loans: How to Successfully Get a Mortgage in 2019 - 09/09/19 10:51 AM
 
If you've traveled in an airplane recently, you probably went through a security check at the airport.  These security checks are required by a federal law called the USA Patriot Act.  This very same law has a provision that requires mortgage companies, banks, and financial institutions to document your source of funds when you buy a house or refinance a mortgage.  In short, the US government has recruited mortgage lenders in its fight against terrorism!  In fact, lenders are required by law to ask you for:
The exact source of funds used for your down payment and earnest money deposit. … (1 comments)

loans: Why You're in Danger of Closing Delays (and how to avoid them) - 07/02/19 08:40 AM
  Closing delays are one of the many unintended consequences of recent government regulation.  Mortgage lenders are required to prepare a "Closing Disclosure" and adhere to the timelines illustrated below.  Any last-minute changes to your deal structure could cause delays of up to a week on purchase transactions, and up to two weeks on refinance transactions. Delays can be even longer if your transaction takes place anytime close to a federal holiday.

 
 
 
Here are five things you should consider doing in order to avoid unnecessary delays:
Write a longer timeline into your purchase agreement so that you don't … (2 comments)

loans: Summer 2019 Guide to Mortgage Rates - 06/03/19 09:20 AM
 
Mortgage rates are determined by the supply and demand for mortgage bonds in the bond market.
Why Mortgage Bonds? When you get a mortgage in the US, your mortgage company is getting the money from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other "securitizers". These "securitizers" get their money by issuing bonds to bond market investors.  These bonds are called "mortgage bonds" or "mortgage-backed securities".  Therefore, the mortgage rate you pay is really determined by the supply and demand for mortgage bonds in the bond market.

The Role of the Federal Reserve As you can see from the chart, the Fed owned … (1 comments)

loans: How to Trade-Up (or Down) Using a Reverse Mortgage - 05/28/19 10:37 AM
 
Home prices in many markets have gone up recently.  This is leaving many retirees with sticker shock when it comes to trading up, or even trading down. 
Consider Anna and Olaf who are in the process of selling their $400,000 home.  They’ll be left with net proceeds of approx. $364,000 after paying 9% in sales expenses (transfer taxes, real estate commissions, etc.).  The new house they want to purchase costs $500,000, leaving them $136,000 short.
Option 1: sell or liquidate $136,000 worth of investments or retirement assets. They will need to “gross up” the withdrawal to account for taxes if the … (1 comments)

loans: Two Ways to Be More Strategic with Your Credit - 05/20/19 11:12 AM
 
Your length of credit history looks at how long your accounts have been opened. This has a 15% impact on your score. The longer your accounts have been opened, the higher your score will be; newly opened accounts will bring your score down. Here are three practical steps for you to improve your score in this area:
 
 
Don't close your credit accounts. If you must, close the newest ones instead of the oldest ones. Your score will improve over time if you keep accounts open and use them every once in a while. Think twice before jumping on … (1 comments)

loans: How to Solve Your Negative Equity Problem - 04/08/19 09:18 AM
 
One out of every ten homeowners in America owes more on their mortgages than the value of their homes. You may want to consider the "cash-in mortgage" strategy if you're in that situation. You can use this strategy to reduce your mortgage in order to refinance your loan into a lower payment.  You can also use the strategy to sell the property without having to do a short sale.

Cash-in Mortgage Refinance Using cash to pay down your mortgage may allow you to refinance into a lower interest rate and lower your monthly payments. For example, consider a homeowner who … (1 comments)

loans: How to Successfully Get a Mortgage in 2019 - 04/01/19 09:23 AM
 
If you've traveled in an airplane recently, you probably went through a security check at the airport.  These security checks are required by a federal law called the USA Patriot Act.  This very same law has a provision that requires mortgage companies, banks, and financial institutions to document your source of funds when you buy a house or refinance a mortgage.  In short, the US government has recruited mortgage lenders in its fight against terrorism!  In fact, lenders are required by law to ask you for:
The exact source of funds used for your down payment and earnest money deposit. … (2 comments)

loans: How to Swim With the Sharks (and not get eaten alive!) - 03/25/19 10:49 AM
 
