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Real Estate Agents: How the government shut down will affect your business

With: John Meussner, Loan Officer & Mortgage Coach @ Mason-McDuffie Mortgage

So it’s been a day and the government is still shut down.  What exactly does that mean?  I’ll spare the humor and all the things I’d like to say – basically it means that some services are available, and others aren’t.

     While many vital services are still in action and exempt from shutdown, many others have been frozen, and could inadvertently have a pretty poor effect on the housing market, especially if this shutdown lasts for more than a couple days.

Please note: Not all lenders will have the same processes during a shutdown, just like in 2013. Your experience may vary. For example we are good to proceed on USDA Loans as-is during the shutdown.

USDA loans – the USDA loan program is frozen.  Since files are approved by USDA offices directly, there will be no more guarantees or housing loans issued by the USDA offices until the shutdown is over.  This could have a pretty terrible effect for those who live in rural areas or need 100% financing.

VA loans – VA loans should be in full swing, as the program is run based mostly on fees.  Where there might be an issue is when someone needs a VA certificate.  When the government shut down in the 90’s, there was a delay in obtaining certificates, and this will likely be the case again.  New applications will be taken, and files will be underwritten and funded, though.

FHA loans – FHA loans aren’t expected to feel a real impact from the government shutdown so long as the shutdown doesn’t last for a long period of time.  HUD is running at a significantly reduced staff, though, so getting information and paperwork to & from HUD could take a lot longer than usual.  The good news is, loans will still be insured & they will still have staff delegated to underwriting.

Conventional loans – while many are stating the shutdown is ‘no big deal’ for conventional financing, this is simply not the case.  Yes, conventional loans will be applied for, underwritten, approved, and funded.  BUT, over the past few years, as we all know, lenders have taken extra steps to fight fraud, and 2 of these steps are social security verifications and IRS 4506-t transcripts.  These services will be unavailable, and therefore loan files may be put on hold until the shutdown is over.

     Some borrowers will be in more trouble than others – for self-employed borrowers, they may be at the mercy of the shutdown as a work around for 4506 transcripts isn’t currently available.  Also, for any government employees that are in the midst of the loan process it will be extremely difficult to get any verifications of employment done.

   I’d strongly recommend being proactive in making sure none of your clients are surprised by any potential delays – sellers should understand that the shutdown can cause delays at no fault of buyers.  Anyone buying or refinancing should be aware of what type of loan they are getting, and if the potential is there for delays, they should plan accordingly.

     Hopefully in a day or 2 this blog post won’t matter & things will be running smoothly once again between our elected officials, but as a preemptive stragegy, it would be a good idea to know this information.  And for an added benefit you’ll already know what to be ready for if this happens in the future.

–  John Meussner

Phone
(949) 247-7530
Email
jmeussner@masonmac.com

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5 Important Tips for REALTOR Safety

Today’s Guest Blogging topic is: REALTOR Safety
With: Sonia Figueroa, BROKER @ Century 21 Affiliated 

My passion has always been about real estate especially helping those that don’t have a clue about what home buying is all about. I embarked on my real estate journey 13 years and still going strong as if it were just yesterday that I started.

I never thought about safety in my last 12 years but this last year my perspective completely changed. I was in 3 major life threatening incidents that nearly killed me, literally. All three of them happened while on the job and it made me think of how dangerous my job can be.

The first incident was being attacked by a pitbull that nearly chewed my leg off, the second was a drug deal gone wrong in a vacant building while I was showing it. I was heading up to the second floor when I had a gun pointed at me and lastly my real estate office was robbed while I was inside. They three teenagers took my purse and the receptionist belongings as well.

I finally had it and decided to choose my own destiny by getting my conceal and carry license. My story was featured on NBC and the Chicago Tribune.

Now I feel safe at all times, I know this is a big deal for many and some choose not to use a firearm. Just know that when it comes to your safety you should at least use something like pepper spray.

In the 2017 Realtors report, 25 percent of men and 44 percent of women said they had experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Don’t let fear dictate your life.

 

Here are my 5 quick tips for realtor safety:

1. Be mindful of your environment

Be aware of your surroundings. We get carried away with our daily routines and never even know what’s around at times. Is there someone that looks suspicious in a car? While you are texting in your car who is next to your vehicle? How many people are watching you walk into a house? These are just some questions on why you should be mindful when showing a home especially going into a vacant house. Take a quick pause throughout your day and check out what’s around you. Don’t ever walk with your head down.

