of why a mortgage broker may be a better choice, as they offer the products of multiple lenders, as opposed to just their own.

Using this one example, you may have lost out on your dream home simply because you chose the wrong lender.

Licensed Loan Officer Versus Simply Registered:

All mortgage Loan Officers must have a tracking / registration number known as an NMLS number. But having this number does NOT mean the Loan officer is licensed, or experienced.

Loan Officers at banks, credit unions, or mortgage lenders owned by a bank or credit unions can be, but are NOT required to be licensed in any way. Loan Officers at non-bank mortgage companies or brokers ARE REQUIRED to have an individual mortgage license.NMLS Consumer Access

You can check if your Loan officer is simply registered, or fully licensed by searching them on this public web site:  www.NMLSconsumerAccess.org.

At the bottom of the page, under licenses and registrations, there will either be one or more states listed, which means the person is licensed. If it indicates something similar to “Federal National Mortgage Originator”, this is a fancy name that means they are NOT licensed.

Being licensed versus simply registered does not automatically indicate if a Loan Officer is a good choice or not, but if one was doing the largest financial transaction of their life, I’d probably lien towards someone who has had to take schooling, pass state and federal testing, and is required to complete continuing education each year to be licensed, versus someone who didn’t have to do any of those things to simply be registered. Heck, even your hairdresser needs a license!

Using this example, you may have lost out on your dream home because of the the unlicensed, and inexperienced Loan Officer you chose.

Understanding Closing Costs and Interest Rates

Not only do most lenders only offer the same underlying loan products as everyone elsemortgage closing costs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA Loans, VA Loans, USDA Loans), but they all have the same underlying closing costs,  get the money to lend you from the same source, and interest rates are based on the same bond market everyday.

This is why you’ll notice all standard rate quotes are almost identical. This is why you’ll notice all closing costs quotes are almost identical.

All lenders have the same actual closing costs; appraisal, credit report, state deed taxes, county recording fees, title company charges, underwriting, origination fees, etc.  However, how lenders charge them to you can vary, and this is tied directly to your interest rate.

For example,  assume your shopping, and one lender says your closing costs are $5,000, and the next says $3,500. The lower price sounds good, and that would be true if the rates were the same. But they almost never will be.

More overhead equals higher rates

Advertising and buildings are expensive. The previously mentioned “Quick” lender for example advertises all day everyday on all TV channels, and radio stations all across the country.  You can’t go anywhere on the internet without seeing one of their advertisements.

How much does all that cost?  Must be millions. You are foolih to think that higher cost isn’t passed along to you in terms of the interest rate they charge you.

Sames with the big lenders with branches everywhere, and paying hundreds of millions for stadium naming rights.

Lender Credits

Lender credits towards your closing cost is a tool lender use to lower your out-of-pocket closing costs up-front by slightly increasing your interest rate. Mortgage interest ratesBy doing this, the lender requires less initially because they make it up by collecting more in interest over time.

Some lenders start right out of the gate by saying they don’t charge origination, or maybe they will pretend to pay for things like your appraisal. Someone is paying those items, and it is always you.

Now there is nothing wrong with taking a slightly higher rate to lower costs today. We do it all the time. But just understand that you are still paying for those costs, just in a different way.

Look at this 30-yr fixed screen shot from today for a $200,000 loan. At 3.875%, lender would charge $750 in discount points to “buy” this lower rate, but at 4,125%, lenders would reduce your closing costs with a lender credit of $2,250. The monthly payment difference between the two rates is $29.00.

Internet Lenders

There is nothing an internet lender can offer you that the local mortgage lender down the street can’t offer. They do not have lower rates, they do not have lower closing costs. But there are many things the internet lender can’t offer.

One big item is local knowledge, and dedication to the community. Some kid working in a cube in Detroit, MI could care less about my back yard or Minneapolis, St Paul, MN.

