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Agent Builds Veteran Homebuyer Resources He Wishes He Had
After 10 years of service, three deployments and 500 missions in the U.S. Army, Austin-based REALTOR® Raoul Rowe transitioned to civilian life, earned an IT degree and became a licensed REALTOR®. Today, he's using his personal experience to help more veterans transition back home and succeed in their path to homeownership. "It felt like you finished your military service with a bag of benefits and a simple 'good luck.' There was no one to really fully guide you through critical next steps of transitioning, including buying a home," said Raoul.
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Helping Your Clients Cope with Rising Interest Rates
For the past few years, low interest rates have been a major plus for those looking to purchase real estate. Unfortunately, those interest rates have been and continue to be on the rise. This time last year, interest rates for a 30-year mortgage were around 3.8 percent. Today they're averaging around 4.6 percent. Before long, buyers may start waiting for interest rates to go down before making a move.
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How Can You Use Restricted Stock to Buy a Home?
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Do you have sellers who are stuck? Here's how to set them free.
Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Especially for home sellers who are uncertain if they will be able to qualify for a mortgage and be able to buy again after selling their home. If your clients don't know, they just stay put. The Great Recession threw millions of homeowners underwater, meaning their homes were worth less than the mortgage debt tied to them. The number of seriously underwater1 homeowners has dropped nearly 50 percent in just four years, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Many major metropolitan markets are seeing home prices above their pre-Great Recession highs, and at Opes Advisors, we have access to more lending programs than ever. Since becoming a division of Flagstar Bank, Opes Advisors has become even stronger. The Great Differentiator One of the most significant benefits that Opes Advisors offers real estate agents is something no other lender can offer: our proprietary technology called Opes Advantage™. If an agent has a seller who is "stuck," this is one of the best tools that can help set their client free. Opes Advantage is the first real estate decision technology that fuses mortgage lending services with financial planning. It provides both sellers and buyers with a personal financial model that helps them look at how buying or selling a home fits into their entire financial lifestyle and lifecycle. Only Opes Advisors provides this service, which can be accomplished between 45 to 90 minutes depending on the amount of scenarios and questions your clients have. Our real estate decision analysts can put your client's entire financial life into a model to see the impact of major life decisions before they are made, like buying or selling a home. When sellers go through this process, they gain clarity about their financial future: their "what ifs?" are answered, and they often come out of the process ready to sell, as they now have the information they need. It's not enough to just show your clients a mortgage calculator these days. For example, when they hear that interest rates are going up, they may automatically take themselves out of consideration. They may not realize that a 0.25 percent increase of a loan interest rate is only going to raise their monthly payment typically less than $30 for every $100,000 of the loan amount for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. When your clients can see these numbers in the context of their entire financial picture – not just a number on a mortgage calculator – it puts an interest rate increase in the right perspective. More loan options Once sellers have financial clarity, they also often need a financial strategy to figure out how to move from their current home to their next. Opes Advisors offers one of the broadest range of specialized products as a mortgage banker and direct lender. We can also broker loans which offer even more options to help sellers make their next move. From bridge loans and home equity solutions to creative approaches, Opes Advisors can help clients turn analysis into action with a conviction to act and have peace of mind about their real estate decisions. Sellers become buyers Most lenders don't spend a lot of time focusing their energy on serving sellers. They focus on serving buyers instead. There are two ways real estate agents benefit from the extra service that Opes Advisors provides focusing on sellers and helping them get "unstuck." First, using Opes Advantage, we help drive new business to real estate agents by providing transparent information that sellers need. Second, the vast majority of sellers become buyers immediately, and that means more business for real estate agents. That's what teamwork is about and why so many real estate agents are rethinking their relationships with plain vanilla lenders. They are looking for a local lender who can do more and offer more, and that's why Opes Advisors is becoming their first choice. 1 A loan is considered to be underwater when the total loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property's estimated market value. Sheila McGinn is a Real Estate Decision Analyst for Opes Advisors, A Division of Flagstar Bank.      