2. Comfort Level

As realtors we meet people for the very first time without knowing their background. If the first phone conversation you had with this person makes you uncomfortable do not meet them by yourself at the property. Ask that person to meet up with you a local coffee shop, at your office somewhere in a public place first.

While you are talking to this person take notice of unusual behaviors. Is he or she asking odd questions or lingering a little too long? Don’t be afraid of being impolite. Trust your gut if someone or something is making you uncomfortable.

If you must meet with client for the very first time at a property take another realtor or your broker with you. Let them know that for safety reasons we work in tandem.

If can’t take your broker with you or another teammate then its good practice for any uncomfortable situation, threatening or not, to have friend who knows where you are and knows you would only call if you needed help. Call your friend and say an agreed upon phrase that lets them know you need help before alerting the potential threat. They can then send help without alerting the threat that you are privy to the situation.

 

3. Daylight savings time- Schedule

Keep showings during the daytime when at all possible. As we change our clocks the day turns into night very quickly. Someone is less likely to try something during the day and people are more likely to witness any suspicious behavior. When possible, rearrange your schedule — if you know you are dealing with previous clients, schedule those appointments in the evening. Keep new clients and open houses during the daylight.

4. Safety Apps

If you are not the kind to get a firearm or pepper spray then at least have some safety apps on hand. Here are some that I recommend.

Watch Over Me – Watch Over Me greets you with a screen that presents two statements, ‘Watch Over Me While I…’ and ‘For…’, followed by two buttons. For each statement you fill in an action (‘walk home’, ‘walk to my car’, ‘take a cab’, ‘meet someone’, or add a new event), and a time frame (hours and minutes). Watch Video

bSafe – bSafe has some of the same features as Watch Over Me—for instance, it allows you to add contacts (it calls them Guardians) who can follow you when you’re on your way home. Watch Video

StaySafe – StaySafe is centered on a timer that you set when, for example, you go out for a run. If you don’t check in safely when your timer is up, the app notifies your contacts. StaySafe sends your GPS location via email or SMS, and you can add the details of your trip or event so your contacts know that they’re receiving an alert because, say, you haven’t checked in from your typical 7 p.m. jog. Watch Video

 

5. Methods to Defend Yourself

If you do find yourself in a scary situation, make sure you learn de-escalation techniques and implement them into the situation. These can include simple self-defense techniques to deter the threat and allow you time to get away. It can also mean not showing your anger or fear in a situation until you can alert someone to help.

These steps are so simple, but could be the tools to saving your own life when necessary. I know from experience that these situations are more common than you might think.

Aside from self defense classes, firearms and pepper spray there are other items that are not common to the public.

There are also cute kitty keychains are not toys, but are in fact a very serious defense weapon. The design has been around for years, but the technology has gotten better. They are now made of an ultra-tough plastic material that is very hard to break, which is exactly what you need should you ever have to use this device.

A personal alarm on a keychain can also be used as a panic alarm or medical alarm.

No one has the right to take away your feeling of safety in the workplace. For that matter, no one has the right to take away your desire to go out there and be the boss! By implementing this safety checklist, we can take back our business and our lives.

More about the Author:

Sonia Figueroa is a Broker in Chicago with Century 21 Affiliated. Sonia been in Real Estate for the last 12 years and loves every minute of it.  She loves helping people realize the dream of homeownership and prides her self on creating long lasting relationships with her clients. She was born and raised in Chicago earning a Bachelors Degree in CIS and an Associates Degree in Computer Science. She is the Queen of Facebook Live and uses her vast expertise on Social Media Marketing to grow her business. 

Contact Sonia @  773.308.5505 or you can send email her at Sonia@SeeSonia.com
Website: www.SeeSonia.com

Disclaimer: : The views, data, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp.
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Top 5 Things to Look for When Hiring a Realtor

Today’s Guest Blogging topic is: How to hire the best Realtor for your needs

With: Jessica Wallace, REALTOR @ COLDWELL BANKER

Working with the right Realtor makes a huge difference in your success in home buying or home selling.  The ‘right’ Realtor will be different for each person as well depending on personalities and goals.  Here is a list you can use for a general rule of thumb when looking for a Realtor to help you buy or sell a home.