I constantly get phone calls from people who started a mortgage application with a big internet lender, who is “Quick In” mortgage.  They complain about high pressure sales, lack of product knowledge, mandatory up-front fees, failed closings, and more.

I also get a lot of calls from people who filled out an inquiry form at places that “Lend from a Tree”. Funny and cute commercials about applying in your underwear, but this place isn’t even the lender.  Rather, they take your name, then sell it to as many real lenders as possible for around $40 a lead. You are then inundated with calls from all these lenders trying to one up the other with false and misleading promises to get you to use them.

Big out-state internet lenders also NEVER have the ability to offer any state of local first time home buyer, or down payment assistance programs.

Using this example, you may have lost out on your dream home because you picked an out-state internet lender who doesn’t offer all the loan products available in your area.

Realtor Referrals

In theory, a Real Estate Agent referral to a Loan officer should be something of value, but not always. This is essentially because there are two underlying types of referrals.

A referral because the Real Estate Agent has worked with the Loan Officer for a long time, and knows them to be a licensed, knowledgeable, experienced mortgage professional looking out for your best interests. This is a good referral.

A referral because the Loan Officer works for the same company, or otherwise is heavily influenced by the owners of the Real Estate Company to refer to a specific lender or internal Loan Officer simply because it makes someone else money regardless of the qualify of the Loan Officer.

While not automatically bad, the second type of referral is highly suspicious. Tips to this type of referral are that the Loan Officer works for the same company, they share office space, or if you have already told your Real Estate Agent you have a lender you are happy with, and they become pushy or start talking negatively about your choice to get you to go to their choice.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, your Loan Officer choice is important. Ask questions, get answers. Just because someone refers, they advertise a lot, or appear to be quoting a super low rate or closing cost doesn’t mean they are the best for you, or that you shouldn’t shop or get a second opinion.

Take the time to pick a great lender, just as you take the time to pick the perfect house.

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Joe Metzler is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Minnesota based Mortgages Unlimited. He was named the 2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year, and #98 of the Top 100 Loan Officers in the Nation for 2015 by Origination News. He provides Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681


Home ownership IS cheaper than Renting

Owning is cheaper than renting

Minneapolis, MN:  The debate continues.  Is owning a home more affordable than renting.  New data is in showing that for most people, yes, owning appears to be cheaper than renting.

A survey by the big online company that starts with a Z and rhymes with Willow (I’m not a fan, so I don’t like to use their name) found on average, Americans spend about 15% of their income on a home mortgage loan, while renters that live in the nation’s largest cities spend around  30% of their income on just their rent.

Conventional wisdom says housing debt of 30% of your income or less is deemed affordable.

The report also looked at other issues effecting homeownership, and found that, just like in the past, coming up with down payment is a challenge for many, and that 13% of home buyers in 2014 got their down payment as a gift from relatives.

Many people are not aware that most home buyers DO NOT need a 20% down payment.  Conventional loan programs allow for as little as 3% down payment, and the popular FHA home loan only requires 3.5% down payment. If you are US Military, a VA loan is a no down payment loan. If you are looking to buy in rural areas of the country, the USDA Rural Development loan is also a no down payment loan.

Only if you live in a “high cost” are of the county where even the most modest home costs over $417,000 will you maybe need a larger down payment.

Many areas and potential home buyers also qualify for First Time Home Buyer programs, like the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Start Up program, here in Minnesota where I am, that will typically loan the new homeowner a big chunk of their down payment money. The program here only requires the buyer to have $1,000 of their own money to buy a home.

Sadly, many renters THINK they can’t afford a home, when statistics tend to prove otherwise. Between small down payment requirements, gifts from relatives, down payment assistance programs, and even taking money from your 401k program for down payment, most people CAN make home ownership work.

Another challenge is debt.  Many talk about student loan debt killing home buying for millennials.  As a Loan Officer, I simply don’t see it.  What I DO see is first time home buyers needing to get back to reality in their home purchase. The term starter home needs to return to the lexicon of home buyers.