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Getting to Yes: Why More Agents Are Turning to Opes Advisors
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Not All Loans Are Condo Loans
Becoming a condo owner can offer many benefits, from enjoying common amenities to being part of a community with no yard to mow or weeds to pull, and security often is provided. A condominium lifestyle can be great, especially for those looking to simplify their housing. However, financing a condo can be a little more complex, because not all loans are available for all condo complexes. That's because condos as a property type are different. There are different loan and qualifying rules to take into consideration, and characteristics that are unique to condos. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide lenders with specific condo lending guidelines that include what they require from the homeowners association, insurance coverage, the percentage of units that may be rentals, the amount of the complex that may be retail space, and other restrictions. That's why financing a condominium can be more complicated than buying a single-family home. It's also why real estate agents need to work with a mortgage advisor who understands the local condo market, the complexities of condo lending, and how to avoid the gotchas. The key is this: there are many factors that can impact the ability to finance a condo that need to be considered before making an offer. Getting Financed One thing that real estate agents sometimes forget is that they may have the world's most qualified buyer, but that buyer may not be able to get a condo loan on the unit they want to buy. How can that be? Because the lender doesn't just look at the financial health of the buyer, they also look at the financial health of the property. The good news is an experienced mortgage advisor who knows the local condo market knows which condo complexes are more likely to be harder to get financing, which currently won't qualify for any conventional financing, and which are likely to be as easy to finance as any mortgage on a single-family detached home. Limited Review or Full Review When a mortgage advisor runs a borrower approval on a loan application for a condo, in the notes for the findings, it will specify if the condo complex requires a limited review, which means far less documentation, or a full review, which requires a lot more documentation. With a limited review, the only paperwork that's required is a condo questionnaire, the CC&Rs (conditions, covenants and restrictions), the homeowners' association (HOA) bylaws, the HOA budget that shows the reserves, and a copy of the current Certificate of Insurance. Then as long as the condo meets the basic Fannie Mae guidelines – that owner-occupancy is at least at 50 percent in the complex, that the total commercial or retail space is less than 25 percent, that no single entity owns more than 10 percent of the units, and that they are budgeting for at least 10 percent for reserves – this will all be a straightforward review process for the underwriter, who will sign off on the questionnaire and the condo itself. A full review can take much longer, but in both cases, Fannie and Freddie are simply trying to protect both the borrower and the investor (the entity that purchases the loan) to make sure the condo complex is stable and endures. Teamwork It's important to make sure clients avoid falling in love with a new condo before they discover they can't finance it. Give them the advice to talk to their lender first – before they begin their condo search. Encourage them to seek out someone like Opes Advisors who has experienced mortgage advisors, who know condo lending and know their local condo markets. Good mortgage advisors want to help you ensure that your clients don't waste time shopping for properties that they won't be able to buy. About the Author Scott Chase is Regional Director for Opes Advisors, A Division of Flagstar Bank. With over 15 years in the financial services industry, he is responsible for the acquisition, retention, and expansion of sales for the Bay Area, Central Valley and Southern California. Additionally Scott leads, coaches, and supports sales activities to promote sales. For more information he can be reached at 650.543.8008 or [email protected]        
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Busting Millennial Home Buying Myths
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5 Things You Should Know About VA Loans
Holidays like Veteran's Day and Memorial Day bring the dedicated service men and women protecting our country front and center in our minds. Their bravery and sacrifice grant us the security and freedom we enjoy daily, and with November 11, Veteran's day, fast approaching, now is a great time to refresh your knowledge of VA loans and possibly even expand into a new niche market. Here are five things you may not know about VA loans.
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More than a 'Doctor Loan,' Opes Advisors Intros New Home Financing for Professionals
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If Interest Rates Rise, How Can It Be the Best Time to Buy?
