Banks Start To Loosen Up In Underwriting

  After a half-decade of tightening mortgage guidelines, banks are starting to “loosen up”. The Federal Reserve conducts a quarterly survey of its member banks and, last quarter, not a single responding bank reported having tightened its mortgage guidelines for prime … [Read more...]

Foreclosure Filings Fall To 49-Month Low especially in California, Nevada, Michigan and Arizona

  Foreclosure filings are fewer these days, according to foreclosure-tracking firm RealtyTrac. In December 2011, the number of foreclosure filings nationwide fell 9 percent from the month prior. Not since November 2007 has foreclosure activity been this sparse across the … [Read more...]

Is An FHA Mortgage Better Than A Conforming One?

The FHA is insuring a greater percentage of loans than during any time in recent history. In 2006, it insured roughly 5 percent of the purchase mortgage market. Today, it insures one-quarter. ”Going FHA” is more common than ever before — but is it better? The answer — like most things … [Read more...]

What Is Annual Percentage Rate (APR)?

More commonly called APR, Annual Percentage Rate is a government-mandated mortgage comparison tool. It measures the total cost of borrowing over the life of a loan into dollars-and-cents. A loan’s APR is printed in the top-left corner of the Federal Truth-In-Lending Disclosure, as shown above. … [Read more...]

What To Know Before You Move To A New Neighborhood

As home buyers , we tend to research homes a lot. We look at square footage; at upgrades; at landscaping; at community statistics; and, at every other “number” on which we can get our hands. But those are just statistics. What about the home’s “feel”? In this 5-minute piece from … [Read more...]

Foreclosures And Short Sales Distorting “Home Price Trackers”

In an echo of February’s Case-Shiller Index report, the government’s own home price-tracker — the Home Price Index — showed home values slipping between January and February 2011. The Federal Home Finance Agency data had home values down 1.6 percent nationwide in February, on average, … [Read more...]

The Difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification

For many new homebuyers, the terms pre-qualification and pre-approval seem interchangeable. But they are not — and the distinction is an important one. When you get pre-qualified, I perform a quick check to determine generally how large a home loan you can afford. Essentially, when a buyer is … [Read more...]

How To Screen For A Good Home Contractor

Thank you Michael for the post! In addition to the tips below you can also contact your favorite Realtor, hint, hint ;-) for recommendations to contractors.  As a 20+ year home renovator & having purchased a handful of fixers I've compiled a list of my favorite, most reliable painters, … [Read more...]

Get Your Applications In : FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums Rising 0.25 Percent April 18, 2011

After this week ends, the FHA is raising mortgage insurance premiums on its new borrowers. It’s the FHA’s third such increase in the last 12 months. Beginning with FHA Case Numbers assigned April 18, 2011, mortgage insurance premiums will be higher by 25 basis points per year, or … [Read more...]

How Does Your Real Estate Tax Bill Compare To Other Parts Of The Country?

Mortgage rates may be a function of free markets, but real estate taxes are a function of government. And, depending on where you live, your annual real estate tax bill could be high, low, or practically non-existent. Compiling data from the 2009 American Community Survey, the Tax Foundation, a … [Read more...]

How Does Your Work Commute Compare To Other Cities?

As part of the Census Bureau’s data collection activities from 2005-2009, a number of interesting charts have been published at http://census.gov. The data should not be confused with Census 2010 — a separate survey conducted every 10 years. This is the first-ever, 5-year American … [Read more...]

Buying a Short Sale — The Need for Speed

Short sales offer not just a lifeline to homeowners in over their heads, but an opportunity for homebuyers seeking an amazing deal. Better yet, thanks to new regulations, the once lengthy process has recently become considerably more streamlined. In a short sale, a homeowner that cannot afford to … [Read more...]

FHA : Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums To Rise April 18, 2011

For the third time in 12 months, the FHA is changing its mortgage insurance costs. Effective for all FHA case numbers assigned on, or after, April 18, 2011, annual mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) will increase 25 basis points. The change will add $250 to an FHA-insured homeowner’s annual … [Read more...]

Cost of Living Reaches An All-Time High, Pressures Mortgage Rates Higher

Mortgage rates are up 0.875% since mid-November, causing home buyer purchasing power to fall more than 10 percent since. Persistent concerns over inflation are a major reason why and this week’s Consumer Price Index did little to quell fears. CPI rose for the third straight month last … [Read more...]

Practical Advice : How To Help Your S.F. Bay Area Home Sell Faster

Thank you Michael for the post. If you are thinking about selling your home in the S.F. Bay area I'm happy to set up a time to view your home & provide input as to value & how to prep it for market so that it sells for top dollar. Keep in mind when watching this clip that the market … [Read more...]

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