Last Call for 2016 Interest Rates

You know those New Year predictions experts make? Finally, after three years, it’s happening.interest-rate

January 2014, financial experts and mortgage professionals said interest rates would rise by the end of the year. They remained fairly flat.

January 2015, same thing with rates remaining fairly flat.

January 2016, same thing and rates remained fairly flat until this month. At the beginning of November, interest rates started climbing, and they haven’t stopped. Day by day, we see small increases that add up over a week’s time.

One financial predictor has forecast 30-year fixed rates at 4.5% by the end of December.

The Federal Reserve Board has said they will likely raise rates in December. And remember, the market is anticipatory. So if higher rates are coming, lenders react now by raising rates so they aren’t caught short-handed.

If you have been thinking about refinancing — possibly into a shorter term or getting cash out — do not delay another day. Get your application in and get your interest rate locked.

If you want to be a home owner but are waiting until after the holidays, that’s a bad idea. You find less competition among home buyers and better rates now than in January. Get your home now, lock in your rate now, and set the closing for after the holidays. You can wait to move, but you can’t wait to get your financing in place if you want the best deal and lowest monthly payment.

If you are in California or Washington, I am happy to help you as I am licensed in those two states. If you live elsewhere, I suggest that you contact a full-service mortgage lender. Forget the Big Banks who have a terrible reputation on so many levels. A full-service mortgage lender has both their own money to lend and can shop wholesale lenders as needed.

My next post will be questions to ask your loan officer. I wanted to get this warning out about interest rates as soon as possible. No more procrastinating! Consider this is your last call before rates go even higher. Feel free to pass this on via social media.


No Good Faith Estimate Without a Rate Lock?

frustrated “I was just pre-approved for my loan, and although I was assured that I would receive a GFE, when I got my paperwork, I don’t have one. Just the lender’s own loan summary form. Two managers told me they don’t give out GFEs until a rate is locked. Isn’t this against the law? This isn’t the only lender that has told me that they cannot provide a GFE without a rate lock,” wrote a savvy but frustrated lady who’s read my books.

Since a lot of folks are hitting up against this brick wall, I thought it best to answer the question for everyone at the same time.


The short answer is yes, it sounds like they are in violation of the law. I’ll explain.

Effective January 1, 2010, a Good Faith Estimate is required to be issued no later than three  business days after the loan officer has received all of the following:

  • borrower’s full names
  • monthly income
  • social security numbers to obtain a credit report
  • property address
  • estimated value of the property
  • loan amount
  • any other information deemed necessary by the loan originator to complete an application

Receipt of the above items are how Federal banking law (HUD) defines a loan application.

From HUD’s Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RSPA) FAQ 23:

An application includes information the loan originator requires the borrower to submit in anticipation of a credit decision. If a loan originator issues a GFE, the loan originator is presumed to have received all six pieces of information.

So we see that a loan officer  can issue a Good Faith Estimate without the rate being locked; and in fact, is required to do so. A rate lock is not borrower information required for a credit decision, so there’s no loophole there.

What’s more, a loan officer must not require your signature before providing the Good Faith Estimate, because that might inhibit you from shopping, which you are fully entitled to. Here’s the quote fro the law.


…a loan originator may not require a borrower to sign consents to verify employment, income or deposits as a condition of issuing a GFE as such a requirement may inhibit borrowers from shopping for the best loan by leading borrowers to believe that they are committed to obtaining a loan from that loan originator.


If you have provided all the information stated above to complete an application, your lender must either issue a Good Faith Estimate within three business days or deny your application.   If they do not, they are violating RESPA. I suggest you refer them to this blog post with a friendly reminder that they probably don’t want to be reported to HUD (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development), the legal watchdog that is happy–if not eager–to “follow up” on lenders who violate the law.


Personally, I find the Loan Summary/Cost Estimate Worksheet/Initial Fees Worksheet (whatever your lender wants to call it) to be more revealing and more helpful than the new 3-page GFE that the Feds designed, because they show the breakdown of fees better and include more information (such as total monthly payment and cash to close) than the GFE does.

As always, your comments are welcome.