Can You Pass This Two-Question Money Quiz?

Assume you rent an apartment and drive an old car, and you would like to upgrade your life style.

Question #1: If you have to choose between buying a house or a truck, which do you choose?

Question #2: Assuming you can afford to buy both a house and a truck, which one do you buy first?

Before we look at the answers…

A True Story: A young gentleman finished his credit repair work and raised his credit score to 640. This qualified him for the FHA Elite loan for home buyers.

He felt great! He was excited.

So he ran straight to the auto dealership and bought himself a brand  new 2018 Chevy Tahoe. (MSRP $47,500)

Then he drove home and called his mortgage loan officer. “I’d like to get approved to buy my first home,” he announced.

So the loan officer took the application and ordered his credit report–and bam!–he got declined.

“Why?” he asked, totally stunned.

His new truck purchase dropped his score from 640 to 565. Too low for any of the first-time home buyer programs! Too low for the FHA 3.5% down payment program!

Not only that, but with a hefty new payment, he no longer qualified for the purchase price he needed anyway.

Maybe the Tahoe is so luxurious, he’ll be happy living in it. (Bad joke, sorry.)

Let’s See How You Did on the Quiz

Answer #1: Buy the house. Real estate is going up in value. You can increase your personal wealth by owning a home. A vehicle goes down in value the moment it become “used.”

Answer #2: Buy the house first, always, even if your credit score is 800. A higher score and a lower debt ratio will qualify you for better, cheaper financing.

The house is more important than the truck. Buy your most important item first (not the easiest to get).

I welcome your comments. Thank you for sharing this with others and on social media. Too many people are shooting themselves in the financial foot by purchasing a vehicle before the home.



Free Grant for Down Payment to WA and CA First-time Home Buyers

Do you know someone in Washington or California who would like to buy a home but is short on down payment money? If so, please pass on this information to them.

I have available a private source for up to $5,000 grant to pay for or help with a down payment. UPDATE: This promotion is ending soon. You must have your full loan application into underwriting, including the signed Purchase Agreement by the end of May.

Here are the facts:


  1. Free money, no pay back, ever. (Not an assistance program where you pay it back later.)
  2. Down payment is 3%. On a $250,000 home, the grant would cover all the down payment. For a more higher priced home, you would need to make up the difference between $5,000 and the 3%.
  3. Closing costs can be paid by buyer or seller (not included in the grant). A lender credit can help with closing costs.


  1. Must be either a first-time home buyer or
  2. Cannot have owned a home in the past three years.


  1. Credit score must be 740+. (Middle credit score of three; one score can be lower.)
  2. Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy must be discharged for 4 years.
  3. Chapter 13 bankruptcy must be two years from application/four years from dismissal
  4. Short sale must be four years from date of sale.
  5. Foreclosure must be seven years from date of sale.
  6. Credit must qualify for a Fannie Mae conventional loan.


  1. No restriction on income. You can make $million and still qualify.
  2. Must be able to afford the money payment, per conventional loan guidelines. Max debt-to-income ratio is 50% DTI.


I have this for California and Washington states only. Soon, Oregon, so follow my blog to receive that announcement.

The “catch” is that I have to be allowed to explain this program to your real estate agent. The purpose of the grant money is to generate more loan business. Again, this is not a government program; it is a private money source. You’ll also need to take an online home buyer class after you have a purchase agreement, which is easy and fun.

Please contact me here if you’d like to get pre-qualified, or if you are a real estate agent in CA or WA who would like to know more about this program.

Thank you, and here’s to more people becoming home owners!

Carolyn Warren, Sr. Loan Officer, NMLS # 1284134, WA First Mortgage, a broker doing business in Western states.


DIY Credit Repair Success Story

“Chase not only removed all my late payments but also refunded over $350 in fees!” ~~ Sarah S., Florida

 How did Sarah achieve this success? First, a quick background…

Sarah had moved several times and in the process, she’d unintentionally forgotten about the Chase account. Easy to do when no billing statement comes! By the time she checked her credit report, late payments had already posted and her score had been docked.