The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates twice so far this year and, according to a survey by the Wall Street Journal, will possibly do so one more time this year. With conventional wisdom believing that interest rates could head higher, how can it be the best time to buy a home? Impact on mortgage rates The first thing to look at is what has happened to mortgage interest rates since the last time the Fed increased the Federal Fund Rate in March, from 0.75 to 1.00 percent. Mortgage interest rates have actually dropped, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. The Fed interest rate hike was announced on March 15. On March 16, Freddie Mac announced the 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage was 4.30 percent and the 15-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage was 3.50 percent. On March 23, the rate dropped to 4.23 percent for the 30-Year and 3.44 percent for the 15-Year. The next week, on April 6, the rates dropped again to 4.10 percent and 3.36 percent for the 30- and 15-year mortgages respectively, and they have continued on this trend. The Federal Reserve does not control mortgage rates. They control the Federal Funds Rate and that is the interest rate that banks pay to lend money to each other, not to you and me. There is no direct cause and effect to what the Fed does with 30- and 15-year fixed mortgage rates, except to their tapering of their balance sheet repurchases. And on this front, we do not believe they will do anything to disrupt the housing market. Rates have gone relatively "sideways" since January, and that makes the affordability of rates even more important to consider. What historically low means: better affordability When you hear the phrase "mortgage interest rates remain historically low," the problem is that 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rates have been below 5 percent for so long, we forget that people were buying homes with 13 percent interest rates in the 1980s; 10 percent interest rates in the 1990s and 8 percent interest rates in the 2000s. When we compare interest rates today with interest rates and mortgage payments historically, we forget to consider the impact of inflation. As we have shared before, when you look at mortgage payments today, and you make the adjustments for inflation, we are paying 20 percent less than we did for a mortgage in 1989. Compared to when housing prices peaked in the summer of 2007, we are paying 35 percent less in mortgage payments today than we did then. Trying to catch a falling knife There's a phrase in the financial services business that describe the behavior of customers who try to wait for interest rates to drop to their lowest levels to lock in the lowest rate possible: "It's like trying to catch a falling knife: it's nearly impossible to do without getting hurt." More importantly, it really is unnecessary when you consider what happens when mortgage rates rise – they can jump, and jump quickly. The fact is that no one can predict when mortgage rates rise and the best advice to any customer is if you like the interest rate, lock it in and know you will have obtained one of the lowest historical rates in the history of the world. Interest rates move up and down within a range, or are "range-bound," and most economists predict, barring an unplanned economic disaster, that interest rates are likely to stay within a range that fall below the 5 percent threshold, but if you are waiting to buy, both real estate agents and mortgage advisors will tell you from experience: don't wait if you can afford the purchase and it serves your family's concerns. When mortgage rates do rise, they do tend to jump up to a new range, as they did after the election in November. When you think about the impact higher mortgage rates can have on your purchasing decision, it can be a bigger motivator to act now versus waiting. Buying a $500,000 home with a 20 percent down payment and with a mortgage at 6 percent versus a mortgage at 4 percent means paying 61 percent more in total interest payments. So when you see interest rates still remaining under 5 percent today, even with interest rates rising, relative to historical rates, buying now is clearly the best time to buy. Susan McHan, as President of Distributed Retail Mortgage Division at Opes Advisors, a Division of Flagstar Bank, is bringing to fruition her lifelong journey of helping people make the most effective financial decisions to support their current lifestyle and prepare for a satisfying future.        
