Big Rate Improvement, and new AMAZING mortgage loan products!

Happy Easter everyone!  You have got to hear about these new loan products we have available … such as 20-financed properties, only ONE-year taxes for self-employed borrowers, asset-based loans, and more … watch today’s video!

Appraisal Fraud in Clackamas, Oregon? , by Brett Reichel,

Wowza…..pretty bold headline, isn’t it?

How can that claim be made or the question raised?

First – a quick note on technicalities on appraisals – Comparable Sales are compared to the Subject property to try to lead the appraiser to a supportable “opinion of value”.   Differences in properties are accounted for by “adjustments” to the comparable sale, which then leads to an “adjusted value” of the comparable.  The adjustments are supposed to equalize differences in properties.  Adjustments are supposed to be supported through market analysis, specifically “matched pair analysis“.

A simplified example of a “matched pair analysis” would be two houses that are identical in every way, with the exception of one of them having a fireplace.  House A, without the fireplace sells for $100,000, and House B, with the fireplace sells for $101,000.  What’s the value of the fireplace?  Since the houses are identical in every way, the value of the fireplace is clearly $1,000.  In that market area, in that price range, fireplaces are worth $1,000 and until proven differently, the appraiser is justified in adjusting comparable sales $1,000 for fireplaces (having them or not having them).

One of the things we’ve seen adjustments for lately, is the adjustment in “time”.  This adjustment is made for changes in the market between when a comparable sale is sold and when your subject sold.  If the market is dropping, then the adjustment to the comparable would be downward, and in a rising market, upward.

As you might suspect, appraisers have been making this adjustment…..a lot….lately.  The problem is, they have been skipping the “matched pair analysis” process and just using median prices to justify the adjustment.  This is NOT acceptable appraisal practice.  But, if it’s become the norm, if it’s become acceptable, it should apply when median prices escalate.

Thus the headline.  A recent market report indicates that median prices have been on a 90 day upswing in Clackamas, Oregon.  Have the appraisers reversed their course and adjusted upward for time?  No they haven’t.  Why?

Lender pressure is why.  The whole point of industry reform (HVCC and/or Dodd-Frank) was to eliminate lender pressure, but now the lenders have even greater methods of applying pressure with the new rules.  Really, the problem starts in two places, regulation and the GSE‘s.   The GSE’s are Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.  Their forms require the use of Median Prices.  Fannie/Freddie, Barney and Chris (a criminal “friend of Angelo”) are behind this lender fraud.  The rest of the market is captive and held to their criminal standards, including the poor appraiser.

Frankly, this only helps the banks, and it doesn’t do anything for the borrower, the seller.  It doesn’t help stabilize our markets or improve our economy.

What to do?  Well, don’t shoot the appraiser – he/she can’t do anything about what the lenders force them to do.  Complain to the lender, complain to your legislators, complain to regulators, call Elizabeth Warren, complain long, hard and loud….maybe if enough voices are heard we can get out from under the tyranny of the banks and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Credit score gaps narrow for FHA loans: Quality Mortgage Services, by Jason Philyaw,

The credit score gap for 2010 loans through the Federal Housing Administration fell 43 points from 2006 levels, according to Quality Mortgage Services.

The mortgage quality-control services firm said its data show the average credit score of FHA loans ranked as excellent in 2006 was 665 whereas the average score of a loan ranked fair was 603 for a gap of 62 points. For FHA loans originated so far this year, the firm’s data show excellent loans have average credit scores of 707 while fair loans average scores are 688 for a difference of 19 points.

“This is good news for investors because of the increase number of loans going for securitization where the borrower has a lower probability of a historical or future 90-day late credit scenario,” Quality Mortgage Services executive vice president Tommy Duncan said.

The Franklin, Tenn.-based company performs post-closing quality-control audits and tracks trends of mortgages.

“The decrease in the credit score gap shows that the FHA loan product is limiting itself to home buyers and reducing the number of applicants that would have normally qualified for a FHA loan in 2006,” Duncan said. “Also, this trend may make it more difficult to associate high-risk loans with certain credit score ranges and may place more focus on ratios. This data shows that underwriting templates have adjusted to a higher credit score standard to obtain a FHA loan and may be preventing the tradition first-time homebuyer, or low to moderate income earners, from obtaining a FHA loan.”

Write to Jason Philyaw.

Refinance Demand Up as Mortgage Interest Rates Maintain Low Levels, by Rosemary Rugnetta,

September 2, 2010 ( – As mortgage interest rates continue to maintain low levels, refinance demand continues to increase across the nation. According to the Mortgage Banker’s Association, refinances have reached a 15 month high, the highest point since May of 2009. Rates are at the lowest point than any other time since Freddie Mac began keeping track in 1971. Mortgage applications rose for the fourth straight week with refinances accounting for the bulk of the demand. This is due to mortgage interest rates that continue to remain low with the 30 year fixed rate at 4.125% and the 15 years fixed rate at 3.625%.

The current refinance demand is not surprising considering the record low mortgage rates that have continued for the past several weeks. After a slow start, these low mortgage rates are finally spurring home owner interest. Unfortunately, not all home owners can refinance with these historic rates. Those who are underwater due to the depressed housing market and those whose credit has been compromised will not be able to take advantage of the market’s record low interest rates. On the other hand, for others, especially those who have refinanced within the past two years, it is a great time to do it again. In addition, those home owners who currently have adjustable rate mortgages that are about to reset, could benefit from refinancing at this time into a fixed rate mortgage.