Your first home needs to fit into the reality of your income and debts. Therefore, your first home may not be your dream home.

Credit is the final challenge.  If you pay your bills on time, you should be just fine.  If you don’t, you need to get that corrected first. Realistically, you need to have a middle credit score of 620 or higher. If you have poor credit, you will need to work on improving your credit first. There are NO bad credit loans available.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BECOME A HOMEOWNER

All mortgage loan applicants need to meet some basic requirements:

– OK or better credit history.
– Stable employment
– Buy a home you can safely afford (known as debt ratios)
– Have some money in the bank

If you are realy, contact a local mortgage broker in your area.  Give them a complete mortgage application, and let them zero in on what programs you qualify for, how much house you can afford, what the payments will look like, and how much money you will need to pull it all together.

If it all looks good, you’ll be put in contact with a local expert Real Estate Agent, who will help you select that perfect home.


Mortgage loans. Why all the paperwork?

Mortgage loans – Why all the paperwork?

Loan PaperworkAs a Loan Officer serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota, I am constantly asked why is there so much paperwork required to get a mortgage loan today. It seems that the lender wants to know everything about you these days, and you would be correct. Your mortgage lender does want to know a lot about you.  If you were to give a complete stranger a huge loan, for a 30-year commitment, what would YOU want to know about them?

To make it feel worse than it really is, from about 1999 until 2007 during the housing boom, there were many programs available that allowed for limited documentation, or even no proof of income. Many people took advantage of those programs. Unfortunately, a large number of those people were allowed to bite off more loan than they would have been allowed if they proved income, contributing to the real estate collapse starting in 2007.

Loan Documentation Requirements Today

No one wants foreclosures and bad loans. It isn’t good for the home buyer, the neighborhood, or the economy.  For that reason, mortgage companies need to verify and double check everything on the application, and to make sure you are a good risk.

There are three very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

  1. The mortgage industry was a bit too trusting in the past. Lenders for example asked for a pay stub, but we took what you provided at face value, and there was no double check. This allowed fraud to become rampant. How hard would it be to scan a W2 that said you made $30,000 a year into a computer, then use Photoshop to change that the 3 to an 8, and now you make $80,000 a year income.
  2. Even without fraud, during the run-up in the housing market, many people qualified for mortgages that they realistically could never pay back. The government has mandated new guidelines that now demand that the mortgage lender  prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage. The rule is called ATR, or the “Ability to Repay” rule. So no more stated income, or limited income loans.
  3.  The lenders have never wanted to be in the real estate holding business. Since the collapse, lenders suffered huge losses that came close to destroying the economy, and were were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures,  and negotiating millions of more homes in short-sales.

The Good News About Mortgage Loans

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process. If you got a loan ten to 20-years ago, yes, it was easier. But at the same time, if you never experienced that in the past, your fame of reference is that it really isn’t all that difficult today.

Instead of complaining about the paperwork required, be thankful that that you can get a loan, and get it at these amazingly low mortgage interest rates.


Minneapolis St Paul Home Values Continue to Rise

Minneapolis St Paul area home values continue to rise

Twin Cities area median home prices continue their creep upward, increasing 4.9 percent compared with October of last year.
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Housing inventory declined 25.6 percent, to a 3.2-month supply. Generally, five to six months is considered balanced. While the bulk of the metro as a whole is favoring sellers, not all areas, segments and price points reflect that.

The median list price in the metro rose 4.4 percent to $240,000, while average price per square foot rose 3.2 percent to $127, according to The Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors.

Less foreclosures, less homes underwater, less homes on the market, and attractive mortgage interest rates have all combined to push home values nicely higher

  The October median sales price was $218,000 according The St. Paul Realtor Association.


Should you trust a Zillow Zestimate??

Everyone wants to know the value of their home. Zillow has  done a fantastic job of putting themselves as the trusted place to get an estimate.  But should you?zestimate

The Zillow has this to say about Zestimates.