TOP 5 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A REALTOR:

#1  LOCAL EXPERTISE

This is a big one, you want your agent to be extremely knowledgeable in the areas you are looking to buy or sell a home.  Having deep local knowledge of the nuances in pricing in an area, familiarity with other local agents and lenders is huge and working with an agent that really knows their marketplace will help you be successful.

#2 EXPERIENCE = YEARS IN THE BUSINESS + NUMBER OF SALES PER YEAR

With each real estate transaction I have done, I learn something new every time.  I have been selling homes since 2004 and the amount of knowledge I have attained is crucial to my client’s success  It helps when a tricky or difficult situation comes up in a sale that I can draw on my experience to make things happen and solve problems.  Make sure to look up an agents average number of sales per year.  You don’t want to work with a part time agent that is not fully invested and knowledgeable about the real estate business.

 

#3 REVIEWS – REPUTATION

Do your research on the Realtors you are considering and see if they have any reviews online on sites like Zillow, Google, Realtor.com, LinkedIn.  Read about other people’s experience with the agent and if they do not have any reviews or very little I would be wary.

#4 PERSONALITY

Everyone is different and has distinct ways of interacting and even a very experienced Realtor might not be the right one for you if you don’t mesh with their personality.  You could be spending a lot of time together and potentially dealing with stressful issues that come up.   If your Realtor’s personality rubs you the wrong way, even if they are great at what they do, you may want to consider working with someone that you are more comfortable with on a personal level.


#5 TECHNOLOGICAL SAVVY

You want a Realtor that keeps on top of the newest trends and technology in real estate, especially when you are selling a home.  Understanding how to leverage technology and social media to bring the greatest amount of exposure to the home you are selling will potentially get your more money for your home in a shorter amount of time.   If your Realtor is not using professional video, photos and a social media strategy to sell your home, they are doing you a disservice.

When it comes to selecting someone to help you through one of the biggest financial transactions of your life, make sure to chose wisely my friends.   

More about the Author:

Jessica Wallace is a Realtor in Santa Cruz with Coldwell Banker and has been selling homes since 2004.  As a native of Santa Cruz, Jessica uses her local knowledge and years of experience to help her clients be successful and achieve their Real Estate goals while making the process as enjoyable and stress free as possible.  

Contact Jessica @  831.419.9345 or you can send her a message HERE.
Website: www.BuyorSellSantaCruzHomes.com 

Disclaimer: : The views, data, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp.

 

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Insights on How the New Tax Bill may Impact You

Even though we are not tax professionals, we wanted to give you some general insights regarding how the new tax bill* may impact you starting this year.

If you have a large first mortgage loan amount, you will be grandfathered in to the interest deduction up to $1,000,000 of your loan as long as it closed prior to December 15, 2017.  From that date, going forward, you’ll be limited to the interest paid up to $750,000 of the mortgage. One thing to note, is that the interest deduction has expressly indicated “acquisition debt” which coincides with purchase money loans and rate/term refinance loans.  It remains to be seen if this will be impacted with cash out refinances in the future for tax-purposes.

 

If you have a second mortgage (fixed or home equity line of credit, also known as a HELOC), the interest paid on these loans is no longer tax-deductible. (Formerly interest paid up to $100,000 was tax-deductible.) I believe that with our still-low mortgage interest rates, it may be beneficial to talk about the possibility of rolling the first and second mortgage loans into one loan through refinancing. And, in the future, cash-out refinances will be more likely vs. getting a second mortgage, since the interest paid on those are akin to the interest paid on credit cards and auto loans – no longer deductible! (However, see the paragraph above this one on commentary on interest paid on cash-out refinances.)

If you move, the rule requiring you to live in the home two of the last five years in order to exclude the net gain from capital gain income is still in place (congress wanted to raise it to five of the last eight), however, in 2008 the rule quietly changed to exclude the time you rented the home from the amount you can exclude from capital gains.  This will impact people who lived in their homes, kept them as rental properties and bought new homes (or moved and rented, but retained their home as a rental), then decided to sell or move back into the home so they met the “2 of 5” limit.  The IRS has issued Publication 523 that includes a worksheet indicating exactly how much of your net gain is owed as capital gains and how much is not.  You can find more information and the work sheet here https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-publication-523

Other items to note:

Property tax and state tax payments are now limited to $10,000.

Unreimbursed employee expenses and tax preparation fees are no longer deductible.

Moving expenses for anyone other than military personnel is no longer a deduction.

