Category Archives: Uncategorized

Coming July 10, 2017: Tax Liens, Judgments Removed from Credit Reports, per New Federal Law

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A new federal law requires the credit bureaus (also called credit reporting agencies or CRAs) to remove tax liens and judgments from credit reports if they do not include the proper information identifying them to the individual.

It is estimated that 60% of tax lien information will be removed from credit reports and ALL civil judgment records will be removed!

A release from TransUnion gives some insight about what to expect:

  • Based on feedback, most Bankruptcy information will meet the minimum reporting requirements, so don’t expect those to go away.
  • The new standards will apply to both new and existing public record data.
  • Minimum identifier data required: Name, Address, Social Security # and/or Date of Birth
  • Minimum frequency courthouse visits to obtain newly filed data: 90 Days

When it will roll out: During the week of July 10, 2017, the CRAs will remove from their databases previously collected public record data that does not meet the enhanced standards.

Please pass on/share this news, because it will give a lot of folks new hope that they are not forever stuck in bad credit.

Many thanks to Credit Repair Resources, Inc. for this information. benjamin@crr760.com

 

Which Mortgage Loan is Better? Which Would You Choose?

Real life scenario. Which loan would you choose?

A young married couple was buying their first home. They compared two offers. One from a credit union they were members of; the other from a full service mortgage company where they knew the loan officer to be honest and ethical.

Both loans had the same interest rate.

The credit union had two lender fees = $96

The full service mortgage lender had one flat lender fee = $1,395

Title, escrow, recording, property taxes, insurance would be the same with either lender.

After one week, the credit union had not yet responded to their online application or phone messages.

The full service mortgage lender responded with a phone call within the hour and followed up with an email the next day.

Which of these lenders would you choose?

The young couple chose the credit union. As the wife said, “We were both members before we were married, and we love our credit union.” They also wanted to save money on the lender fee.

What Happened

It took several more weeks of making more phone calls leaving messages to get the credit union to respond. By the time an application-taker got back to them, the interest rate they saw online had gone up. Nevertheless, they proceeded.

Six months and ten days later, the loan finally closed. In the meantime, interest rates had gone up even more. They had to pay five more months’ rent than they would have with a 30-day closing.

If they had locked with the full service mortgage lender, they would be making a smaller monthly  payment every month for the life of the loan, and that would have quickly made up for the higher lender fee.

What’s more, they would not have gone through the extra stress and anxiety. In the end, the wife said to me, “We hate the credit union!”

There’s More to the Story!

But it gets worse. Shortly after closing, the credit union sold their loan to a national mortgage company that they dislike and don’t want to do business with. So they didn’t end up getting their beloved credit union as their loan servicer anyway.

I have a friend who is a waiter at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. He says, “If you want a great steak, go to a steak house. That’s our specialty.” In agreement with this principle, I say, “If you want a great mortgage loan, go to a full service mortgage company, not to a lender that specializes in checking and savings accounts, car loans, boat loans, signature loans, and throws in some mortgages to the mix.”

Thank you for reading my blog. I welcome your comments (top of the column to comment) and appreciate your social media shares.

 

Seven Facts About Getting a FHA Loan with Imperfect Credit

If you would like to become a home owner but know (or fear) that your credit will not qualify, here are some facts about getting an Federal Housing Admin (FHA) loan:

  1. Perfect credit is not required, but lenders prefer to see that you have been paying creditors on time for the past 12 months. That shows you have put difficulties of the past behind you and are now on track with your finances.
  2. You can get approved 24 months after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is discharged.
  3. Medical collections can be ignored, because they are too often the fault of the insurance companies.
  4. Other collections, up to a total of $2,000, can be ignored.
  5. The down payment is 3.5 percent of the purchase price. If you don’t have the cash but have family who is willing to help with either a gift or a loan, that is allowed.
  6. Closing costs may be paid by you, by a family gift, or by the seller. Or, the lender can credit you toward closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate.
  7. Most lenders require that your middle credit score is 580 or 600, depending on how strict they are.

Where Do You Get a FHA Loan?

You get a FHA loan through a mortgage lender. I recommend going to a full-service mortgage lender, because they have more options than a bank or credit union, often close faster, and because I work for a full-service mortgage lender and think they are the best!

What If Your Credit Doesn’t Qualify?

If your credit score is too low or if you have credit blemishes that need to be repaired, may I suggest a handy do-it-yourself guide that won’t cost you an arm-and-a-leg? Credit repair is legal and good folks are doing it and becoming home owners. For example, I am closing a loan for a lovely couple who got tired of paying high rent and will now own a three-bedroom home that includes a big garage with a workout room and half bath — with a smaller monthly payment than their rent. To check out the credit guide, click here.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to subscribe (see top right) and pass this info along via social media, because a lot of people think their credit is not good enough to buy a home when it is! Perfect credit is not required for home ownership!

