September 1, 2008
Credit for this post really goes to 3 Oceans contributor Eric Trailer who sent me this content in a letter this week. My clients got it last week, and the blogoshpere can now benefit. We can assume that Eric has better things to do on Labor Day than blog. I’m guessing something involving his lovely wife and son . . .
To see current market data and price trends over the past year for local communities and confirm or refute Eric’s prognostications on the local market in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities,
CLICK HERE to see real-time market data, courtesy of our friends at Altos Research.
As you have likely been hearing, there continues to be more and more evidence that it will cost prospective home buyers more to purchase a home in select areas of the Bay Area as they allow time to go by.
Why? Let’s look at the basic reasons, then review an example:
1. The median price across the board in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities has risen since the beginning of the year.
2. On a national basis, the trough of the market was reached in April.
3. The conforming loan limit will DECREASE over $100,000 in 2009 to $625,000.
4. Rates have risen about .5% since the beginning of the year, despite the increase in the conforming loan limit to $729,750
5. Loan qualifications are becoming more restrictive with each passing week.
6. More restrictions on loans and a tighter supply of money forces rates to go up
7. Because loans require more work to process them (requirements today are 4x what they were a year ago), rates will go up.
8. Inflation is the number one concern of the Fed, and should be the number one concern for all of us.
Let’s say for a moment that you agree that rates are on the rise, but feel as though prices may come down on a $1mm property today; thus, you want to wait. Let’s further assume that you are right and the future price is $950,000, but rates have increased .5% at that future time. Using 20% down, waiting just cost you an ADDITIONAL $117 per month-over $1,400 per year.
But now let’s be more realistic given the appreciation rates of desirable areas of the Bay Area. If rates increase and the $1mm home appreciates to $1,050,000, you are looking at an ADDITIONAL $550 PER MONTH-OVER $6,000 PER YEAR!
What’s the take-away here? Price matters much less than true cost… My motto has always been that it always pays off to buy sooner than later, provided your holding period is greater than four years. And to prove that I walk the walk, I am happy to share my personal situation written as an article titled, “How to Afford a Home in Palo Alto Without a Trust Fund.”
To call Eric on his walking the walk comment, and get a copy of his article, “How to Afford a Home in Palo Alto Without a Trust Fund.”, click on his pretty picture over there in the contributor column to send him an email.
Tags: 4---mortgage-mania, absolute mortgage bank, mortgage rates, Mortgages, palo alto home prices, Palo alto housing market, palo alto market, palo alto real estate market
June 7, 2008
Long-time Mortgage Mania readers, (aka Mortgage Maniacs) know that I’m an avid reader of the New York Times, so it should come as no surprise that I would have some comments on this article in the Friday June 6 edition regarding the continuing foreclosure crisis affecting consumers across the country.
Authors Bajaj and Grynbaum review some recent statistics on foreclosures, and then go on to predict another wave of foreclosures as the economy continues to slow and more consumers fall victim to layoffs and job cuts.
It’s easy to ignore these rumblings here in wealthy Silicon Valley where the local economy is still vibrant, even with nearly $5 a gallon gas, as it is still a minor impact on a budget with a $5,000 a month mortgage. It’s easy for us living in The Bubble of Unstoppable Real Estate (which I define as: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Los Altos, your mileage may vary) to say “it can’t happen here”.
Not so fast there pardner. A Short Sale in Atherton you say? It’s almost enough to make you drop your Grey Poupon.
This little number at 199 Selby Lane in Atherton recently listed by Lanny Dannenberg of Keller Williams is a short sale at $1,795,000. It has been on the market with a couple of different brokers for over two years, starting at $2,495,000 in March of 2006.
The good news is that the local market continues to be pretty strong, especially at the upper levels, above $3 million. Don’t take my word for it, check out this market data for the latest facts and figures on Palo Alto and surrounding communities.
Thanks for reading . . .
Tags: 4---mortgage-mania, Atherton, economy, foreclosure, new york times, short sales
February 19, 2008
I’d like to thank Kristen Emery at Princeton Capital in Palo Alto for providing me with the first bit of information that actually explains what the changes to conforming loans will mean to someone in Silicon Valley trying to buy a home.
A little light reading for you:
We have seen a whirlwind of legislative activity these past few weeks! There is much confusion surrounding the recentlypassed Economic Stimulus Package and higher loan limits. Unfortunately, the new law can be confusing to decipher, andnot everyone will benefit. For this reason, we have provided an outline below that clarifies what this new law means for youand how you can benefit from the higher loan limits.