Individual personal exemptions (in 2017 the amount is $4,050 per person listed as tax payer and dependent) are eliminated.  However, the standard deductions have also increased and there is a $500 per dependent tax credit. Tax credits are much more favorable to the “bottom line” in tax preparation than tax deductions are.

Child care expenses have increased to $2,000 per child and now the credit doesn’t phase out until the AGI is over $200,000.

And the tax brackets have improved, allowing everyone to potentially pay less in federal income taxes!

*Again, this post is not intended to give you advice on your tax situation.

To find out how this new law impacts you personally, please contact your own tax advisor.

We hope you will find the above information useful as you do your tax planning under the new law.

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All About Private Money

Education & Value is what our blog is about. Yapping about ONLY mortgage related business is boring and not what we strive for as a company. This is why we bring in guest bloggers to talk about all areas of business.

Today’s topic is: Private Money aka Hard Money Lending

With: Mark Van Dellen, Senior Business Development Manager at CALCAP Lending, LLC.

Background of Private Money Financing

Private money financing has always been around. It was thrown for a loop, however, when the Dodd/Frank Act passed in 2010. No longer were consumer loans a viable option for private money financing. Dodd-Frank basically eliminated balloon, equity-based loans as an option for homebuyers or homeowners. So, instead, private money lenders have focused on business purpose loans to continue to provide short term, equity based loans. Business purpose loans for 1-4 unit residential properties are exempt from RESPA, TILA and some of the other state regulations enacted to protect consumers and homeowners.

 

What is a business purpose loan? It is the opposite of a consumer purpose loan. A consumer purpose loan is defined as a loan to a natural person on a residential property (1-4 residential units), when the purpose of the loan is to obtain funds for a personal, family or household purpose. A business purpose loan is a loan on residential property primarily for business, commercial or agricultural purpose (includes loan to acquire or improve rental property), NOT occupied by the borrower, OR 2.) Loan to business entity (i.e. Inc., or LLC) (Note: A Trust is NOT considered business entity.)

Private money loans are typically short term, 1 to 3-year bridge loans, interest only, with interest rates around 7-12%, depending on the equity of the property and credit rating of the borrower. Little or no regard is paid to the borrower’s income when determining the approval of the loan. Equity is king. Loan to value ratios rarely exceed 70 or 75%.

Another factor that influenced the growth of the private money market were fix n flippers – entrepreneurs who purchased foreclosed and run-down homes for renovate and resale. These homes would typically not qualify for conventional financing because of the condition of the property or the need to purchase them very quickly to get the best price possible.

A second growth factor was the boom in 1-4 unit properties being rented out. Many people lost their homes during the 2008 financial crisis and many people do not qualify for homeownership financing because of the newer, stricter Dodd-Frank rules and rapid home price increases in many parts of the country.

Why borrowers choose Private Money Financing

Real estate investors choose private money for a variety of reasons. Often times, it’s a timing issue. If the close of escrow date is coming due and conventional financing fell through, investors will go to private money as a last resort. Other times investors might choose hard money because they need construction rehab financing and institutional lenders don’t have a lot of lending options for that. Finally, if the borrower’s credit rating or income do not meet institutional requirements they will choose to go the private money route.

Pros vs Cons of Private Money

Like most things in life, there are two sides to every option. Private money allows for a lot of great options like fast closings, little documentation, and looser credit standards. Downsides include larger downpayment or equity requirements, higher interest rates and the uncertainty of future financing, since these loans are typically 1-3 years in length.

 

Private Money Loan Options

Most private money lenders offer a wide variety of loan options. There are purchase loans which are especially well suited for real estate investors that are trying to obtain an under-market home and close as fast as an all-cash offer. These typically can range up to 75% of the purchase price. There are also the options for a cash-out refinance that allow borrowers to take equity out of their property in 10 days or less to use towards renovation of other rental property or other business purposes. These might have more conservative LTVs, usually around 65% for a good credit borrower. Finally, private money gives fix and flip developers the ability to leverage multiple projects at a time, since they can borrow most of the funds needed to purchase and remodel the home. These are typically up to 75% of the purchase price of the home and up to 100% of the rehabilitation dollars, as long as the after repaired value is under 70%.

This financing category is not for everyone. It is, however, something you should be knowledgeable about because you will have customers that fit these specialized uses. You will want to work with an experienced private money lender because they will know the ins and outs of this financing option. And what a great opportunity for conventional lenders. Borrowers who obtain private financing for the acquisition of rental property will need you for permanent financing for their rental properties.