Time to spring into action! Sarah picked up a copy of Repair Your Credit Like the Pros: How credit attorneys and certified consultants legally delete bad credit and restore your good name. See here.

After reading Chapter 15, she called Chase and asked to speak with a supervisor in charge. She opened the line of communication in a professional manner. She explained that her credit is very important to her, and she would not have missed a payment had she received a bill. She told the truth. By the end of the conversation, the supervisor said:

“I have determined that you were not receiving your statements”; and therefore, you “couldn’t have known you had a bill.”

As a result, both the late payment record and the late fees were removed.

In a follow-up email, Sarah wrote (and gave me permission to use on my blog):


I wanted to write to you with a heart of gratitude! Thank you so much for writing your credit repair book. Within two

Available on Amazon. Rated best DIY credit repair resource.

months of starting the credit repair process and sending out first letters, my husband and I have raised our score over 100 points! We are pre-approved to buy our first home. God is good.

Thank you again,

Buying a Home with the Fresh Start Loan Program

Were there bad times and bad credit in your past? Are you looking to make a fresh start and buy a home? Here are the guidelines for buying a home with the Fresh Start Loan Program.

* No waiting period after a bankruptcy (BK), short sale, deed-in-lieu, or foreclosure.

* However, the short sale or foreclosure must be completed, not pending, at the time of application.

* Chapter 7 BK must be discharged.

* Chapter 13 BK must be filed, but it can be open with payments being made on time. The court needs to approve the purchase.

* Property can be a detached house, a warrantable condominium, or a one-unit cooperative. (Not a manufactured home.)

* Debt-to-income ratio up to 50% DTI. (55 DTI with compensating factors, but I don’t recommend it.)

What’s the catch?

With such generous approval guidelines, is there a catch? Yes, you must have a good down payment to show that you are willing to take a risk on yourself. What does that mean?

If you aren’t willing to put money into the deal, then the lender feels like it’s too easy for you to walk away and leave them taking on the expense of reselling the property. They don’t want that! They want a home owner who is back on track financially and will make all their payments on time.

The silver lining is that the down payment can be gift money from family. Or, if you have 5% of your own money, the remainder can be a gift.

Here are the Down Payment Requirements

640 credit score = 15% down payment required

620 credit score = 20% down

580 credit score = 25% down

The credit score is the middle score out of three scores from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The lowest score is ignored. The credit report is pulled by the lender.

How to Get a Loan with Fresh Start

Your mortgage broker can get the Fresh Start loan program for you through their wholesale channel. This is not a program you get at a bank or credit union. You get it through a broker. If you’re in California or Washington (and soon Oregon), then I can be your broker. For other states, find a broker in your area.

There are other non-prime loan programs available, but I wanted to highlight this program today, because of its generosity with no waiting period after a major derogatory credit event.

Available on Amazon. Rated best DIY credit repair resource.

As always, thank you for reading my blog and passing it on to anyone who might benefit from the information.



Buy a Home in 2018!

Is 2018 your time to buy a home? If so, here is a Short List to help you reach your goal.


1) Check your credit.

  • Have or establish clean credit for 12 months so the lender can see you are on track financially. One late payment can be excused with a good explanation.
  • To qualify for the best interest rate, you want the following credit score:
    • FHA with 3.5% down payment: 620 to 640
    • Conventional with 3% down payment: 640
    • Conventional with down payment assistance: 640
    • VA with zero down: 580 to 620
    • USDA with zero down: 640

2) Save enough money for your down payment and closing costs.

Now is the time to cut spending and save money. The sacrifice is worth the reward.

3) Avoid opening new accounts.

Do not open a new credit card, line of credit, take out an auto loan, or acquire any other type of financing for the six months prior to buying a home, because doing so could hurt your credit score and/or your debt ratio for qualifying.

“Buy the house first. Buy the car later.”

4) Leave your bank accounts as they are.

Don’t move money around during the three months prior to or during your loan application, because doing so will complicate your loan file and require you to submit more documentation and letters of explanation.