(note: everything in red is straight from Zillows web site)

The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user-submitted data, taking into account special features, location, and market conditions. We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement Zillow’s information by doing other research such as:

  • Getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent
  • Getting an appraisal from a professional appraiser
  • Visiting the house (whenever possible)=

The Zestimate’s accuracy depends on location and availability of data in an area. Some counties have deeply detailed information on homes such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage and others do not. The more data available, the more accurate the Zestimate.

Data Coverage and Zestimate Accuracy

Nationally, the Zestimate has a median error rate of 8%, which means half of the Zestimates in an area are closer than the error percentage and half are farther off. For example, in Seattle, Zestimates for half of the homes are within 6.6% of the selling price, and half are off by more than 6.6%.

To improve Zestimate accuracy, we allow homeowners to edit their home facts and then we incorporate this information into our Zestimate calculations.

Be aware that in some areas, we might not be able to produce a Zestimate at all, but we do have some basic information on the homes.

zestimate

This accuracy data chart for this area is pulled right from Zillows web site.  On a $300,000 home, a medium error of 6.90% in our area of Minneapolis / St Paul is $20,700!  Yikes… That is a lot. What about a 20% error rate?  Geez, even just 5% is a big number.

Zillow does the best it can with the information it has but it can’t account for important factors such as location, current market trends, local house inventory, school district, updates, granite counter-tops, poor maintenance, physical obsolescence (appraiser speak for being next to a highway, under power lines, etc), and many other details.

Zestimates give consumers an estimate on what a home might be worth. It is fun to look at, but don’t take the number seriously.

The next most popular quick peek value people look at is the county tax value.  Just like Zillow, the county tax value might be close, or very far out of line. It could be high, it could be low.

The bottom line is simple: For setting a sales price for your home, you need a Real Estate Agent. When looking to see if a home is priced right that you want to buy, you need a Real Estate Agent. When refinancing a home, lenders will send a real appraiser to your home.

If you need a good Real Estate Agent in the Minneapolis, St Paul area, I’ve worked with hundreds over the years, and would be happy to put you in touch with one.


HARP Refinance still helping homeowners

Since the beginning of the real estate bust back in 2007, millions of American’s lost value on their homes.

But with it now being 2015, huge numbers of those same people have regained a significant potion of that value back… Sadly, that doesn’t include everyone.

In 2009, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started a mortgage loan program known as HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) to help those people refinance into possibly lower interest rates to save money on their home loans.

Millions of people took advantage of the program, yet today, estimates still shows millions of others could, but have not yet refinanced under the HARP program.

HARP Refinance Program in MN, WI, SD

A HARP refinance loan is a great way to get today’s low fixed mortgage rates! 

This program allows more people to qualify under the flexible loan-to-value guidelines. Our clients love the low fixed rates and security of a HARP refinance.

Underwater? No problem!
Lost Value? No problem!
Easier Credit Requirements
Refinance into Lower Mortgage Rates
Save money each month
Fixed Rate Payments for 10, 15, 20, 30-Years

Reduce Your Mortgage Payment

The two biggest requirements is that the current loan must have been done PRIOR to June 1, 2009, and that the loan is either a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan. Who you make your payments to does NOT tell you if the loan is Fannie Me or Freddie Mac. Follow this link to see if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own your loan.

Next, understand that you can refinance with ANY lender, just just whomever you make payments to today. Furthermore, you usually get a better deal on the new loan with a new lender than you’d get using your current lender.

HARP loans are available in all 50 States. We are an approved HARP Lender for homes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota!

Apply for your HARP refinance loan today!


2015 Twin Cities home sales continue to strengthen

All signs point to Twin Cities home sales continuing to strengthen

Twin Cities homes sales maintained their strong pace through September, hitting a 10-year high, according to news releases this week from area Realtor associations.

signsThere were 5,114 closed sales last month, a 12 percent increase from last year and the highest level for September since 2005, the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors said in a news release. Pending sales rose 12.3 percent to 4,635.