More about the Author:

Mark has been responsible for all phases of the firm’s sales growth since 2009 having originated over 500 private money loans for $200,000,000. Mark is a graduate of The University of Southern California’s Price School of Policy with a Bachelors in Planning and Development and a Masters Degree in Planning with an emphasis on Economic Development. Currently, he is an Alumni Board Member with USC Price School of Policy as well as a mentor with USC’s career services.

Contact Mark @ mark.vandellen@calcapfinancial.com | Office: 626.765.5768
Website: www.calcapfinancial.com

Disclaimer: : The views, data, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corp.

 

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Skip To My Loo – DIY Bathroom Renovations Ideas

Does your bathroom look amazing? As one of the most used rooms in every home, the bathroom can almost always use a bit of a facelift. In today’s blog post we will share a few DIY renovations that will take your bathroom from drab to fab.

Embrace A New Color Palette

One of the best ways to start your bathroom makeover is to figure out a new color palette for the room. Do you like soft, muted colors like a powder blue, light gold or cream? Or maybe something a bit louder and more exciting like a merlot red or deep purple? Whatever your taste, a splash of color might be just what your bathroom needs.

Start with a fresh coat of paint on the bathroom walls and work outwards from there. If you have windows, consider how you want the trim to contrast with the walls. Baseboards or molding can also offer contrasting effects, helping them to stand out more.

And of course, don’t forget to take care of the smaller bathroom accessories. Your shower curtain, hand towels and even your toothbrush cup can all be matched.

 

Take Your Fixtures To The Next Level

Once you have decided on colors, it is time to turn your attention to the fixtures around your bathroom. The towel racks, hooks, faucets, shower head and toilet paper holder should all match in some way. If you do not have a lot of cabinet space, investing in a mirror that includes storage might be the perfect solution. If you have items like a scale or plunger in plain sight, think on some creative ways to hide them.

Brighten Things Up With Better Lighting

While you do not need ‘selfie quality’ professional lighting in your bathroom, it might be time for a brighter, more efficient light fixture. Aim for a design that complements the rest of the accents in your bathroom while being large enough to cast a bright light. You can also spend a bit of time choosing the correct color temperature for your bathroom light bulbs. LED lighting can offer some bold whites, but be careful that you don’t go overboard.

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Californians, pay your real estate taxes before 2018?

As part of the recent tax reform bills circulating through congress, real estate taxes are under fire as one deduction home owners often take that may no longer be on the table in 2018.

 

One suggestion in the new tax bills set before congress is to cap any deduction on real estate taxes at $10,000.  For folks in high tax or high priced areas  (such as California) this could result in a large deduction disappearing in 2018.  While tax reform hasn’t been finalized, it reasons that Californians that have the opportunity to pay 2018 real estate taxes while we’re still in the 2017 calendar year can prevent potential financial harm from reform that isn’t passed until 2018.

 

Californians, for example, can pay taxes in equal installments 6 months apart.  So for most people, they’ll pay one installment in November and another prior to April of the following year.  BUT, the option is on the table for home owners to pay the full year worth of taxes in one payment.

 

Let’s look at an example, assuming the final tax reform bill that is passed eliminates deductions beyond $10,000:

 

On a $3 million dollar home, taxes may be $30,000/year or more.  Assuming the equal installments are due in November 2017 and April 2018 in payments of $15,000 each, with another payment due for $15,000 in November 2018, under current tax law, each 2018 installment payment would be deductible, allowing the home owner the option of deducting the full $30,000 for the year.

 

Under proposed reform, the 2017 installment payment could still be deductible, but with the 2018 installments totaling $30,000, if the reform bill passes as proposed, a home owner may lose out on $20,000 worth of deductions.

 

In our scenario, we suggest that if possible, a home owner pay both November and April’s installments in one lump sum prior to the end of 2017.  The $30,000 installment would cover the home owner until the November 2018 installment, and when that payment comes, $10,000 of that $15,000 installment would still be deductible, equaling a deduction loss of only $5,000 as opposed to the $20,000 in the previous example.

 

No one is sure what the final tax reform will look like as congress still has a seemingly long way to go (and surely more pork to stuff into the proposed bills), but for those with the funds and ability to do so, it may be a good idea to protect yourself against tax reform that could prove harmful in 2018.

