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Conforming Loan Limits Increase for 2018

November 29, 2017
BREAKING NEWS! FHFA increases conforming loan limits for a 2nd straight year Loan limits to match rising home prices   On Tuesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgage to be obtainedce in 2018. The 2018 maximum conforming loan limit for a one-unit property will be $453,100, an increase from $424,100 in 2017. This allows home buyers to purchase a home without resulting in a Jumbo loan with higher interest rates. For areas in which 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit the maximum loan limit will be higher than the baseline loan limit.  The maximum loan limit in those areas as a multiple of the area median home value, while setting a “ceiling” on that limit of 150 percent of the baseline loan limit.  Median home values generally increased in high-cost areas in 2017, driving up the maximum loan limits in many areas.  The new ceiling loan limit for one-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $679,650 — or 150 percent of $453,100. Special statutory provisions establish different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In these areas, the baseline loan limit will be $679,650 for one-unit properties, but loan limits may be higher in some specific locations. (See Below) Because of generally rising home values, the increase in the baseline loan limit, and the increase in the ceiling loan limit, the maximum conforming loan limit will be higher in 2018 in all but 71 counties or county equivalents in the U.S. What Is A Mortgage Loan Limit? A loan limit is the maximum amount a lender will approve under certain guidelines. There is not just one loan limit, but many. Conventional mortgages adhere to one set of loan limits, and FHA another. VA loans loosely follow conventional guidelines, but, technically, VA loans have no limit. Loan limits are a means of standardizing loans nationwide. That gives lenders and investors more confidence in these loans, which pushes mortgage rates down for consumers.   Now’s the time the time to start thinking about your future. Licensed in 18 States! Valley West Mortgage offers low rates and No Obstacle Pre-Approvals.     Resources: https://www.housingwire.com/articles/41904-fhfa-increases-conforming-loan-limits-for-2nd-straight-year https://www.candofinance.com/mortgages/pros-and-cons-of-jumbo-mortgage-loans/ http://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news/65242/fhfa-maximum-conforming-loan-limits-2018 https://www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/loan-limits#

A Rise in Your Credit Score

July 10, 2017
Some changes took effect at the top of this month that could have amazing results on your credit score! We’ve talked about the importance of your credit score in some of our recent posts. Your credit score—more importantly your FICO credit score (which is a combination of your credit scores and credit history)—is assessed to determine your eligibility for lines of credit, personal loans, auto loans, and more importantly, home loans. The higher your FICO score is when you apply for a mortgage, the better your chances are at negotiating mortgage loan terms with your bank or broker. In a recent review of the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found a number of concerns within the credit reporting processes of the agencies. The main issues that were called to attention included improper quality control procedures as well as incomplete and inadequate investigations when handling disputed accounts from consumers. Your Credit Score Raising your credit score can be challenging. Collections, debts, and student loans often tend to sneak up on us when we least expect it. One late credit card payment could drop your score down 90 or more points, and once your score is down (or damaged) it takes time to repair it again. Because of the difficulty of maintaining good credit, it’s important that the information on your credit report is accurate. Otherwise you could be receiving penalties and dropped points on someone else’s behalf. For far too long consumer credit reports have been erroneous due to insufficient identity information. As a part of the new standards set for the credit bureaus, the government has outlined a list of ways for the credit bureaus to improve on accuracy of information before applying a collection to someone’s credit report. Beginning July 1, 2017 a new and improved list of standards was set for credit bureaus. The Bureaus Equifax, Experian, and Transunion are due to pay more than $17 million in restitution back to consumers who’ve been victims of false reports. They are also due to pay at least $5 million in fines and penalties to the Federal Government. 12 to 20 million Americans are expected to benefit from the new standards put in place by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Those who will the see the change are most likely consumers who had civil debts and tax liens on their credit report. Checking Your Credit Report Your credit score updates every month. Be sure to be on the lookout for a rise in your score!   When doing your research, always be sure to consult reliable sources. Check out the sources for this article below! http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/30/your-credit-score-may-jump-starting-this-month.html http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/14/consumer-agency-leans-on-companies-to-improve-credit-reporting.html http://talktown.blog.myajc.com/2017/06/30/will-your-credit-score-go-up-this-weekend/      WHITNEY RUSH, VALLEY WEST MORTGAGE        