Description and Overview:An economic stimulus package just passed Congress on February 7, 2008 and was signed into law by the President onFebruary 13, 2008. This new law is effective immediately and includes a temporary increase in both the FHA andconforming loan limits to as high as $729,750 in high cost areas. This means that the interest rates on many mortgages willgo down because these loans are now eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or insured by the FederalHousing Administration (FHA). Previously, the FHA was only allowed to insure loans with balances lower than $200,160 -$362,790, depending on the county where the property was located. Also, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only allowedto purchase loans with balances at or below $417,000. This resulted in limited options and higher financing costs for thosewith loan balances above these limits. The new law substantially increases these limits in high cost areas and opens upnew options and lower financing costs for many people.
How to Determine “High Cost” AreasThere are two things you must know in order to determine if you are in a high cost area:
1. Understanding the Formula
If 125% of the local area median home price exceeds $417,000, the temporary loan limitwould be that 125% of the median home price with a cap of $729,750. Here are threeexamples to illustrate this concept: If the median home price in your area is $375,000, 125% of that number is$468,750. Thisis above the current $417k conforming loan limit. Therefore, the conforming loan limit inyour area WILL change and go up to $468,750. This number is also higher than thehighest FHA loan limits, so therefore your FHA loan limit will also go up to $468,750. If the median home price in your area is $650,000, 125% of that number is $812,500.This number is greater than the maximum cap of $729,250. Therefore, the conforming loan limit in your area willincrease to highest allowable amount under this new law which is $729,250. (Our median home price is $612,000 for Santa Clara County).
2. Determining the Median Home Price in Your Area
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will publish the median house prices within 30 days of the billgoing into effect (30 days from February 13, 2008). HUD does not have any interim stats or information for us to use. However, the bill also states that HUD can use any commercially available data if they are unable to compile theinformation on their own within the 30 day timeframe. With that in mind, it is likely that HUD’s numbers will be relativelyconsistent with the data published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which already has a solid track record oftracking and publishing this information on a quarterly basis. Therefore, until HUD actually publishes their version of the median home prices, the most accurate way to get thisinformation today is to utilize the data that is published by NAR. Ironically, NAR just released their latest median homeprice update for the 4th quarter of 2007 on February 14, 2008! Contact me today and I’ll research your info and let youknow exactly what the median home price is in your area and how you can benefit from this information.
What do all the dates mean?
There is some confusion because the bill has a provision that says the higher limits areonly effective for loans originated between July 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. Inshort, the reason it is effective beginning July 1, 2007, is because the credit crisis startedto unfold in July and August of 2007. Mortgage market conditions rapidly deterioratedalmost overnight. Many secondary market investors suddenly refused to purchase loansthat couldn’t be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (For more info on how this processworks, please see the article entitled Saga of the US Mortgage Industry.) Unfortunately, many mortgage banks had already funded these loans in their ownportfolio or through their warehouse lines of credit. Their intention was obviously to sellthese loans on the secondary market after the loans were funded. However, the creditcrisis prevented them from doing so, and they were stuck holding these loans in theirportfolio. The July 1, 2007 date in the bill is designed to allow these lenders to unloadthese mortgages and sell them on the secondary market to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
However, the July 1, 2007 date has no bearing whatsoever on new refinance transactions!
In other words, it doesn’tmatter when the loan you are refinancing was originated. The old loan could have been originated in 2005, 2006 oranytime before or after July 1, 2007 and it would have no effect whatsoever on your current purchase or refinancetransaction.
If you are refinancing a new loan today, whether it is a purchase or refinance transaction, that loan issubject to the new limits set forth in the bill.
The other date of December 31, 2008 means that the old limits will go back into effect after this year. In other words, now isthe perfect time to buy a new home or refinance your mortgage because after this year, your costs will be higher and youroptions more limited again.
When does this all go into effect?
February 13, 2008 – immediately upon the President’s signature. Therefore, HUD is obligated to publish the median homeprices within 30 days of that date. However, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and various wholesale lenders may have different policies as to how these new loans are going to be priced and underwritten.
- - - Information provided by:
Tags: 2008 real estate market, 4---mortgage-mania, Conforming Loans, first-time buyer, Mortgage, Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007
February 19, 2008
. . . Said my friend Amy to me the other day. Since she is sort of a typical first time buyer, (actually not), I decided to make an example of her and contribute to her 15 mins of fame.