 

**For all of your tax planning, we recommend consulting a CPA or tax expert.

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203(h) – the FHA Disaster Relief Mortgage

FHA Disaster Relief Mortgage (203h)

Hurricanes, more hurricanes, and wildfires.  Unfortunately, 2017 has given us a few events that have led to Presidentially declared disaster areas.  All of these events have unfortunately resulted in loss of life, and loss of property.  In events designated as federal disaster areas, HUD has a little-known program to help those who have lost their primary residence due to disaster – the FHA 203(h) mortgage loan.  This mortgage program is intended to offer those effected by a disaster an opportunity to purchase a new primary residence with $0 down payment required.

FHA disaster relief mortgage
Mason Mac has a product to help those effected by disasters buy a new home with $0 down

Who Can Benefit?

Renters AND home owners who lost their primary residence due to disaster can apply and obtain financing for a new primary residence with $0 down.  Evidence must be provided that the destroyed property is damaged to the point where reconstruction is required, and that it was used as a primary residence.

Those home owners who lost their home and are opting to rebuild can also use the FHA 203(h) mortgage to purchase a residence to live in as their primary residence while they go through what can be a long process of insurance claims, permitting, planning, and reconstruction of their prior residence.

There is no geographic restriction on the FHA 203(h) loan, so for those effected, a new property may be purchased anywhere.  After a disaster, many people opt to move elsewhere to avoid the likelihood of future disasters (for example, moving away from fire prone areas or coastal areas prone to hurricanes).  In these cases, a new home may be purchased anywhere with $0 down if the former primary residence was destroyed.

 

The Details

The process of obtaining an FHA 203(h) mortgage is largely the same as obtaining a standard FHA loan.  Credit guidelines are more lenient for 203(h) users when credit issues can be shown to have been caused by disaster, and the only additional paperwork is evidence that the former primary residence has been destroyed in a federally declared disaster area (when disaster strikes, these areas are listed at FEMA.gov).

Buyers opting to use 203(h) mortgage financing have up until 1 year from the time the disaster event was declared to begin the processing on their 203(h) loan.

The new property purchased can be a single family primary residence OR FHA-approved condo with loan amounts up to the local county limits and $0 down.

If the property effected by disaster had a mortgage on it, that mortgage does not need to be counted against the borrower when qualifying for their new loan if the buyer shows they’re working with that mortgage servicer to resolve the mortgage and insurance funds obtained from a claim on that property are applied toward the previous mortgage.

 

Where to get a 203(h) mortgage?

We’d strongly recommend working with your Mason Mac Loan Officer to get your 203(h) mortgage because a) we’re just a little biased, and more importantly b) our loan officers are all well trained and educated on the program and know how to navigate it from start to finish.

Not every lender offers the 203(h) mortgage loan product, so it’s important to find a lender that not only does the product, but a loan officer that is well versed in the product so they can guide you through an already difficult time with ease.

 

 

If you, friends, or loved ones have been effected by disaster and would like more information on the FHA 203(h) mortgage program, please give us a call or email your Mason Mac loan officer.  We’re here to help and happy to answer any questions you have.

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Do I Need a Mortgage Pre-Approval?

WHY You Need a Pre-Approval

 

 

If you’ve thought of buying a home, you’ve probably heard that one of the very first items on your ‘to do’ list needs to be obtaining a pre-approval from a lender.  Not a pre-qualification.  Some of the more common reasons on why a pre-approval is necessary involve making sure a credit profile is up to par, making sure your scenario meets lender guidelines, and giving sellers a warm & fuzzy feeling when you walk into their home.  These reasons are

Mortgage preapproval is necessary for the best homebuying experience
Getting a pre-approval is non-negotiable if you’re serious about buying a home, especially in a competitive market.

important, but what about the “perfect” buyers?  The ones with modelesque credit, tremendous income, lots of 0’s on the end of their assets, and an overall profile that has bankers knowing at their doors.  Well, they need a pre-approval, too.  A full and complete one.  But WHY?  We’ll get there.

 

 

The Basics

 

If you’re not pre-approved and you’re not a “perfect” buyer, you’re kind of wasting everyone’s time (we say “kind of” to be kind).  But think of it this way – you’re asking a real estate professional to take time to meet you, learn your wants and needs, and to spend time finding the perfect place for you to call home.  THEN, they’re meeting with you to tour these homes, hear why you don’t think they’re so perfect, and go back to find more listings for you after getting feedback.  Nobody’s complaining, as that’s part of an agent’s job, but would you do all of that with 0 chance of ever seeing a dime of compensation?