Fewer sellers listed their properties, with new listings decreasing 6.9 percent to 6,355. Inventory levels fell 16 percent to 15,928.

With more buyers than sellers, the median price rose 8.3 percent over last year to $222,000.

This supply-demand imbalance means prices have risen for 43 consecutive months, the association said.

Year-to-date prices have risen 6.8 percent on average

Also noted was a continued “product mix shift” back to traditional sales and away from distressed sales such as foreclosures. This also has brought up the median price.

We expect mortgage interest rates to stay below their long-term average for years to come, and around the low 4’s for the immediate future. The trick will be sustaining price gains that motivate enough sellers to list their properties without pricing out today’s buyers — particularly first time home buyers.

The momentum in both closed sales and pending sales certainly bodes well for 4th quarter and for a strong finish to 2015.

  • Anoka County – Up 11.4%
  • Carver County – Up 4.2%
  • Chisago County – Up 8.8%
  • Dakota County – Up 4.1%
  • Hennepin County – Up 7.5%
  • Ramsey County – Up 6.7%
  • Scott County – Up 3.4%
  • Washington County – Up 3.1%
  • Wright County – Up 14.8%
  • 13 County Metro area – up 8.3%


Danger of automated mortgage pre-approval sites

It’s 2015.  I understand the daily advancements on computers, technology, and convenience. Popping up all over are sites that that claim the ability to “allows home shoppers to get pre-approved quickly and easily.” Instant pre-approval sounds cool.

But when it comes to home buying, potential home owners should be extremely wary of trusting any web site offering automated mortgage pre-approval tools.

The Traditional Mortgage Loan Process

The traditional process is you complete a loan application. ffA real live person reviews the information, talks to you about your situation, uses knowledge and expertise to explore all avenues and issues.  Then your file is run through one of the major AUS (automated underwriting system) of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc.

This AUS process only takes a few minutes, and the lender is provided with an answer to your loan application.  So if the computer says YES, you are good right?  NO, not even close.  This is just the first step.

The first major issue is simple. Garbage in equals garbage out.

Next, just because the AUS indicates ACCEPT (yes), there are still pages of information and requested items that need to be received and reviewed for accuracy. Common items are W2’s, pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns. Depending on your situation, you may need further items, like bankruptcy papers, divorce decrees, and more.

But it is the little nuances that even trip up less experienced Loan Officers, who unknowingly issue worthless pre-approval letters.

I was recently contacted by a client who had one of these instant pre-approval letters.  They had bought a home, and there application was now being fully underwritten by the lender. Just days before closing, underwriting was denying the file. The buyers big question, is “How can that be?  I was Pre-Approved?”

The issue in this case, was the income number the buyer input into the system was 100% correct. But the buyer was a 1099 contractor, not aW2 employee, who had only been with this company about 6 months. In the mortgage world, short-term contractor income is not allowed as qualifying income.

Did you know this? This is just one example. Could you be running around with an invalid pre-approval letter based off of income not allowed? You you make an offer, give notice on your apartment, and then possibly be homeless?

Your largest financial transaction of your life is too important to trust to just anyone, let alone a computer, without wisdom and input from a licensed, experienced, and professional Loan Officer.

Zillows New Pre-Approval Tool

Zillow recently announced a semi automated tool where potential home buyers enter very basic information. If they like the results, you continue by entering your name, email, and phone number. Your information is then sent immediately to the lenders in Zillows Mortgage Marketplace, who will get your information, pull your credit, and send you a pre-approval letter.

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is have my information shared with 5, 10, 20 lenders, who all pull my credit, and have my personal information. I don’t want that floating around with a bunch of unknown people.  I also don’t want to be contacted by a bunch of meal time calling aggressive lenders who just paid money for my “hot lead.” And I haven’t even started about potential identity theft.

The Best Move When Getting Mortgage Pre-Approved?