Amy is your somewhat typical Sillycon Valley MBA tech-marketing type. She works in marketing for a large company, so her income is derived from her salary, as opposed to commissions or stock options that may or may not vest. The company is stable, so her bonuses tend to be consistent and her income fairly predictable. She recently moved from one giant tech company to a large one, so she has a number of years of experience in her industry and job classification, excellent credit, and some equity from a condo that she sold.
Being an MBA, and financially conservative (politically liberal), she can comfortably afford something in the $650K price range, even in the current lending environment. The previous idea was for her to take out two mortgages, a conforming loan of $417,000, and then a second or equity line to cover the rest.
Now that Mr. W. has signed off on the stimulus package that included a short-term increase in the conforming loan limit for 2008, Amy’s interest in buying a house has gone up. The tax rebate will let her buy her kids a happy meal and some new jeans, so her interest is much more in the mortgage changes.
At the time of our conversation, the difference in rates between a conforming (under $417,000) and jumbo ($417,001+) loan was about .75%, depending on a million things, which I will leave to co-contributor Eric Trailer to explain. Jsut plugging in some numbers, on a loan of $585,000 (10% down on our $650K house), her payments would drop about $4300 a year excluding taxes if that loan was at the lower rate. Now we are talking interesting.
Admittedly, this is very simplified, because it doesn’t take into account the cost of a conforming first and then a second, or whether lenders will have tiered pricing based on the loan amount, or credit scores, documented vs. non-documented income, etc., etc., etc.
My intent is to show the effect of this new law on “normal” Silicon Valley home buyers who have “normal” jobs, and are trying to put a roof over their heads. While the tax rebates of a few hundred dollars will only have minor impacts on most of us (I get $300, I think), the effect on home buying capability will be potentially significant.
Let the comments fly, and thanks for reading.
Tags: 2008 loan limits, Conforming Loans, economic stimulus, Home buying, Jumbo Loans, Mortgage, mortgage mania, mortgage rates, new home buyer
Economic Forecast - Finally, you can believe what you read in the newspaper
January 21, 2008
I have long been a proponent of Bay Area real estate, and especially that rare piece of level ground on the Peninsula where the laws of Supply and Demand exert the greatest influence.
Amid tales of worldwide stock market tumbles (US markets were closed today in observance of Dr. King’s birthday), this little tidbit of sanity was embedded in an article in today’s online San Jose Mercury News:
Stock slides: Stocks sank around the world today, as U.S. markets remained closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The most dramatic decline was in India. The bellwether Bombay Sensitive Index plunged 1408.35 points, or 7.4 percent - its largest ever single-day drop in points. The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index continued its six week slide, falling 5.7 percent to 308.77 percent.
Yet among the spreading gloom, Silicon Valley is shining.
“Silicon Valley is in better shape than the overall U.S. economy,” said John B. Sloven, director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. “My overall assessment is the Silicon Valley economy is going to come through this pretty well unscathed.”
Some facts to consider: Prices in Silicon Valley’s wealthiest areas are holding up. Meanwhile, prices are dropping on low-end homes, increasing affordability. The region added jobs in December for the third consecutive month. Finally, the San Jose region is supposed to lead the state in personal income growth over the next few years.
The interesting point is that the falling prices for lower end housing makes things more affordable for first-time homes buyers. My personal experience is currently supporting this, as I have a couple of clients shopping for their first homes in the $600,000 - $650,000 range, and are seeing personal benefit as homes that were recently listed tantilizingly close to their range, but just out of reach, at $700,000, are now being reduced to under $650,000.
The amazing thing about this area is that the economy continues to reinvent itself, the economic engine continues to churn through economic expansion and recession, and housing remains a scarce commodity because we have very little land to build new housing on.
Not to sound self-serving, but it is a great time to buy real estate here in Silicon Valley, especially if you can scrounge together a 20% down payment and have a history of actually paying your bills. Prices in some areas are down, flat in others, and interest rates continue to be near historic lows.
Donald Trump recently announced that he is seeking investors for a fund that will invest $100 million in California real estate in the next couple of years.
If California real estate is good enough for The Donald, isn’t it good enough for the rest of us?
Thanks for reading.
Tags: bay-area-real-estate, Home buying, home prices, home values, mortgage mania, palo-alto-real-estate, real estate downturn
March 29, 2007
If you are a reader of The San Jose Mercury News, or any other paper or media outlet, you know that there is a growing issue associated with home buyers who purchased their homes using subprime loans and are now facing foreclosure as they are unable to keep up with their payments when their rates adjust.