 

 

Let’s face it though, you’re a decent person so you probably care about your real estate professional that’s working their butt off for you, but what’s really important is you.  Do you want to go out, fall in love with a certain price range, style of home, or area, only to find out you’ve got no chance at buying, or a few years to go before you’re going to be able to buy?

 

 

In a hot market, the time between putting in an offer and agreeing to close is often one way to gain an advantage in a multiple offer situation.  Even if you CAN get preapproved, there may be some work that can be done along the way to improve your rate and terms – with a short escrow or contract period, you may not have the luxury of that time.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have some extra time to consider these things that could potentially save you thousands of dollars.  With a pre-approval, you’ll have that time.

 

 

If you made it this far and are still thinking “But I’m PERFECT!” this next one’s for you:

 

 

Let’s say you’re in a hot market and are working with an agent that’s agreed to show you homes sans pre-approval.  You find THE ONE.  This home is nearly as perfect a house as you are a buyer.  The listing agent demands a pre-approval letter when an offer is submitted.  “No problem” you think, and you call your Mason Mac loan officer to work on the pre-approval.  Your loan officer gets back to you in what seems like no time at all, your agent gets ready to send over your offer, annnnd just like that, it’s gone.  While you were getting your pre-approval, someone (less perfect of a buyer, no doubt) came through with the pre-approval they obtained before they looked at the home, and made the seller an offer they couldn’t refuse (even if the offer was less desirable than yours may have been).   You just lost the home of your dreams because you didn’t have a pre-approval.

 

The Bottom Line

 

A full pre-approval protects everyone – your lender, sellers, your buyers agent, and most importantly – you.  Is it an inconvenience?  Not if you’re serious about buying a home.  If anything, it just gives you a head start by providing your lender with documentation they’ll need anyway once you find a home.  If your real intent is to buy a home, a pre-approval prior to looking at homes is a must.  Especially in a hot market, you don’t want to miss out on a chance at your dream home because you don’t have your pre-approval completed.

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Mason Mac Supports Veterans in LA County

Mortgage Lender in Southern CA

This past weekend, Wendy Walker, branch manager of Mason Mac’s Newport Beach/Balboa Island branch and her team represented Mason Mac at the Los Angeles VAREP Veterans Housing summit.  VAREP is the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, a HUD-approved non-profit dedicated to increasing sustainable home ownership, financial literacy, VA loan awareness, and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities.

The LA Veterans Housing Summit event focused on education for veterans with a specific focus on the VA loan program and the home buying process.  Included in the summit was

Veterans Mortgage Loans
Mason Mac is here to serve our veterans and guide them through the VA loan process

information on the importance of good credit, available down payment assistance products, and a summary of the local housing market.

Mason Mac proudly offers the VA loan program throughout the greater LA area (and in all of the markets we serve), with a 2017 VA loan limit up to $636,150 (loan limit varies based on county/area) – Veterans may borrow more than the available market loan limit, however the loan limit caps the amount of money that can be borrower with no down payment for most veterans.

At the VAREP Veterans Housing Summit, Wendy’s team spoke with veterans from all branches of the military, and they were the only non-bank lender in attendance.  Being a non-bank lender, Mason Mac specializes in VA loans with no overlays – that means VA guidelines are our guidelines, and our VA loans are underwritten by our in-house staff of underwriters.

Also on site at the VAREP Summit were local real estate agents focused on helping veterans view inventory of homes in the area that were for sale and of interest to the attending veterans.

The VA loan product is one of the most beneficial loan products available in today’s mortgage market.  For many veterans, here is no down payment requirement, and no monthly mortgage insurance.  Perhaps best of all, rates on VA loans are some of the most competitive across the entire spectrum of mortgage products.  Low rates, no monthly PMI, and a streamlined process make the VA loan a premium product for eligible veterans and their families.

 

Mason Mac offers the VA loan product in every state in which we’re licensed, and the Mason Mac team consists of many VA loan experts that know the product inside and out.  Like Wendy and her team at the LA Veterans Housing Summit, your Mason Mac loan officers are there to educate you and guide you through the process of exploring loan programs, finding the best one for you, and using it to get into your dream home – and if you’re a veteran, the whole process can be very easy and not involve a lot of money.