When buying a home, your best move is to always work with a local lender the traditional way. The guy located in your geographic area, with a local reputation to protect. There is nothing anyone on the internet on the other side of the country can offer that you can’t get down the street.  More often than not, it is just the opposite… Especially when it comes to down payment assistance programs for first time buyers. These programs are always only available from the local lender.

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 Joe Metzler is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer for Minneapolis Minnesota based Mortgages Unlimited. He was named the 2014 Minnesota Loan Officer of the Year by the MN Mortgage Association, and was ranked #98 of the Top 100 Loan Officers in the Nation in 2015 by Origination News. He provides Home Mortgage Loans in MN, WI, and SD. He can be reached at (651) 552-3681


Minneapolis Down Payment Assistance

Minneapolis Down Payment Assistance

Own Your own Home!

The City of Minneapolis, in partnership with Minnesota Housing,  the Minnesota Homeownership Center, and Mortgage lenders like us here at Mortgages Unlimited are getting together to provide access to down payment assistance, quality, affordable mortgages and free, non-biased housing experts that can help you become a successful home owner!

Maybe you’ve thought homeownership wasn’t possible, or you didn’t know where to start. Maybe you thought your credit wasn’t good enough or you haven’t saved enough for a down payment. We can help!

Down Payment Assistance – Homeownership Opportunity Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis wants to make affordable homeownership a reality for you. The City is providing up to $7,500 to qualified buyers to cover down payment and closing costs when purchasing a home anywhere within Minneapolis city limits. To qualify for this program, you must meet the following income eligibility requirements:

  • Homebuyers with household income up to 115% of the area median income (currently $99,500) are eligible for up to $5,000
  • Homebuyers with household income up to 80% of the area median income (currently $69,280) are eligible for up to $7,500.

Quality, Affordable Mortgages

Minnesota Housing, the State’s Housing Finance Agency, offers mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers with affordable interest rates. Our Minnesota Housing loans work seamlessly with down payment assistance products like those offered by the City of Minneapolis.

How To Get Started

Your first step is to apply for the mortgage loan itself. Your Mortgages Unlimited Loan Officer will review the application, your credit, etc.  They will discuss with you if you qualify, how much house you can afford, what the payments might look like, and what assistance you may qualify to receive. Click HERE to apply online (easiest) or call (651) 552-3681.

If that all looks good, you will need to submit standard loan documentation, which includes photo id, last two pay stubs, last two bank statements, and the last three years of W2’s and federal tax returns.

If that still looks good, you will be issued a Pre-Approval Letter, put in touch with a high quality Real estate Agent agent, and sent out to find your dream home.

In between the initial approval and closing on your new home, you will need to take the homebuyer education class listed next.

You do not have to have perfect credit, but you can NOT have BAD credit. All applicants must have a middle credit score of at least 640.  Next, while you are receiving assistance, you can’t buy a home with no money.  You must have at least $1,000 of your own money to put into buying the home.

Homebuyer Education

If you are a first time home buyer, this program from the City of Minneapolis, just like all first time home buyer programs requires all first time homebuyers to attend home buyer education.

There are two options:  Attend a physical 8-hour class (Home Stretch) or take an online class (Framework Classes). Click the links below for more information of the required training.

Sign up for HOME STRETCH: In-person workshop  Your first time homebuyer class can be taken in person in multiple locations throughout the state. The cost of this class is typically $25.

Sign up for FRAMEWORK: Online Education An online homebuyer education class can be started and stopped, and finished at your leisure. The cost of this training is $75. Most people take the online training.

When Your Class Is Completed: Print your Certificate of Completion and give  a copy to your Loan Officer

More Information

Contact:

Joe Metzler, Senior Loan Officer. NMLS 274132

(651) 552-3681

www.MNHomesAndLoans.com

 


Mortgage scams coming to an end?