Getting a mortgage today is a lot like swimming in a pool filled with sharks.
My role is to help you navigate these dangerous waters and get you to the other side safely. Here are just a few of the sharks we'll need to watch out for:

Buy-Back Sharks Most mortgages today are sold after the closing to large financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These gigantic companies are in business to make money... a lot of money. These sharks have been under a lot of pressure by the government lately, and they're circling the waters looking for … (1 comments)

loans: 3 Ways to Get Prepared for Home Ownership - 02/25/19 09:20 AM
 
1: Prepare Your Credit Mortgage lenders typically require at least 24 months of good credit history in order for you to qualify for a mortgage.  It's normally a good idea to have a few credit cards, a few installment loans and 24-month history of making rent payments on time.

2: Prepare Your Cash Flow Mortgage lenders typically require less than a 43% debt-to-income ratio in order to qualify for a mortgage.  This means that your total monthly debt payments (including the new mortgage payment) should be no more than 43% of your monthly income.

3: Prepare Your Savings Mortgage lenders typically require … (2 comments)

loans: 3 Ways to Avoid Getting Outbid on Your New Home - 01/14/19 09:14 AM
Bidding for a new home can get pretty fierce in today's market.  Here are three potential solutions to avoid getting outbid on your new home:
Turn in your loan paperwork BEFORE you place an offer.  In many cases, you are bidding against cash buyers who don't need to wait for financing approvals.  Look at it this way:  if you were the seller, would you prefer to do business with a buyer who needs to wait for financing approvals or a cash buyer who can close the deal quickly?  With that in mind, it's important to be proactive and provide your mortgage … (1 comments)

loans: When is Mortgage Interest Tax Deductible? - 01/07/19 08:35 AM
   Contrary to popular belief, mortgage interest is not always tax deductible.  Here's the inside scoop:

1. Do you itemize your tax deductions? You cannot take the mortgage interest deduction if you are taking the standard deduction. In 2018, the standard deduction is $12,000 for single taxpayers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. Please see a CPA for details.

2. Is Your Home a "Qualified Residence"? Mortgage interest is only deductible if the mortgage is attached to a "qualified residence". Taxpayers can generally deduct the mortgage interest on two qualified homes:
One Primary … (2 comments)

loans: How the Fed Impacts Mortgage Rates - 12/17/18 09:36 AM
 
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets at least eight times per year to discuss and vote on US monetary policy. The Fed controls the Fed Funds rate, which is essentially a bank's cost of money. When the Fed increases the Fed Funds rate, short-term interest rates such as the Prime rate and LIBOR go up. These are often used to determine interest rates on adjustable rate mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit card balances, and business loans.
However, interest rates on fixed-rate mortgages are not tied to changes in the Fed Funds rate.  Mortgage rates are determined by the supply and demand for mortgage bonds in … (2 comments)

loans: The Gift Tax Myth: How to Navigate Around It - 11/19/18 04:18 AM
 
Many people aren’t aware of the fact that, in most situations, there really is no gift tax. Here’s why…

  $15,000 Annual Exclusion The federal government gives each of us an allowance to gift anybody $15,000 per year without incurring any gift tax. This $15,000/year replenishes every year, and it’s $15,000 per person. So, theoretically, I could gift every person that I know $15,000 today, and then another $15,000 next year and the year after, and there would be NO gift tax.

$11,180,000 Lifetime Exclusion What most people don’t realize, is that there’s a second allowance of $11.18mm! In other … (1 comments)

loans: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself for a Happier Retirement - 09/17/18 09:11 AM
 
#1: What does retirement mean to me? Many people think of retirement as a time in your life where you can work if you want to, but not because you have to. In other words, how would you feel if you could work for fun and/or pursue your passions without worrying about money? This requires financial independence, or having enough money to:
Cover your needs and basic wants After taxes After inflation For some period of time (usually you and your beloved's lifetime) The amount of money necessary for financial independence is called "Critical Capital". This is a pile of … (2 comments)

loans: 2 Things You Should Know About 529 College Savings Plans - 09/10/18 06:45 AM
   
Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code created a type of college savings plan that known as a “529 Plan”. The 529 plan allows families to:
Invest funds after you’ve paid taxes on them (similar to a Roth IRA) Grow the money tax-free over time (no taxes on dividends or asset appreciation) Withdraw the money tax-free to pay for qualified college expenses. Up to $10,000 per year per student can also be used for tuition at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.  
 