On Sunday, March 17, the San Jose Mercury News ran an article describing how an agent and lender with Century 21 Su Casa Realty violated a number of lending laws and ethical guidelines to get people to purchase homes which are now in foreclosure, in some case because the buyers couldn’t even afford the first payment.
While it is a stain on the already tarnished image of Realtors, it is easy for us in Palo Alto to say ‘what a shame, it won’t happen here’, or words to that effect. But, what is the effect of this issue on homebuyers in Palo Alto and the surrounding communities?
Rachel Van Emon with OPES Advisors, a financial services firm with offices in Palo Alto and San Mateo, recently sent me an article that discusses the effects of impending legislation and revised lending guidelines that will affect the ability of buyers to qualify for products like the interest only loans that so many of us use to buy our million dollar teardowns in Palo Alto and surrounding communities.
The highlights are:
- The Department of the Treasury has issued a Guidance on Guidance on “Nontraditional Mortgage Product Risks.”
- The Guidance specifies “nontraditional” as those loans allowing the deferment of principal and/or interest payments – not just sub-prime loans.
- The Guidance states that borrowers for these products are to be qualified at the “fully amortizing and fully indexed payments.” This means that qualifying payments will be bigger, and it will take more income to qualify.
- The new guidelines are to be in effect by 9/07. Some lenders have already adopted them, and many more will do so in the coming months.
- Virtually all lenders have cancelled their programs allowing 100% financing on a Stated Income basis.
- Guidelines have tightened around lending when other “risk factors” are present such as 100% financing, low reserves, high debt-to-income ratios and condo properties.
In short, it’s going to be harder to pay for that million dollar teardown in Palo Alto starting now, and especially in September.
The big question is whether these changes in lending laws will cool the red hot housing market we are currently enjoying, or if the Valley’s amazing ability to generate disposable incomes and wealth will overcome another hurdle to home ownership. Stay tuned . . .
The entire article is posted for your reading pleasure. Click here to view it.
Tags: Bad-Realtors, Century 21, Crooked-realtors, Deceptive-realtors, Dirty agent tricks, Financing-Process, Loan Application, Loan-Application, Mortgages, Negative Amortization, No Documentation (ND), No Income No Assets (NINA), No Ratio (NR), Option ARMs, Palo Alto, palo-alto-real-estate, Preapproval, Prequalification, Real estate, Realtors who give the business a bad name, Stated Income Stated Assets (SISA), Stated Income Verified Assets (SIVA)
March 7, 2007
Yikes! What do all these acronyms mean, and which one is the best type of financing for your? For most homebuyers (and their realtors), they don’t care how the loan gets done, they just want it done – with as little work and hassle as possible. Behind the scenes, lenders are actually getting very creative in the types of documentation programs that they require (or waive). Some of these variants may make a difference on the pricing, speed and riskiness of the transaction, so it’s a good idea for all parties to become at least a little bit familiar with these strange acronyms.
FD – Full documentation. The crème-de-la-crème of real estate financing, and the most traditional documentation type. Borrower provides full income documentation (2 pay stubs, 2 W2s or 2 years tax forms for all borrowers) and full asset documentation (2 months full statements of all accounts used to qualify assets). Traditionally this is the documentation format with the best pricing.
Minimum/Reduced Documentation types:
SIVA – Stated income verified assets. This has become one of the most popular documentation formats, especially in cases where a fast escrow is needed. Borrower states his/her income but does not have to provide any documentation. Asset document is still needed, but only to show a set amount of reserves. This format is popular among hi-tech executives because of the variable components of their income – bonus, patent pay, ESPP, stock pay, etc. – most of which are highly variable and changes each year, so it’s difficult to document it without inviting unnecessary underwriter scrutiny. While it is technically one step down from FD, most A paper lenders have exceptions where if the borrower’s credit score is high enough, they will accept SIVA documentation and still offer FD pricing. Hey, you CAN have your cake and eat it too!
SISA – Stated income stated assets. You guessed it, in this format, the borrower simply states the income and asset on the loan application, and off it goes. No documentation needed! This makes everyone’s job easy – borrowers, agents, brokers, lenders. Again, this type of reduced documentation usually comes at a slight rate penalty, but with a high enough credit score, I have a number of lenders who can and will waive these penalties. So, for someone with good credit, they can zip through the entire loan process with a SISA submission, and still get the lowest rates on the market. The only thing to be careful about is that SISA guidelines are more conservative when it comes to the amount of money that you can borrow. So, as you approach the higher purchase price (over $1M), super-jumbo loans (loan amounts >$1M) and/or high CLTV (combined loan-to-value of over 85%), SISA loan types may place limitations that FD loan types don’t have.
