Joan Ryder
November 2019
Your #1 Choice For Real EstateTM

Daily News And Advice
Today's Feature Stories

Mortgage Loans: What You Can Do On Your Own and What to Leave to Your Lender

You’d be surprised about how much it takes to get a loan from application status to final approval. There are multiple steps involved and many of these steps can’t be taken unless a previous step has been completed. To help, borrowers can take on some of the load to help streamline the entire process. There are some initial requirements that borrowers must complete without the assistance of anyone else. Applicants are required to complete a loan application. That can be done with the assistance of the loan officer, but most often it’s the sole duty of the borrowers.

Borrowers are also asked to provide certain documentation upfront before the loan gets too much further into the process, like providing paycheck stubs and tax returns, for example. But when it comes to third party services, there are some limitations on what the borrowers can and cannot choose. For certain credit documents, borrowers are not allowed to provide their own credit report. It’s the lender’s job to run credit. That certainly makes sense as to why a borrower can’t provide a separate credit report. The lender orders the credit report as part of the initial package. A credit report and credit scores are one of the first things ordered to see if the loan can be approved as requested.

Lenders provide a Settlement Service Provider List, or SSPL, which lists third party service providers the borrowers can select. Title insurance, for example, is one such service. Lenders can open up title but so too can consumers. Title insurance is indeed insurance and protects interested parties from fraud and previous claims of ownership on the property. States regulate insurance companies so it’s likely that title insurance from one title company to the next will be the same. For areas where the title company also works with a settlement service provider, the title company can also suggest the closing agent. Services that the borrower can order independently of a lender are listed on the initial Loan Estimate.

But the twist with this is the borrower really has no experience selecting one title company over another. Title insurance is a mortgage lender requirement. Lenders order title reports day in and day out. Borrowers rarely, if ever, do. Borrowers can’t order an appraisal. Lenders do that but order an appraisal via an appraisal management company, who then proceeds to order the appraisal from a list of approved appraisers. Borrowers should also choose their own insurance company. Most often it’s the insurance company currently covering other assets such as an automobile policy.

The fact is that while borrowers can choose some third party providers on their own, it’s often best to leave that up to the individual lender. Mortgage loan approvals can have different requirements for different situations and sometimes a full appraisal isn’t even needed. Instead, an automated valuation model is accessed which arrives at an appraised value based upon digital research regarding sales of homes recently sold in the area. It’s the automated approval that dictates whether an automated valuation model, or AVM can be used, or a full appraisal is required.

Lenders establish working relationships with various third party providers. These providers can even hire sales representatives to solicit a lender’s business. While you can order some services on your own, it’s probably best to leave all that to your lender.



The Basics of Down Payment Assistance Programs

Perhaps the single biggest obstacle to home ownership is coming up with enough money for a down payment, closing costs and cash reserves. While some loan programs don’t require a down payment, such as the VA and USDA programs, others do. For example, FHA loans ask for a minimum down payment of just 3.5 percent of the sales price.


Is It a Good Time to Buy a House?

Is it a good time to buy a house? The summer rush is over, mortgage rates are super low, and the job market is strong, leading the Federal Reserve to proclaim that the housing market is the economy’s “bright spot.” 


Five Chic Fall Home Trends

Yes, a menagerie of pumpkins and autumn leaves gathered about speak to the time of year. But that doesn’t mean you have to turn your home into what could pass for a fall festival in order to capture the spirit of the season. Leave the gourds behind and embrace these fall interior design trends for a chic home that oozes fall coziness.  


The Beginner's Guide to House Hacking

The internet loves the word “hack” because it usually means there’s a creative, inexpensive shortcut that solves a common problem. But it also often results in a solution that’s not quite up to par, which is why many investors may have turned a deaf ear to the concept of house hacking. 

In reality, house hacking helps you break into the real estate investment market while also covering your own housing expenses. 

That last part is huge. For most people, their FULL STORY->

Building New? Make Sure Your Preapproval is Ready for Your Permanent Mortgage

For those building a brand new home from the ground up, a construction loan is needed. A construction loan will include funds for both materials and labor but can also include funds for the lot of the borrowers don’t yet own the lot where the property will be located. When preparing to apply for a construction loan, you’ll need to have your plans and specifications ready. These plans will list the materials and provide an approximate amount of the cost of FULL STORY->

Troubleshooting Plumbing Issues

Plumbing issues can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. If you have an idea of what the issue is, there’s a chance you can fix it on your own. Even if you can’t do anything yourself, knowing what the problem could be will let you know what to tell the plumber when you call. Here are some of the common plumbing problems you may encounter and ways to overcome them.

Broken pipes

Orange County, for example, is one of the most densely populated places in America, and it is FULL STORY->

5 Surprising Ways to Invest in Your House

For many people, a home is their largest and most important investment. The good news for people around the country is that housing markets continue to appreciate. After the housing crisis several years ago, home values have increased every year.

With additional equity in their homes, many people are starting to think about investing money back into their home. There are numerous ways that you can improve the value of your home.

Expanded Driveway

One area that many FULL STORY->

The VA Funding Fee Explained

Mortgages that are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs are referred to as the VA loan. While the VA doesn’t actually get involved with any part of an approval, it does issue guidelines that lenders must follow in order to receive the loan guarantee. VA loans are one of three of the government-backed programs, FHA and USDA, which also carry guarantees. Note, these guarantees aren’t guaranteeing the applicant will get an approval, but the lender is guaranteed some compensation for FULL STORY->

Mortgage Rates
Averages as of November 2019:

30 yr. fixed: 3.75%
15 yr. fixed: 3.18%
5/1 yr. adj: 3.4%

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