Recent News

How Foreign National Real Estate Investors Can Leverage The U.S. Dollar For Better Returns

The U.S. dollar is gaining value rapidly, changing the financials for foreigners buying U.S. property. The rising Greenback makes a case for Irish, British and Canadian foreign nationals to make as large a downpayment as possible on their next investment unit. It's a mortgage strategy reversal for the international real...

A Six-Figure Income And Impeccable Credit Doesn’t Insulate You From Tightening Mortgage Guidelines

Four times annually, the Federal Reserve surveys 84 banks around the country about general lending standards and banking conditions. One of the survey questions asks about current mortgage lending standards and whether it's getting harder, or easier, to get approved for a home loan. Modified from the report, we see...

Fannie Mae Adds New Risk-Based Pricing And “Adverse Market” Fees For All Conforming Mortgage Applicants

Effective October 1, 2008, Fannie Mae is making home loans more expensive for Americans. You may want to bookmark this page because where Fannie goes, Freddie often follows. The first part of Fannie's two-part change is a remodel on its risk-based fee structure, also known as loan-level pricing adjustments. The...

Use A Boy Scout’s Approach When Shopping For Mortgage Rates

If the changing mortgage guidelines don't bedevil you, changing mortgage rates will. It's getting even tougher to shop for low mortgages rate because rates refuse to stay in any one place for very long. The pie chart above puts it in perspective. The data is astounding -- especially against the...

With The New Housing Law, The $250,000/$500,000 Capital Gains Exclusion Is Gone For Some

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 passed into law this week with a lot of positives for the American people. Some of the law's highlights include: Up to $7,500 in purchase "credits" for first-time homebuyers Conforming loan limit increases to $625,000 in high-cost areas Expansion of the FHA...

As Gas Prices Fall, Mortgage Rates Are Responding Accordingly

If you study mortgage rates long enough, you realize that "good mortgage rates" are under constant attack from a number of sources, including: World events and geopolitics U.S. employment data U.S. government and policy The price of oil and gasoline And this is just a sampler. There are literally thousands...

FHA Institutes Risk-Based Pricing, Rewarding Owners Of Multi-Family Properties (In A Relative Way)

The FHA rolled out risk-based mortgage pricing this week, matching steps that Fannie and Freddie took earlier this year. In its press release, the FHA lists some exceptions including 15-year mortgages. Prior to the risk-based changes, FHA home loans were usually accompanied by an easy-to-remember fee schedule of 1.500 percent...

The Disassociation Between Mortgage Rates And The 10-Year Treasury Note

This chart may read like gibberish, so I notated it. It's meant to illustrate that daily mortgage rates are not based on the yield of the 10-Year Treasury Note. Sure, there is a long-term correlation between the two, but "long-term" doesn't do us any good when we're looking to lock...

FHA Loans May Get Tougher Soon — Just Like Conforming Loans Did

There were two news pieces written on FHA home loans today. Separately, they're interesting but uneventful. Together, they could be a harbinger of tougher times ahead for two groups: Home buyers that use FHA financing American taxpayers that fund the FHA The first FHA story was front page in the...

The 72.73 Percent Probability For Morning Mortgage Rate Quotes

The pace at which mortgage rates change each day is quickening. This pie chart puts it in pictures. In the last 2 months, mortgage rates changed mid-day nearly 75 percent of the time. This means that an offered rate at 9:00 A.M. is likely expired by 4:00 P.M. (and has...

Why Even “The Gamblers” Are Asking To Lock Mortgage Rates As Early As Possible

If you look at mortgage rates today and compare them to January's numbers, not much has changed: 30-year fixed: Still hovering near 6 percent 7-year ARM: Still lower than 30-year fixed rates 5-year ARM: Still lower than 7-year ARM rates But on a day-to-day basis, the market is not as...

Why New Construction Condo Mortgage Guidelines Should Be Granted “Special Exceptions”

Fannie Mae's new mortgage guidelines rightfully scrutinize buyers and owners of condominiums. Since late-2007, mortgage markets have a new emphasis on collateral, or the value of the underlying property, and in a condo building, collateral can be wiped out for reasons beyond the borrower's control: Foreclosure-like sales prices in a...

Fannie Mae Cheatsheet : New Guidelines Start Monday, June 2, 2008

This weekend, Fannie Mae is overhauling its mortgage approval system. Earning an "Approve/Eligible" is going to be decidedly tougher than in the past. For home buyers that have been in the market since January, this is not news; Fannie has been steadily trimming its serviceable market. Its changes were like...

What International Buyers Need To Know About Today’s Foreign National Mortgage Market

As the dollar slides against the world's currencies, foreign national buyers are flocking to U.S. housing market for second homes and investment properties. Looking at the graph, it's not hard to see why. Since September 2007, a European's cost to buy a $300,000 property in the United States has fallen...

HELOC Repossession : Why You Should Protect Your “Insurance Policy”

As home values stagnate around the country, mortgage lenders are actively trimming their exposure to home equity. Until recently, they've done it one of two ways: They eliminated no downpayment loans (except in rare circumstances) They capped second mortgages (i.e. home equity loans) at 95% of the home's value But...

It Takes 18.5 Years To Pay More Principal Than Interest With An Amortizing Mortgage

During the first few years with an amortizing home loan (i.e. principal + interest), homeowners often feel like their entire monthly payment is going towards interest. Well, not all of it goes towards interest, the graph tells us. Just most of it. If you're in the early years of mortgage,...

How Fannie And Freddie Are Making Remortgages Cost-Prohibitive

Mortgage rates have been trending lower for the last months or so. Unfortunately, most people can't take advantage -- government-sponsored mortgage financiers have added mandatory mortgage fees that negate the discount. It's like buying an item on sale, but having to pay twice the sales tax. If you're not saving...

Mortgage Video: Why It Matters When Mortgage Guidelines Change (Redux)

In January, I made this 5-minute video to illustrate how mortgage guideline changes are impacting American homeowners regardless of their income, assets or credit score. If you haven't seen the video before, watch it now. It's a story you need to hear. If you have watched the video, watch it...

Soon-To-Be Homesellers: Your Most Effective Mortgage Strategy

Mortgage planning is about recognizing the right home loan product for the right homeowner at the right time. It's a challenge because not only do products change, but homeowners' lives change and the times change, too. However, change is good because new mortgage landscapes means new mortgage planning opportunities for...

5 Things That Don’t Control Mortgage Rates

This is a short list of things that don't control mortgage rates: 10-Year Treasury Note The image at right is evidence -- even as treasuries were improving yesterday, we can plainly see that mortgage rates were sucking eggs. Green means better rates; red means worse rates. The Fed Funds Rate...