NR – No Ratio. This reduced documentation type actually fits between SIVA and SIVA. In this program, you don’t provide any income information; you don’t even state a number on the loan application. However, you do provide asset documentation. As you know, in the loan business, cash is king. So, if you have good credit and enough reserves in the bank, underwriters may not care what your income is. So, instead of exaggerating and trying to state an income that is simply not true, it is much safer to go the route of No Ratio. In fact, stated income have been so abused by so many brokers that lenders are cracking down on stated loans and starting to look carefully at the income stated and job type. They will do a sanity check and if the numbers don’t make sense, the loan WILL NOT GO THROUGH. No Ratio is becoming popular because it allows the real estate team to close a transaction as fast as a stated loan, without the increasing risk with the underwriters. Even though the borrower normally has to a pay a small premium for a No Ratio loan, this is a small price to pay when compared to fraud and the risk of losing the escrow deposit when the loan doesn’t come through under another program type. Make sure you discuss with your financing advisor the pros/cons of using stated vs. no ratio on your loan program. As a realtor, you should also be sure that your financing partner is up to speed on the recent mortgage market developments, and not prone to forcing a loan through a stated program where it will ultimately fail and result in avoidable risk and agony to your hard-won transaction!
No Documentation Types:
NINA – No Income No Asset. In this documentation type, borrower provides no documentation, and leaves the income and asset sections blank on the loan application. In other words, borrower discloses absolutely no information about himself/herself except for his/her credit history. The one thing that lenders will verify verbally is employment. They will call the company if the borrower is a W2 employee, and will require a CPA letter if the borrower has been a self-employed individual for at least two years. Other than this, the entire loan decision is made on credit-worthiness. Obviously, pricing will be quite a bit higher than FD or the stated programs. Again, cash is king; so if you are putting enough money down, say at least 35-40% down payment, then your pricing would likely be similar to a FD loan!
ND – No Documentation, or No Income No Asset No Employment. This loan type is generally geared towards retired individuals, or borrowers in between jobs, or just starting out on their own business. Nothing is provided and nothing is considered by the lender except for the credit report. Normally, there is a ceiling on how high the loan amount can go, and how high the LTV (loan-to-value) can be, as these types of loans are perceived to be most risky for the lender. This generally will require a healthy down payment to ensure that the borrower has enough equity at stake and most likely will not default on the loan.
Now, you ready for the quiz? In reality, the only person who needs to know all these formats cold is the mortgage specialist. A good mortgage specialist will know exactly which format, or formats, would best fit his/her client’s situation right after the initial discovery interview. S/he will use this information to help guide the pricing and initial preapproval process, and guide his/her clients to prepare the proper documentations on time. Neither the client nor the agent really need to know about the various loan types. What they need to be sure is that they have a mortgage specialist knowledgeable of all of the new and old documentation types so that the loan can be packaged in a way for minimum underwriting risk and maximum speed to close. Also, if you are an agent who tends to work with busy executives, or families with small children, it also helps to work with a mortgage specialist who is experienced enough to obtain a SIVA or SISA approvals without any pricing penalties to save your clients valuable time – who wants to spend time collecting statements and other documentation when they could be shopping for their next house?
Tags: Buyer and seller tips, Documentation, Financing-Process, For buyers, Full Documentation (FD), Loan-Application, Mortgages, No Documentation (ND), No Income No Assets (NINA), No Ratio (NR), Preapproval, Real estate, Stated Income Stated Assets (SISA), Stated Income Verified Assets (SIVA)
To Preapprove or not to preapprove…that is the question
February 8, 2007
Well, nowadays, and at least in the Bay Area, that is no longer the question. Bay Area buyers have become accustomed to hearing agents, and their friends, emphasize the importance of being “preapproved”. But like many overused and underexplained topic, few people actually fully understand the power of a properly executed preapproval, and how to distinguish it from its more commonplace cousin, a prequalification.
If you are in the market for to buy a home, especially in some of the more competitive neighborhoods of the Bay Area (such as Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mountain View and San Carlos), your agent – if he or she is any good – will ask you to meet with a qualified mortgage advisor as soon as possible to get prequalified or preapproved. This will serve two main purposes: 1) the agent will be able to serve you best by understanding the range of your affordability and not waste anyone’s time, and 2) you will be able to focus your search on what you know you can comfortably afford and not fall in love with something that was not meant to be. The purpose of the initial meeting with the mortgage specialist is to get “prequalified”; however, you can also get preapproved at the same time. So what’s the difference, and who cares?
