Posts Tagged: ‘Programs’

Real Estate Time Bomb

January 30, 2014 Posted by Andre Hemmersbach

If you regularly read financial periodicals, you will come across articles from financial experts on doomsday scenarios. Many times they are motivational pieces focused on selling you something to “protect” you against the awaiting catastrophe; other times it is a true warning by an expert that sees something very disturbing. The Dotcom Bust, the Asian Currency Crisis and even our 2008 Real Estate Bubble all had warning signs and experts who correctly predicted the financial disaster.  Today’s popular pending Armageddons are the Student Loan Bubble, the T-Bill Bubble and in the real estate sector a warning about Equity Lines of Credit (ELOC).

If you were a homeowner in 2004 – 2008 you were receiving multiple free offers for ELOC with low payments and teaser rates. Many homeowners took advantage of those freebies and started using their home equity like credit cards to buy everything from automobiles to vacations. In hindsight these mortgage instruments have been pretty good deals. Historic low-interest rates over the last 5 years and the tax benefits associated with the ELOCs have made this a very cheap method to finance any purchase.

Unfortunately, most homeowners do not understand the mechanics of their ELOC. Many times the promissory note they signed ten years ago was never read, explained or maybe just forgotten.  A quick explanation of how an ELOC works will help you understand the time bomb lurking in the shadows.

98% of all ELOC have a 10 year draw period. During this time you can use your line like a credit card to buy goods and services. After the 10th year starts the 20 year repayment period begins (a few ELOCs have 15 year repayment periods).  All ELOC have an index and most are based on the prime rate (currently 3.25%). Lenders use an index to make sure that they receive an interest rate that is commensurate with current market conditions. To the index rate the lender adds a margin (the Bank’s profit) usually 0.0% to as high as 3.0% or more. Check your Promissory Note or with your servicer to find your margin. Every month the lender adds the index rate to the margin and divides by 12. This is the monthly rate you are charged on your outstanding balance. These loans do not contain any sort of periodic cap to protect you from quick interest rate increases month over month. A lifetime interest rate cap of 18% is standard.

So where is the potential powder keg? As the 10 year draw and interest only periods are coming to close, borrowers will get notices of their mortgage payments increasing as their ELOC change to  fully amortizing loans. The amount could be startling for some homeowners! For example, an $85,000 balance, which is pretty typical of what I see on my customer’s loan applications, at a current rate of 4.25% (3.25% Prime Rate plus a 1.0% margin) has an interest only payment of $301.04 this would go to $526.35 on a 20 year repayment. But that’s not the whole story! Understand that we are at historically low rates. In the past the Prime Rate has been above 8% seven times since 1970 and at 8.25% as recently as September of 2007. So let me run those numbers on a balance of $85,000: Current payment interest only $301.04, new payment with rates at 9.25% (Prime Rate 8.25% plus a 1.0% margin) would be $778.49 for a 20 year repayment. If your ELOC has a 15 repayment your new payment would be $874.82. That is a payment increase of $573.77 or 191%

Please do not misconstrue that I am predicting an 8.25% prime rate anytime soon, but recognize that homeowners who have ELOC s with larger balances need to be aware of potential payment increases and how it could affect them.

If I can help you figure out how your ELOC will adjust and the steps you can take to minimize the impact please call me at my office. 310 540 1330.

Little Known Mortgage Underwriting Guideline Exception

August 1, 2013 Posted by Andre Hemmersbach

Over the last several years the news about lending and lending guidelines has for the most part been pretty negative so when there is something positive to highlight it makes my job a bit easier.

One of Fannie Mae’s (FNMA, the government institution that buys almost all the fixed rate mortgages made today) little known rules that could help certain individuals is how they look at borrowers who are purchasing, refinancing or doing a cash-out refinance for and elderly parent or disabled child.

If the elderly parent, or in the case of a disabled adult child, is unable to work or does not have sufficient income to qualify for a mortgage on his or her own FNMA will allow the borrower of the elderly parent or disabled child to purchase or refinance the home as the owner occupant at the owner occupant rates, loan to values and guidlelines even if they are not going to occupy the property.

There would be several additional documentation requirements but as a whole it pretty simple. More astonishing than the fact that FNMA allows this as an exception is that not all lenders follow the rule or even know about it.

If i can be a resource to you on any real estate matters please call me.

Creative Financing

February 14, 2011 Posted by Andre Hemmersbach

Home buyers and sellers are turning back to creative financing methods in today’s competitive real estate markets. One of the “old standbys” in tough markets has been a lease with an option to buy or “Lease Option” for short.
A standard lease option allows a buyer to rent a sellers home with an option to buy that home at a set price sometime in the future. Typically an option price or down payment is given at the opening of an escrow which will be forfeited to the seller in the event that the purchaser/renter does not consummate the transaction at the end of the lease period. A monthly rent payment is paid by the purchaser/renter to the seller of the house during the option period.
The beauty of a lease option is that it can be written in any combination of creative ways. The amount of the upfront option payment, final sales price, length of the option contract, rent amount and the amount of monthly rent that will go towards the eventual purchase can be negotiated, which could create a win-win for both parties.
Take for example, a borrower who has issues securing a home loan due to the fact that he is just starting his own business and a seller who has had his property on the market for several months at a price that may be a little unreasonable at this time, could both be aided by a lease option. The buyer may be willing to pay the extra premium in price if he can lock in that price for a period of two years while real estate values correct and his business get established. He additionally negotiates for 25% of the monthly rent to go towards the eventual purchase price of the home. The seller accepts the offer of the higher than market sales price for a 7% option fee that will go towards the sales price if the option to purchase is exercised or forfeited to the seller if the deal falls through. He agrees to the buyers request to credit 25% of the rent toward the purchase price but negotiates to have the rent be $150 higher a month than previously requested.
As you can see, a lease option is extremely flexible and be the financing tool to make your real estate deal come together. It is extremely important to discuss all of the variables with an experienced real estate agent, mortgage professional, tax accountant and your attorney.

All About Impound Accounts

June 5, 2010 Posted by Andre Hemmersbach

Many aspects of a mortgage are confusing to borrowers, and impound accounts (or escrows) rank high on that list.