The demand for refinances, which has continued to increase each week, could also be a positive sign for the weak economy. The current low mortgage interest rates have made it possible for home owners to refinance into a better interest rate loan or a shorter length loan. Many with higher interest 30 year loans are finding that, at today’s rates, it is in their best interest to refinance into a 15 year mortgage which is, in many circumstances, cheaper. By putting extra cash in consumers hands, they are able to pay off outstanding debts, money can be saved or just put back into the economy through spending. Although it is not certain if this refinance boom will do anything to stimulate the economy, this just might be the boost that the sluggish economy is in need of.

It is anyone’s guess at which way mortgage rates will go from here. If mortgage interest rates maintain these low levels or drop even lower, refinance demand should go up with more home owners deciding to refinance during the fall months just in time for the Holiday season. In the meantime, home owners probably should not wait for rates to go much lower since anything can happen with such a volatile market.

The Path to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Approval,

So, you have been a mortgage broker for a while now, and you think you are ready for the next step: approval by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a Seller and Servicer, so you can service your own loans.

In general, to be an approved Seller and Servicer for either FNMA or FHLMC, you are going to need to meet the following requirements: a corporate net worth of $500,000 to $1 million; adequate warehousing lines; three letters of reference; errors and omissions insurance and fidelity insurance; an excellent quality control program; and personnel experienced in all aspects of mortgage origination, processing, underwriting, funding and shipping, administration, service accounting and, of course, servicing itself.

These are only general, minimal requirements, so let us take a more detailed look at the requirements and the process. I preface the following information with the understanding that the reader realizes that approval of a firm by FNMA or FHLMC is at their complete discretion and is, to a great extent, a judgment call based upon your total package and all the factors included in it. All requirements are subject to change.

As far as FHLMC approval goes, net worth requirements are either $1 million or $500,000, depending upon whether you use the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) net worth of $1 million, or the FHLMC definition of acceptable net worth ($500,000). Unfortunately, a lot of potential applicants are not aware of the $500,000 net worth possibility. Even a call to Freddie Mac still found the operator not aware of that option, and claiming $1 million was a hard, fast requirement to be approved.

Acceptable net worth is defined by FHLMC as GAAP net worth minus any of the following: goodwill, purchased servicing, capitalized excess servicing, investments in joint ventures, investments in limited partnerships, REO, property, plant and equipment, receivables from affiliates, investment in affiliates, other intangibles and other assets, and deferred taxes on capitalized excess servicing. Audited financial statements are to be provided as part of the approval package.

One requirement that many still think is in force, but is not, is the requirement that a mortgage company be approved by HUD-FHA in order to be a FHLMC Seller and Servicer.

Additional requirements include having an acceptable quality control program; Errors and Omissions insurance and Fidelity insurance of $300,000 minimum coverage; a business plan (specific and reasonable for short and long term strategies); three reference letters from investors; credit reports on managing executives; adequate experience in origination and sales; and experience in underwriting, administration, default management, REO servicing and investor accounting, and servicing. Servicing is usually the weak spot for mortgage companies. You must show that whether or not you use a sub-servicer, and you have staff with more than adequate ability and knowledge to handle servicing. FHLMC no longer says you need a specific amount of servicing on the books to be approved and, in fact, you can be approved with no servicing, but the stronger the package, the more likely you will be approved.

If you are accepting Third Party Originated (TPO) loans, you also have to provide information on your standards and procedures for accepting and servicing them, since there have been so many problems with the history of these loans.

In order to apply to FHLMC, you request an application package (call 800-Freddie) and follow the instructions completely. You will need to submit resumes, financial statements, credit reports, a business plan, various certifications, the approval you want, a list of parent or subsidiary companies, corporate liaisons in various corporate capacities, any legal problems with company or managing officers, a list of investors (including their reference letters), a list of your warehouse lenders, quality control program and questionnaire, number and quantity of loans originated and sold in the last two years, number and quantity of loans serviced plus your delinquency ratios, copy of insurance coverage and all other pertinent information you feel would help your package. There is a $1000 application fee.

As far as FNMA is concerned, their requirements are very similar to those of FHLMC. There are differences, though, and as I list the general requirements (FNMA also can request any additional information it needs; the application package is a guideline and basis from which to work), any item that is different will be identified with an asterisk.

You need a corporate net worth of at least $500,000, a quality control program, experienced personnel in all areas pertinent to the business, proof that the personnel have not had any problems when employed at other FNMA-approved entities, a servicing system in place (your own or sub-services), Errors and Omissions and Fidelity insurance (same dollar amounts), references, credit reports, history and scope of the business, list of any owner of five percent or more of the company, audited financial statements, estimated volume to be sold to FNMA during the first 12 months, and availability of all key personnel for an on-site interview with FNMA staff.

In order to apply to FNMA, call the nearest regional office and request an application package. You will return the following information (some of it on their forms): areas you operate within; the approval you are applying for; any legal disclosures of problems with the company or personnel; narrative on history and scope of the company; resumes in same areas as FHLMC; investors you are currently servicing for; proof of Errors and Omissions and Fidelity coverage; financial statement; quality control program; FNMA Selling ad Servicing Contracts; estimated first 12 months sales volume; quantity and dollar amount of loans originated in the last three years; credit authorizations; number of employees in servicing and origination; liaison personnel in selling, underwriting, servicing and investor accounting; number and dollar amount of loans serviced; list of delinquencies; list of warehouse lines; and various certifications, along with a $1000 application fee.

To summarize, if you have, or are willing to acquire, the net worth, the insurance and plenty of experienced personnel, and can show you have the corporate capacity to meet all of the approval requirements of FNMA or FHLMC, maybe you should consider becoming a Seller and Servicer. The mortgage business is in an improving cycle, with the housing market (new and resale) beginning to show signs of coming alive again. This may be your time. But remember, it is not right for everyone, so be sure the approvals and servicing would fit into your corporate goals.