 

#1 – Each State Sponsors its Own 529 Plan(s), But You … (1 comments)

loans: 3 Things You Should Know About Loan Estimates - 07/16/18 06:03 AM
 
Beware! Not all Loan Estimates are created equal. Here are three things you should know about Loan Estimates, where all the closing costs are itemized.

#1 - The Rate quoted to you on Page 1 is not locked... unless the "Yes" box is checked! Mortgage rates are determined by mortgage bond prices in the bond market.  When bond prices go up, mortgage pricing improves and mortgage rates go down.  When bond prices go down, mortgage pricing gets worse and mortgage rates go up.  Bond prices are often volatile, just like stock prices.  The chart below illustrates how mortgage pricing got worse two times … (1 comments)

loans: How Much Does College Cost These Days? - 04/09/18 07:19 AM
According to the College Board, the average total costs (including room and board) for a four-year public in-state school is a whopping $21,447 per year.  That amounts to $85,788 over four years. 
 
Average costs skyrocket to a whopping $42,224 per year for a four-year private education!
The perfect storm here is that college costs have increased dramatically, while state funding for college has declined by similar leaps and bounds over the past several years. That's one reason why it's more important than ever before to consider these costs as you create a mortgage and cash-flow plan for your family.

 
 
 
Let me know … (4 comments)

loans: Home Loans |Union City | Alameda County - 04/15/16 05:43 PM
Rent Payments Can Really Add Up!
No matter how much you pay in rent, you might be surprised what it adds up to over the years. Investing your money is a wiser financial choice. With the current home prices and mortgage rates, this is an excellent time to look into buying your own home in Union City, California.
Common Concerns of Renters and Homeowners - Advantages and Considerations
BUYING
Property builds equity
Responsible for maintenance
Tax deductible mortgage interest*
Responsible for property taxes
Free to change decor and landscaping
Responsible for hazard insurance
Not dependent on landlord to maintain property
RENTING
Landlord is responsiblefor maintenance
No equity gains
Landlord is responsible forproperty taxes
Rent payments are … (0 comments)

loans: Home Loans |San Ramon California | Contra Costa County - 03/04/16 01:52 PM
Rent Payments Can Really Add Up!
No matter how much you pay in rent, you might be surprised what it adds up to over the years. Investing your money is a wiser financial choice. With the current home prices and mortgage rates, this is an excellent time to look into buying your own home in San Ramon , California.
Common Concerns of Renters and Homeowners - Advantages and Considerations
BUYING
Property builds equity
Responsible for maintenance
Tax deductible mortgage interest*
Responsible for property taxes
Free to change decor and landscaping
Responsible for hazard insurance
Not dependent on landlord to maintain property
RENTING
Landlord is responsiblefor maintenance
No equity gains
Landlord is responsible forproperty taxes
Rent payments are … (0 comments)

loans: Home Loans |Pleasant Hill California | Contra Costa County - 02/25/16 06:57 PM
Rent Payments Can Really Add Up!
No matter how much you pay in rent, you might be surprised what it adds up to over the years. Investing your money is a wiser financial choice. With the current home prices and mortgage rates, this is an excellent time to look into buying your own home in Pleasant Hill , California.
Common Concerns of Renters and Homeowners - Advantages and Considerations
BUYING
Property builds equity
Responsible for maintenance
Tax deductible mortgage interest*
Responsible for property taxes
Free to change decor and landscaping
Responsible for hazard insurance
Not dependent on landlord to maintain property
RENTING
Landlord is responsiblefor maintenance
No equity gains
Landlord is responsible forproperty taxes
Rent payments … (0 comments)