Bank Stress Test

June 27, 2017
The Big 34 Earlier this year, we touched on national stress tests done by big banks. Since the Federal Reserve conducted their annual stress test last week and have now released their reports, today we’ll expand on the explanation of the stress tests. Banking institutions with $50 billion or more in total assets are required by the Federal Reserve to conduct an annual stress test to ensure that through a national financial crisis (like a recession), the banks will retain their financial flexibility to lend to households and businesses. The stress tests are done to satisfy a requirement for the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, also conducted annually by the Federal Reserve. Banks are also required to publish the results of their stress tests to demonstrate to the public their ability to withstand crisis. According to the results that were released by the Federal Reserve Board, our nation’s 34 largest banks passed the stress test. “This year’s results show that, even during a severe recession, our large banks would remain well capitalized,” Governor Jerome H. Powell said. “This would allow them to lend throughout the economic cycle, and support households and businesses when times are tough.”   Now take a sigh of relief, because that’s definitely good news. Passing the stress test means that if our economy fails, our banks will hold strong. The 34 big banks mentioned above hold more than 75% of the assets of all domestic banking institutions in the U.S. In other words, 75% of our country’s money is held within and managed by the 34 largest banks in the nation. It goes without saying that the funds held within the Big 34 are critical to our nation’s economy, hence the necessity of annual stress tests. The stress tests come in two forms: the adverse scenario and the severely adverse scenario and all 34 banks are tested against both. The adverse stress test tests for stability of the banks given a United States recession. The severely adverse stress test tests for stability of the banks given a global recession. The tests weigh in factors like unemployment and elevated stress in loan markets and real estate. Our nation’s banks are in good condition. They are doing a great job at keeping reserves on hand to protect against any future losses or disruptions in our economy. Those of us in the mortgage industry are overjoyed to know that our banks are taking care of themselves. A well-structured banking system means that there are enough national funds to go around to lend to borrowers who wish to purchase homes.     When doing your research, always be sure to consult reliable sources. Check out the sources for this article below! https://movement.com/blog/2017/06/23/why-bank-stress-tests-are-critical-to-mortgage-markets/ https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/bcreg20170622a.htm http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bank-stress-test.asp    WHITNEY RUSH , VALLEY WEST MORTGAGE

Your Purchasing Power

May 25, 2017
Who’s your favorite X-Men character? Wolverine? Storm? Professor X? What makes that character your favorite? For some people it’s the character’s courage, or perhaps their good looks, or their intelligence. My favorite mutant character is Mystique and what makes her my favorite is her superpower. Mystique is a shape shifter, meaning she can change her body and her voice to look like anyone she chooses. Did you know that outside of the comic book world there are real-life, everyday people with super powers? You are one of them. This article is going to walk you through tapping into and applying your purchasing power. Though I’m sure you’re not a mutant like the characters of X-Men, your purchasing power is a great power to exercise when you’re looking to buy a home. Your “Purchasing Power” is the ability and the flexibility to get the home you want. Your purchasing power can be increased by applying the following practices:             Decrease Your Debt Though the ultimate goal is to eliminate your household debt all together, depending on the amount of expenses you have, you may not be able to eliminate all of your debt all at once. In the meantime, decrease your debt by eliminating what you can. Pay off any outstanding medical bills. Return those overdue books to the library. Most importantly, stop using your credit cards. The minute you decide that you want to purchase a home, stop all usage of credit. Every time you swipe that card, you’re swiping yourself into debt.             Increase Your Credit Score Similar to how eliminating all of your debt will take time, improving your credit score will take time too. It’s easy for credit scores to drop, it’s a little tougher to bring them back up. Every 30 days the credit bureaus update with any new financial information from the previous month. That means there’s only 12 opportunities within a year for your score to go up (once each month). So each month you’ll have to make a conscience effort to change something for the better on your credit report. Remember, when credit does increase, it’s usually only increasing by a factor of roughly 1-15 points. Big events (like a delinquency or having an account go to collections) can change your credit score drastically, negatively hitting your credit anywhere in the range of 100 to 150 points so be sure to pay everything on time if not early.             Check Your Credit Report When you do your application to purchase a home, your credit report will be pulled and lenders will evaluate how much money you can be trusted to borrow. Do yourself a favor and check your score before the lenders do. I read once that at least 5% of Americans have a major error on their credit report. This could be caused by something as simple as someone having the same name and birthday as you. You’d be surprised how many John Smiths were born on the same day. Check your

Banks vs. Brokers

May 19, 2017
Commercial Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers When it comes to getting a home loan, you have a few options available to you in order to come up with the money to purchase the home. This article will focus on two of the most common ways you can borrow money for your home loan. More importantly, it’ll will focus on the differences between these two options. What is the difference between financing a home loan through a mortgage broker and financing a home loan through a commercial bank? Well for starters, a mortgage broker acts as a middleman between the borrower and the big banks. Brokers have knowledge and experience with market trends and they analyze the possibility of your loan with several different banks. Commercial banks on the other hand will only show you what their bank offers; a comparison with other banks is not part of the process. Brokers are able to accommodate borrowers who may have an unusual financial situation by doing the footwork for you. Instead of you going from bank to bank finding out who will qualify you, you can give your information to a broker and he searches through his database of banks to find what bank will suit you best. It’s easy to turn to a commercial bank when you think of applying for a home loan because most of us do our everyday banking with commercial institutions anyway. Commercial banks often offer discounts on home loans because of your loyalty through everyday banking. Borrowers are comfortable with who they are familiar with. Truthfully though, familiarity with your bank doesn’t guarantee them as the best option. Loan officers also differ depending on weather you decide to go with a bank versus a broker. Mortgage brokers often hold small operations, making the process of your home loan quicker because your file doesn’t have to go through as many hands. A loan officer that works for a broker is likely to be able to give your loan more attention than that of a loan officer at a commercial bank. Broker institutions are more intimate and offer the borrower a more involved experience. Also, it may be safe to say that loan officers who work for brokers are more knowledgeable about the business. Why? At commercial banks loan officers are required to do the general hours of study necessary to be licensed with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS). With brokers, loan officers are required to do the same as well as required to be licensed in every state that they will do business in. In other words, LO’s at commercial banks get a general education of the market. LO’s who work for a broker obtain a more in depth knowledge of the market. Their knowledge is  not just based on the national standard, but also on the specific standard of each state that they operate in.   When doing your research always be sure to consult great sources. Check out the sources for this article below!