Prequalified means that the mortgage specialist has taken a detailed discovery interview of your financial and credit background, along with your housing goals. Based on the information collected, s/he should be able to make a professional decision (based on his/her years of experience and the guidelines published by the lenders) whether or not you are “qualified” to get a loan and approximately how much you can qualify for. Let me stress that this is a decision that the mortgage specialist will make, NOT the person/organization who will ultimately lend you the money. Needless to say, the prequalification has the following weaknesses:
- There is no assurance whether you will actually get a loan or not
Preapproval, when done properly, is much more powerful. It is a prequalification taken to the next step. Preapprovals can take 2 forms:
CONFORMING LOANS ($417K and under)
For conforming loan amounts, the mortgage specialist can actually upload your file information into one of two national approval engines (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac sponsored), and within minutes, obtain a printed formal approval of your loan amount and any pertaining conditions. This approval, because it is governed by a set of approval criteria that is universally accepted by all lenders, can then be submitted along with the hardcopy of your loan file to your lender of choice. That lender’s underwriting department will in turn accept and adopt the findings generated by this online engine. Hence, once you received an from this online engine, you can be fully confident that your loan is essentially approved. The reason that mortgage specialist don’t automatically do this is because (sadly) most people in the industry are not properly trained financial advisors and simply don’t know how to use this application, or are not even aware of it! Those who are aware are often deterred by the extra work and/or upfront cost, and so simply downgrade their clients’ to a “prequalification,” assuming that they won’t know the difference anyways.
NON-CONFIRMING (AKA JUMBO) LOANS (Over $417K)
For Jumbo (non-confirming) loans, preapprovals are a bit more complicated, and controversial. Since the national (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) engines that are uniformly accepted by all the lenders approve up to $417K – the conforming loan amount limit – many loan agents simply treat jumbo loan preapprovals like prequalifications. That is to say, they use their judgement to see whether a loan would be approved. In most cases, and especially if the agent is seasoned and dependable, the preapproval will not be at risk. But, if time permits and the agent has access to underwriters, it is always safer to discuss the actual loan package with a specific underwriter and obtain a verbal approval. In this case, the loan is not only in good shape according to the agent, but actually considered “approved” according to the person who would ultimately be granting the funds. This “preapproval” is very important – basically, as long as the borrowers can subsequently provide the required documentation (according to loan type) to support what was disclosed to the underwriter, than the written approval would be provided almost immediately upon submission.
Preapprovals, when executed properly, provide buyers with peace of mind when they need to go in with an aggressive offer, such as bypassing finance contingencies. If a loan is preapproved, either through the automated engine or verbally with an underwriter, buyers can be assured that their financing is confirmed within the payment terms of their comfort level, subject to slight market movements prior to locking a loan. However, if a preapproval was not done properly, and the buyers waived finance contingencies, they could be in a sticky situation. I have inherited many clients who have learned this lesson the hard way, having had to back out of a beloved house they won through multiple offers due to a prequalification error, and risking their deposit in the process.
Lastly, while it’s a hard sell, what people don’t realize is that a strong preapproval from a reputable mortgage specialist should placed the buyers in a more desirable position than even a 100% cash buyer. The sellers have no control over what a cash buyer will do with their money between offer acceptance and close of escrow. While not probable, it is possible that the purchase money could go down the drain through a big Vegas visit, or disappear through a bad stock day. Conversely, if the bulk of purchase money is coming from a reputable lender, and the lender has already preapproved, then sellers can have the comfort of knowing that the money is not going anywhere and not accessible to the buyers for any purpose except to buy the house. As a seller, I would much rather to see a strong preapproval than an all cash buyer.
- Make sure you know whether you are getting a prequalification or a preapproval (hint, latter is better!) If the person you’re speaking to can’t explain the difference to you – SWITCH!
- If you are getting a preapproval, ask which lenders you have been preapproved with (and why those were chosen)
- Before you waive finance contingencies, make sure that the person doing your preapproval has verified your credit, your cash reserves, and your household income
Tags: Financing-Process, For buyers, Good realtors, Home buying, Loan Application, Menlo Park, Mortgages, Mountain View, Multiple offers, Palo Alto, Preapproval, Prequalification, Real estate, Willows