After year and years of abuse, it appears a big area of real estate transaction abuse may be finally coming to and end. What is that you say?  Something you probably experienced, but didn’t realize, which is known as a Marketing Service Agreement, or MSA.

MSA are agreements between various companies, more often than not, companies owned by the same people, to steer you into using the services of the other company.

For example, you buy your home using a Real Estate Agent from ABC Realty, who talks you into getting your mortgage loan from their affiliated company ABC Mortgage. Then they get you to close your home loan at their affiliated Title Company, ABC Title. Some, even go as far as even trying to get you to get your homeowners insurance from their affiliated company!  cfpb_logo

Another great example is in new construction, where the builder uses fake incentives (like free appliances) if your use the mortgage company and title company they own.

These MSA have become prevalent in the market, but have started to fall out of favor with many companies since the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) started going after these service agreements over their legality. Numerous companies have been slapped with large fines for their practices, so many others, seeing the writing on the wall, and just getting out of MSA’s all together.

Essentially these agreements require one company to be obligated to recommend the other, even when they know there is a better alternative for the client.

Almost always, it comes down to money. If the client believes they are required to use the company and they don’t shop, or are not allowed to shop, what sort of deal do you think the related provider is providing?  incentive2That’s correct, rare is their offering the best deal, and many times, the consumer is paying a significant premium for the related company services. Because the related provider costs more, if allowed to shop, it would usually put their own overpriced companies at a competitive disadvantage.  Therefore many companies employ tactics to scare or otherwise discourage clients from shopping.  The aforementioned builder incentive is classic. People, the builder is NOT giving away anything. The appliance allowance, or finished basement upgrade is already built into the price of the house. They only “offer” that as a great incentive for you to also use their MSA partner.

While MSA’s are not currently illegal, the CFPB has strongly stated that if you are going to be making a referral, it better be because it is the best deal from the client, and not the best deal for them.

The bottom line for a home buyer is that you should always shop for the other services.  Almost without fail, because of the nature of Marketing Service Agreements, you’ll usually get a better deal somewhere else.

 


Don’t believe the hype – Millennials can still buy homes

Millennials can, and still want to buy homes.

While it is true the American dream of home ownership is harder to achieve than in the past, it isn’t impossible. Young adults, more than ever in the past may be delaying home ownership because of student loan debt, and fear of the stability of their young careers. But they are still buying homes, just a few years later in life than in the past.

real1According to data from Zillow, in the 1970’s, first time home buyers on average had rented for just 2.6 years prior to buying a home, and was about 30-years old.  Today, the average first time home buyer has rented for 6-years prior to buying a home, and is three years older (33-years old).

The same data shows that in the early 1970’s, the average first time home buyer bought a home with a price 1.7 times their household income.  Today, that first home costs 2.6 times their yearly income.

Clearly this data shows that it is tougher for first time buyers to save for down payment, and to afford a home. At the same time, this lines up with other delayed aspects of adulthood from years past, including getting married later in life, starting families later in life, and having fewer children.

Just like generations past, once people start having kids, they start looking for homes to raise those kids, especially if they feel secure in their young job careers. But things have changed, many people years ago could count on right out of high school having a job they could start and stay until retirement with good benefits.  That just isn’t the case today. Another survey showed the average new buyer spent 4.5 years in their job field, and were at their current job for 3-years.

Most new home buyers still save their own money for down payment, which has become a bit harder with rising home prices, and high rents making it harder to save for a down payment, but the long held tradition of down payment help from Mom and Dad is still alive and well – and a very popular option.

Apply Online

Low mortgage rates, low down payment loans like the 3.50% down payment FHA loan, and the 3% down payment conventional loan, combined with down payment assistance programs significantly close the gap needed to buy a home.

The bottom line is there is a continued strong desire to buy among millennials.  It is just that the timelines to buy that home appear to have been pushed back a few years from generations past.

If you feel you are ready to buy in MN, WI, or SD – we can help.  Just click here to apply online.

MN first time home buyer programs