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What NOT to Do When Buying a Home
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Don't let your customers hit the ‘pause’ button because of a rise in mortgage rates
When mortgage rates rise, the instant reaction among real estate professionals can often be a concern that the housing market is going to take a pause. Yet, the true impact of the most recent increase in mortgage rates won't prevent the vast majority of today's home buyers from qualifying for a mortgage. Real estate agents and mortgage advisors can help buyers avoid hitting the pause button by educating their clients on what an increase in mortgage rates really means. Let's put today's mortgage rates into perspective with four important facts. First, mortgage rates are lower today than they ever were from 1971, when Freddie Mac first started reporting on mortgage rates, until 2011 (see chart). In fact, when you look at mortgage payments, we pay 20 percent less than we did in 1989 for a mortgage, adjusted for inflation. And compared with the peak in housing prices in July 2007, we are paying 35 percent less in mortgage payments today than we did then. It's important to remember that we are still paying less for our mortgages today. Second, a half point increase in a mortgage interest rate is less than $30 a month more for every $100,000 borrowed. Third, history tells us that mortgage interest rates are really never static. In fact, mortgage interest rates over the last 28 years have remained "range-bound." When interest rates move higher or lower, they tend to move up and down within a range. Interest rates don't just increase and stay there – and that's another reason why it's really impossible to "catch" the lowest interest rate. Fourth, over the last 200 years, U.S. interest rates have a historical average of 5.18 percent. Calming the emotional reaction It's human nature to fear the unknown. Not knowing the whole story is one of the reasons why some home buyers take a pause when they hear mortgage rates are going up. Without an understanding of what an increase in mortgage rates really means to them, they are more likely to make an assumption that simply isn't relevant to their particular situation. Home buyers may hear only one side of the story on the news – that mortgage rates have increased – and what they will see is a worse-case scenario: a very small number of first-time home buyers who were barely able to qualify before now can't because of a rise in rates. However for the vast majority of people shopping for a home, rates are so low and so attractive that even with the increase, mortgage rates remain in the lowest range they have ever been. Information produces confidence We will continually do our best at educating home buyers, potential home buyers and sellers about the real impact of a rise in mortgage rates and that mortgage rates are range-bound, and still remain within the lowest range ever. In your marketplace, you can use your highly valued expertise to help shape the views of your clients by educating them about mortgage rates, so they can move forward confidently. One of the ways to help your buyers avoid hitting the pause button. Susan McHan is one of the most influential executives in the mortgage industry as co-founder, CEO, and President of Mortgage Banking at Opes Advisors, a Top 25 mortgage banking and investment management firm, known for its invention of the industry's first real estate decision technology Opes Advantage.
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CFPB Fines Real Estate Company: Do Agents Need to Worry?
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A new way to look at the mortgage preapproval process
On any given day, people make important decisions that impact their personal financial lives, whether it's large purchases, stock investments, managing debt, or saving for long term goals like retirement. However, one of the most important financial decisions with the farthest-reaching consequences for a family's financial future is buying a home and determining the amount of home purchasing power they have and the mortgage to support this decision. The irony is while people often will spend a dozen hours or more researching a stock investment of a few thousand dollars, or maybe looking at mortgage rates online, but not the amount of purchase power they have and what that means to their financial situation. And this is often the biggest financial commitment people make. The problem today is that many consumers think of a mortgage as simply a financial tool that helps them finance their homes and not as a key component of their financial future. Compounding this problem is that much of the financial services industry approaches mortgages the same way. But at Opes Advisors we see things differently. Entering the mortgage process is part of one's real estate decision, which it is a very complex financial puzzle that is different for every person, based not just on their current needs, but their lifetime goals and plans. That's why at Opes Advisors, we see real estate decision-making as a key component of each family's financial future. Asking the right questions Today's housing market is complex and changing rapidly, both buyers and sellers know it. Currently, more than 70 percent of adults believe that now is a good time to buy a home and 43 percent believe that strongly, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. With rising rents, rising rates, appreciating home prices yet still historically low mortgage rates, homeownership continues to be attractive for the long term. Importantly, first-time buyers accounted for 34 percent of all home sales in June, up more than 30 percent since May and the highest in over four years, the NAR says. But is this trend reversing, are people more afraid today than even three months ago? Unfortunately, home buyers may be asking the wrong questions. Before determining if you can afford a