 

Get a Cost Estimate For a Mortgage (the Good Faith Estimate is discontinued)

You have the legal right to see the price of a mortgage before providing any personal information or having your credit report pulled. Some shady loan officers are trying to get people to commit to them before providing a cost estimate — and that is ILLEGAL.

Recently, I heard from two different book readers in two different states about loan officers who tried pulling tricks. I share their stories with you so that you won’t fall prey.

Loan Officer Asks For Money Upfront — Illegal!

When the home buyer asked for a cost estimate (the Good Faith Estimate has been retired), the loan officer pressured her for her credit card information. He refused to take any of her criteria (loan amount desired, etc.) or let her make an application until she paid for an appraisal report with her credit card. “I want a commitment from you first,” he said.

This is illegal, and the home buyer is filing a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau against this large national direct lender.

Loan Officer Sidesteps Questions with the Runaround

Another home buyer had a different kind of trouble when she asked for an upfront estimate.

The loan officer said, “How can I give you an estimate when we don’t have a specific house, specific loan amount, and I don’t know which lender I am going to choose?”

The home buyer then asked what the lender fees would be.

“I don’t know, because I don’t know which lender I will broker out to,” she (dishonestly) replied.

This unprofessional individual was recommended by the real estate agent. Here’s a valuable tip: do not choose your mortgage advocate by who the agent is friends with. You make your own choice.

My Response

First, the loan officer should give an estimate for the maximum home price the buyer may want. No address is needed at this point.

Second, the loan officer knows the lender fees and should provide the figures when asked.

What You Can Do

If you encounter this type of nonsense, walk away. Don’t reward a dishonest shark with your business. Loan officers are paid on commission, so when you walk away, it makes a big impact. There are plenty of good, ethical mortgage professionals who are state licensed and trustworthy.

You can also file a complaint with the CFPB. I would not advise filing against someone who gives you the runaround, but if a loan officer asks for any type of payment (including collecting your credit card info) before providing you with complete disclosures, that is a violation of federal lending law — and therefore, that person and the company they work for should face consequences.

No More Good Faith Estimate

The GFE has been replaced with a different form: Cost Estimate, Fees Worksheet, Cost Worksheet, whatever they want to call it. Ask for a Cost Estimate and an ethical, honest loan officer will provide you with the information you need on the form their company uses. We don’t care what title they put at the top of the page: the information you need about the loan is there. (Do not ask for the Loan Estimate. That comes later with your disclosure package after you have a purchase contract.)

No one would think of putting money down on a car without first seeing the price tag. The same applies to a mortgage. You have the right to see the terms of the loan before making a commitment.

If you would like my help, I am state licensed (NMLS 1284134) in California and Washington.

 

 

 

More Down Payment Help For Home Buyers

FHA has rolled out a new option for home buyers who need help obtaining a down payment. Now, for the first time, a family member can loan you the money. Previously, all funds coming from family had to be a gift with no payback required. Not all families are in a position to give funds, but some could make a loan, so this is good news.

What You Need to Know

The loan must be disclosed right up front on the loan application, but don’t worry about the paperwork. Simply tell your loan officer and he/she will input it properly for you.

The loan is recorded with the County Recorder’s Office, just as any official house loan would be. Your closing agent (escrow company or closing attorney, depending on your state) can guide you.

The down payment on an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan is 3.5 percent of the purchase price. On a $200,000 house, that would be $7,000 down payment.

The house or condo must be your primary residence. You cannot use an FHA loan for a vacation/second home nor for a rental property.

You do not need to be a first-time home buyer. Second time buying a home, third time, it doesn’t matter.

Don’t Forget Closing Costs

In addition to the down payment, there are closing costs. Such as, lender fees, credit report, appraisal report, title insurance, escrow/settlement fee, and prepaid costs (property taxes, home owner’s insurance, prepaid interest). You can pay these or the seller can pay the closing costs, if it is designated on your purchase contract. Or, the lender can give you a credit toward closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate.

Credit Score Required For an FHA Loan

Each lender has its own rules for the credit score required for an FHA loan. Typically, that ranges from 580 to 600 as the minimum. If you can boost your score to at least 620, you will get a better interest rate and lower monthly payment.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy must be discharged for 24 months. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy must have been paid on time, per the arrangements made by the court.

FHA likes to see on-time payments for the past 12 months. If you’re going to be a home owner, you should be able to demonstrate that you’ve been on-track with your finances for one year. That’s reasonable.

Thank you for reading my blog. Subscribe if you want the weekly posts to come to your email.

Original House, No Updates, No Staging: Will It Sell?

This home owner said phooey on updates and upgrades. She placed her home for sale in its original condition. You might call it charmingly outdated.

An old ceiling fan. Ugly wallpaper. And what’s with the furniture lined up all around the walls?

The outside, while tidy, doesn’t exactly look professionally landscaped, either.

So what happened? Did the house receive any attention from buyers? Did it go for a decent price?

Four people bid on the home. It sold for $375,000 above asking price at $2,575,000.

Evidently, the home is in a hot location! But still, the point remains: a house doesn’t have to be all decked out with granite counter tops and hardwood floors in order to sell. Neat, clean, and vintage also works.