5) Get the cash out of your home!

If you have money stashed in a home safe or hiding under the mattress, get that money into a bank account immediately. Cash is “poison money” and cannot be used for a home loan. The funds must be seasoned in your bank account for three months prior to loan approval.

Home Ownership is both emotionally and financially rewarding. Doing the work to get there is worth the effort.

Happy 2018, Everyone!

Now available on Amazon

The Real Christmas Story

Jesus Is Born

At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived.

So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.

Angels Announce the Birth of Jesus

Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. 11 Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. 12 This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those who have his good will!”

15 The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”

16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. 17 When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.

19 Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.

20 As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Available here.

Why December is a Great Time to Buy a Home

“Buy low, sell high.” We’ve all heard that stock market advice. So how does it apply to buying a home?

During the holidays, fewer home buyers are out there looking. People set aside this time for shopping, parties, travel, and celebration with family. They postpone their dream of becoming a home owner until after the New Year. Thus, December is the perfect time for YOU to make an offer on a home.

With less competition, you have a better chance of getting a Purchase Agreement at the seller’s best price.

My advice is to go for the home purchase now. You can set your closing date after Christmas when it is a convenient time for you to move.

First step: Get pre-approved for financing and obtain your pre-approval letter.

Second step: Contact your local real estate agent for help in locating a home and presenting the offer.

Best wishes and Merry Christmas!


Breaking News! Higher Loan Limits for 2018

Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced today that they are raising the loan amount for conventional loans for 2018. This means home buyers can borrow more money without having to take a jumbo loan (with a higher interest rate and tougher approval requirements).

For most of the U.S., the new loan limit is $453,100. For 2017, it is $424,100.

For “high cost areas” the new loan limit is $670,650.  (These are areas in which 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit. The calculation is 150% of $453,100.)

For a map showing the loan limits by county, click here.

Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for subscribing. Thank you for sharing on social media.



Does Opening a New Credit Card Hurt Your Score?

“Would you like to open a store credit card and save 10 percent on your purchase today?” asks the helpful clerk.

“No thank you, I don’t wish to lower my credit score today,” I say with a smile. I am ready for the question she will ask next: why?

But no, the clerk looks bored. She doesn’t care about credit scores or financial well being. She’s supposed to promote their store credit card by dangling the bait in front of every customer.

Holiday shopping is an optimal time for retailers to scoop in more debtors who will give in to temptation, overspend, and end up paying 20.99% interest.

Two Ways a New Credit Card Can Lower Your Score

1) A retail store credit inquiry is the most damaging inquiry you can have. It hurts more than an auto or mortgage inquiry, especially if you have several within a short time frame, like the month of December. It stays on your credit report for 24 months.

2) Opening a new score can lower your overall credit history and thus lower your score. For example, if you’ve had one credit card for five years and one for three years, your average credit history is four years. If you now open two new cards during the shopping season, you instantly lower your credit history to an average of 2 1/2 years. Bam! Your score is docked.

(36 months + 60 months + 1 month + 1 month = 98 months ÷ 4 = 24.5 months)

True Story of an Angry Shopper

A nice couple came to me for pre-approval to buy a home. “My wife’s score is 800,” the husband said proudly.

Unfortunately, he was mistaken. It had been 800 in the past, but it was not now. Her score had dropped to the mid-700s. Why? Because while shopping, she accepted a credit card to save 10 percent. When she learned it had lowered her score, she was mad–especially since she decided not to purchase the item after all. So, she’d saved no money and had lost her impressive credit score.

If You Already Have a Long and Varied Credit History…You Are the Exception

If you’ve had credit established for 10+ years and have a good mix of credit cards, auto financing, and a mortgage or two in your past, then you won’t be harmed by opening a new store card. If you really want that card, go ahead and get it. Just don’t go overboard by opening up half a dozen new cards or you will likely see a negative impact on your golden score.

Please pass on this information to other good folks via social media and email, because no one needs to have their credit score dropped over a needless store card--especially if they plan to apply for financing in 2018!

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