home, each buyer should ask, "In light of my personal financial situation and my long-term financial goals, is now the best time for me? If so, what works best for me today and tomorrow?" Again, the decision to buy a home and finance a mortgage is not a one-size-fits-all answer. Leveraging Mortgage + Tech + Advice We choose to look at the mortgage as part of the real estate decision process, because it is a vital piece of one's overall financial strategy. That's why we created Opes Advantage, a revolutionary technology invented in Silicon Valley. It is the first real estate decision technology to fuse mortgage lending services with financial advice. Opes Advantage provides clients with a personal financial analysis that empowers more effective life decisions, such as buying a home, which is one of the most important financial decisions people make. Powered by Opes Advantage, our new mobile app (called OpesView™) helps home shoppers see the future financial impact of buying a house at different price points before they make an offer. How much the bank approved is important, yet more important is how a home loan can affect one's lifestyle. In a matter of 45 minutes, working with one of our Series 65-Registered Advisors, home buyers get to see the future of owning their new home inside their long term financial concerns. Working with Opes Advisors, people get to imagine different possibilities of things that might happen in their future and how they will impact their finances – 5, 10, 20 years down the road. This unique process, only available from Opes Advisors, helps people discover what matters for their financial lives, for all times in life, and allows them to move forward confidently. Why does a new approach to mortgage matter to real estate agents? Many home buyers struggle unknowingly with financial uncertainty, and it's not limited to first time home buyers. Real estate agents often recognize the signs of this condition – looking within a wide range of home prices, unsure of how much they can bid on a new home and difficulty in making a real estate decision. Just because the bank qualified them for a loan, doesn't mean buyers are comfortable with the amount or understand how the financing affects their lifestyle. By contrast, home buyers who get to see the long-term impact of their home purchase – and its financing – on their own financial future are settled in their real estate decision and better prepared to act. For real estate agents, a confident home buyer also has peace of mind after the closing, and is more likely to use their services again or make referrals.
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Mortgage + Tech + Advice: A better path for homeowners
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Summer School: 3 Online Training Opportunities for Real Estate Agents
The kids may be out of school, but class is still in session for agents who want to gain new skills this summer. Just this week, we learned of three new educational opportunities in areas like listing photography and social media. All options are offered online, too, which means that you can work through them at your own pace while powering through the busy season. Here's a quick rundown of each: #GetSocialSmart Academy For years, Katie Lance has been real estate's go-to guru on all things social media. It's likely you've heard her share her knowledge on stage at real estate conferences, or read her name in any number of industry publications. On Tuesday, Lance launched her latest knowledge sharing venture, the #GetSocialSmart Academy. It's a web-based "learning portal" featuring social media training videos, downloadable materials, and live webinars. The content is based on Lance's 6-week coaching program, and covers topics like content strategy, blogging, Facebook advertising, Instagram, Pinterest, video marketing, livestreaming, LinkedIn, Twitter, and beyond. Until June 30, Academy membership is available at a deeply discounted "early bird" rate. Check out GetSocialSmart.com to learn more. Looking for similar training opportunities? Check out The Paperless Agent and/or their Real Estate Digital Marketer (REDM) certification course.
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[Infographic] 5 Down Payment Myths Debunked
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Boost Customer Service by Being an Expert on the Mortgage Process
Ah, real estate school: That time you spent reading or listening to what seemed like endless hours of lectures. And what did you learn about actually listing and selling real estate? Not much. Sure, you walked away from the experience knowing – without a doubt – that there are 43,560 square feet in an acre. But how to work with first-time buyers or how to determine the market value of a home? These things aren't covered in licensing classes. New agents are then cut loose to work with consumers with whatever real estate training their brokers provide. It's a safe bet that not much, if any, of that training has to do with the mortgage process. To many agents, the mortgage process remains completely foreign and they depend on the lender to explain the process to their clients. But agents who do their homework and learn the ins and outs of the mortgage process will not only be able to share valuable information with clients, they will also provide a service that will win referrals and take their business to the next level. Add Value for Your Clients Value is a popular buzzword in the real estate industry lately – how to bring value to the process and how to prove your value is top-of-mind with many agents. It's all about maximizing the value-added services that you bring to the table that few other agents can. Let's face it, it's not always easy to find ways to differentiate yourself from other agents. One of the best ways is by providing stellar customer service. What you think defines "customer service," however, and the definition your client gives may be two different things.