Interesting, right?

Cash is Not Allowed For Your Down Payment

Do you keep cash in a safe or other hidden place inside your home? If so, this is a big heads-up! You need to get that money into a bank account immediately and then wait for three months before you can use that money for a down payment.

“Everyone takes cash” — right? NO.

A mortgage lender needs to see two months’ bank statements showing the money in your account belonging to you. If there is a large deposit into your account, that deposit needs to be traced with paperwork. That is why you will need that third month for the money to season in your account: so the deposit doesn’t show on your bank statements.

Down payment money must be sourced. If you cannot document it with paper, you cannot use it. A signed letter does not count. Why? Because anybody can say anything in a letter–writing it down doesn’t necessarily make it true. A photograph of money hiding under your mattress doesn’t count, either. Why? Because you could have taken a cash advance on your credit card and then stashed the money under your bed. Or in your home safe. That would be borrowed money from a credit card company, which is not allowed.

You must officially document your down payment money.

If you sold a vehicle, you can use that money for your down payment as long as you provide the Bill of Sale, the receipt showing the cash being deposited into your account, and a bank statement showing the cash in there. But beware! The dollar amount of the Bill of Sale and the deposit slip must match exactly, so you cannot keep out some money for shopping.

If you want to use your tax return for the down payment, you must provide a copy of your tax returns showing the refund owed and then the deposit receipt for the exact same amount and a bank statement showing the money in.

If you want to use gift money from your mother, you must provide your mother’s bank statement showing she owned the gift money as well as have her sign a form gift letter from your mortgage lender. Why? Because your mother cannot take out a cash advance on her card for your down payment. She must show “ability to give” with a bank statement.

You get the idea. The documentation needs to come from a legal source and cannot be something someone wrote up and had a friend notarize the signature on; nor can it be a sneaky side loan.

With more Americans nowadays saving money in a personal safe (or, horrors!, even a plastic garbage bag) this is important information to know. Get your “house money” into the bank and keep it there (preferably in one account) until it is time to get that cashier’s check at closing.

If you know someone who this applies to, please pass on the information, because it is no fun to be blindsided with a rule you never knew about.

Proof that DIY Credit Repair Works

Does credit repair work? YES

Is credit repair a scam? NO, not when you do it legally like the certified, licensed, credit repair specialists.

One of my book readers  recently sent me this, showing her success.

Previously, her credit report had a charge-off from Verizon that she did not agree with. She challenged it and won! This letter from Experian shows the results and outcome: “Deleted – This item was removed from your credit report. Please review your report for the details.”

She was so happy, because having this negative item removed from her credit will boost her score. I cannot predict how many points her score will go up, because it varies depending on the person’s overall credit report. That said, having a charge-off removed is a major success!

Congratulations, dear book reader, and thank you for giving me permission to post this as an encouragement to others that DIY credit repair works.

All the steps on how she did this are in Repair Your Credit Like the Pros: How credit attorneys and certified consultants legally delete bad credit and restore your good name. You can check it out here.

Please share this encouragement with others who either need to restore their credit and/or who want to know how the credit system works. I appreciate it so much, and they will too!

What are the Closing Costs for Buying a Home?

When you get a mortgage, there are closing costs that must be paid. With a refinance, you can roll those costs into the loan; but with a home purchase, the closing costs must be paid at closing and cannot be rolled into the loan. However, the seller can pay the buyer’s closing costs if that is designated in the purchase contract. (The lender can also give you a credit toward closing costs if you choose to take a higher interest rate.)

The Three Types of Closing Costs

Lender Fees. This is what the lender charges for its profit and to pay for required third-party vendors that are chosen by the lender.

  • Origination fee, underwriting fee, administration fee, processing fee, document fee
  • Credit report, flood cert., tax service
  • Appraisal, appraisal review, appraisal management fee

Third Party Fees. These are fees for vendors that you can shop for and choose.

  • Title insurance
  • Settlement closing agent (escrow agent or attorney)
  • Recording fee

Prepaid Costs. These are not fees, but rather costs that are part of buying a home. These will be the same no matter which lender you choose, because they are not related to nor controlled by the lender.

  • Property taxes
  • Other taxes depending on your location, such as transfer tax, state stamp tax, county tax
    Home owner’s insurance, which is your fire/hazard insurance
  • Partial mortgage payment if you close in the middle of the month, called prepaid interest

Closing costs vary widely depending on the price of the property and the location. The East and West Coasts are more expensive, and middle America is cheaper for closing costs (as well as property prices).

Your initial cost estimate (this is what used to be called a Good Faith Estimate) will list the expected closing costs as well as the loan term, loan amount, interest rate, and monthly payment.

There are some exceptions to the information above. Most notably is that the FHA Upfront Mortgage Insurance Fee of 1.75% is rolled into the loan unless you ask for an exception.

Any questions about closing costs, please feel free to ask me. Thank you for reading my blog.

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