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Why You Should Call Your Credit-Challenged Prospects Now
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Down Payment Information is a Marketing Opportunity
We've all heard it before--content is king when it comes to building a successful online presence. It's not just any content, though. The information you share has to rise above the typical noise on social media, websites, and other channels. What you share, above all, must be useful. What's "useful" to today's homebuyer? Let's turn to recent statistics to find out. According to NAR's 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 12 percent of all buyers overall cite that saving for a down payment is difficult. This difficulty is far greater for first-time buyers who lack existing equity to roll into a down payment. Would-be buyers who are unaware that programs exist to help them with their down payment may well sideline their dreams of owning a home. By sharing vital information on down payment assistance programs, agents can convert those sidelined prospects into home owners. Down Payment Resource (DPR) is a powerful tool agents can use to do just that. DPR integrates with your MLS to provide information about down payment assistance programs in your area. It takes active residential listings and processes them against a database of all the programs that exist in a market. It then matches the properties that are eligible, based on location and list price, to all of the programs for which it would qualify. Down Payment Resource isn't just an aggregator of information--it can also act as a valuable marketing partner. Two-thirds of agents say that with DPR they are able to convert sidelined prospects into qualified homebuyers. The following easy-to-use tools can help agents capture more of these consumers and increase their chances of homeownership.
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Is Your Website Serving the Needs of Tomorrow’s First-Time Buyer?
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3 Final Down Payment Assistance Myths Debunked
This is the final installment in a series of articles that debunks common down payment assistance myths. Read the first and second articles here. Myths are hard to combat. They can be ingrained over a number of years and deeply held. Sometimes it's only out of necessity and changing times that the truth is embraced. Consider that the August REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey (released Sept. 23) weakened slightly due to concerns about the prospect of further increases in interest rates and the continued difficulties in accessing mortgage financing. We believe it's time to look at how down payment assistance can play a part in helping more buyers gain the mortgage financing they need. Drum roll please...we debunk our final three surprisingly common myths about down payment assistance. 8. Down payment assistance dollars are never forgiven In any given market, there are a variety of programs, including some that defer payments or interest and others that offer a grant or forgivable loan. First, it's important to understand how programs work. Nearly every down payment assistance program creates a lien on the financed property, just like the first mortgage. Homebuyer programs take a subordinate second or even third lien position. But not all programs – typically grants – have to be repaid, and those that do will back-load that obligation, waive interest, defer payments, and provide a unique upfront buying power and opportunity for homebuyers.
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4 Ways to Help Buyers Prepare for Higher Mortgage Rates
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Friday Freebie: Download a Free eBook from Down Payment Resource
Did you know that you can leverage down payment assistance programs to simultaneously help homebuyers and market your listings better? If you're not sure where to start, Down Payment Resource is offering a free eBook to educate real estate professionals about these programs. Free eBook on Down Payment Assistance Programs Research shows that saving for a down payment is the number one obstacle to homeownership. Many would-be homebuyers, however, are unaware of the millions of dollars available to them via assistance programs. Unfortunately, many agents aren't aware of these programs, either. If they were, they'd realize that down payment assistance is a powerful way to create new opportunities for homeownership--and potential new clients. Down Payment Resource has created a free eBook to help real estate professionals learn more about today's buyers, down payment assistance programs, and how access to information about these programs can help qualified homebuyers and the collective market. In this eBook, you will learn: How assistance programs can help you create new customers The three most common homebuyer assistance programs FHA loans and down payment assistance programs can work together Common down payment assistance myths How Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) can help sidelined homebuyers And more! Click here to download your free eBook!
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Product Review: Down Payment Resource
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Three More Down Payment Assistance Myths Debunked
Guest contributor Down Payment Resource says: Preconceived ideas often keep us from investigating further. In the case of down payment assistance, myths like "it's only for first-time homebuyers" and "it's difficult to qualify" prevent potential buyers from exploring all viable paths to homeownership. According to the 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey, more renters are now thinking about purchasing a home, up from 25 percent to 36 percent. Many of these renters have the income and credit qualifications to buy a home, but simply need to overcome the down payment hurdle. Too often, long held myths about homebuyer programs hold them back. We debunk three more surprisingly common myths about down payment assistance. Don't miss our first installment where we debunked Myths #1 - 4. Myth #5: Down payment assistance is only for inexpensive homes Many people focus on the word "assistance" in down payment assistance, believing it is only for narrowly defined homebuyers and "targeted" neighborhoods of very inexpensive homes. In fact, homes in any neighborhood may be eligible with sales price limits typically ranging from $200,000 to over $700,000 in high-cost markets. On average, 70% of all homes for sale are eligible for one or more programs. Some homebuyer programs can have income limits of up to 120% AMI and higher, which can amount to well over six-figure incomes in countless markets across the country. In addition, some may offer tiered assistance dollars at varying income levels so higher incomes might yield lower assistance amounts, but higher income isn't an automatic disqualifier. Income limits are almost always based on household size, so limits for a family of five are significantly higher than for a single person.
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Mortgage Calculators: Qualify Leads and Save Time
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4 Common Down Payment Assistance Program Myths Debunked
Today's homebuyers are doing significant online research before beginning their home buying search, yet there are still many misconceptions about home financing and down payment assistance programs. Home prices, along with down payments, are increasing, and assistance programs can help make buying a home as affordable as possible. Are these common myths keeping you from investigating homebuyer assistance options? Myth #1: Down payment assistance programs are only for first-time homebuyers. First-time homebuyers are defined as someone who has not owned a home in three years. And, not all programs specify that you must be a first-time homebuyer. It's important to know that assistance programs are for homebuyers, not investors. Most housing agencies will require that the home is occupied as a primary residence in order to qualify. In addition, homebuyers purchasing a home in a designated target area (typically for revitalization efforts) may receive special benefits such as higher assistance amounts, more lenient income requirements and the first-time homebuyer requirement may be waived. Veterans are often eligible for a first-time homebuyer waiver, too! Myth #2: Assistance programs are no longer funded. There are many public and private-funded programs available. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in down payment assistance, tax credits, affordable fixed-rate mortgages and rehab loans available throughout the country.
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How to Make Loan Pre-approvals Work in Your Favor
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How the FTC MAP Ruling Impacts You
Guest contributor RatePlug says: In August of 2011, the Federal Trade Commission passed new regulations, referred to as "MAP," that directly affect the real estate industry. What exactly does MAP stand for? More Annoying Paperwork? Sounds like a bowl of alphabet soup! Our government has a way of using acronyms for just about everything, which really gives the public no clue as to what really is being passed. The Mortgage Acts and Practices (MAP) regulations were enacted to regulate unfair or deceptive advertising of mortgage products by anyone involved in a real estate transaction. This includes builders, mortgage brokers, lenders, and real estate professionals like you! Ask yourself the following four questions to see how the MAP ruling impacts your day-to-day business practices: Do you provide your clients ANY mortgage related information (flyers, rate information, etc.) to assist them in the buying process? Does your marketing collateral or website have any misleading mortgage tools or statements? Do you provide a relationship disclosure on ALL mortgage related advertising? Do you maintain archived records for two years on all mortgage information provided to your clients? Are those records retrievable by date, agents involved, and property address?
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