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Loan Limits are Here to Stay… for Now

Written by Clay on . Posted in Current Events, events, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

The maximum conforming loan limits for conventional mortgages through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are staying the same, at least for the moment. fhfa The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced Tuesday that the maximum  loan limits for Fannie and Freddie will remain at $417,000 for most areas of the country and up to $625,500 in more expensive markets. After months of real estate industry angst and 66 House Members signing a letter protesting Acting FHFA Director Edward DeMarco’s stated plan to lower the loan limits. And if you don’t have time let professional property manager from pyramiscompany.com to take care of your real estate. FHFA could still lower the loan limits sometime next year but DeMarco said the agency would give at least six months’ notice before making any changes. This is a very big deal in the Bay Area and other high cost areas of California as the expanded conforming limits provide much needed access to lower cost conforming mortgages. Stay tuned – if Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), President Obama’s nominee to head the FHFA, is confirmed. Many observers think Watt would focus the agency on options for struggling homeowners, and be less inclined to lower conforming loan limits. Watt’s confirmation was blocked by Senate Republicans, but the recent change to remove the option of a filibuster means he now requires only 51 votes to be confirmed.

Mortgage rates up with resolution of fiscal cliff

Written by Clay on . Posted in Rate Updates

fiscal cliff resolvedMortgage rates have jumped 0.250% the past 2 weeks! The 84 basis point drop in bond prices the 1st week of January when an agreement was reached on the “Fiscal Cliff” has been followed by another 60 point drop over the past couple of weeks. Is this a permanent change in rates or should we expect a bounce? It seems to me that the investors are working hard to find good news and not paying as much attention to negative factors. The all-important jobs report should be a market mover tomorrow. Regardless of how the market reacts on Friday, I do expect wholesale lenders to look closer at margins and perhaps mitigate some of the rate increases over the past few weeks. Most have geared up teams to handle increased volume and will want to make sure those folks are busy.

Risky Lifeline for Elderly

Written by Clay on . Posted in reverse mortgage

A Risky Lifeline for the Elderly Is Costing Some Their Home

Anyone considering a reverse mortgage for themselves or their parents should read this story .. Not because it’s accurate but because it does raise the important considerations anyone should be aware of when they consider a reverse mortgage. “New instances of abuse …”

It is important to work with a reputable company. Talk to the person that will handle your loan for a few minutes – that’s the starting place. Confirm that they are a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association – that means they have agreed operate ethically and in the best interest of the client. (www.NRMLA.org) ask about their professional background, how long they have been in the business. You want someone that operates as a financial advisor rather than a salesperson.

wooing seniors with a promises loans are free money”

My mother and your mother told you there is no such thing as a free lunch – and there is no such thing as free money either.  A reverse mortgage can be a wonderful blessing in your life and can be used to cover necessities and can be used to optimize Social Security by delaying starting benefits.  However, it is a loan and there are requirements to pay it back to the lender, with interest.   However, a reverse mortgage does not require monthly mortgage payments and your estate will not be responsible for any repayment beyond the future value of your home. It is important to note payments for property taxes, insurace, utilities, maintenance and other expenses must be made.

“some widows are facing eviction …” If your advisor suggests taking either spouse off the deed … Hang up the phone or toss the bum out. It’s lousy advice and is what happened in two of the examples in this article. A reverse mortgage is for seniors age 62 or older and the risk associated with taking a younger spouse off title is a lousy bet. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working on new rules” Uniform standards will help a bit – but there will always be those who will not comply with even the strictest rules. The best option is to deal with someone who adheres to these higher standards without having to be told to do so by the CFPB. The reverse mortgage solicitation attached in the news story is offensive in every way to reputable folks in the industry.

There is a misconception about the complexity of reverse mortgages – the fundamental difference between a reverse mortgage and traditional mortgage is rather than making monthly payments – the interest and monthly mortgage insurance incurred on the reverse mortgage is deducted from equity reserves. That can relieve a senior from monthly mortgage payments or provide valuable monthly cash flow.  Seniors must plan and make sure they have other sources of cash flow to continue to make their property tax, insurance and HOA payments – as they would whether they had a mortgage or not.

“the loans are highly regulated …”

The FHA insured home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) is highly regulated and advanced independent counseling is required before any transaction can be completed. While this counseling should not take the place of education and detailed analysis available from a reputable reverse mortgage loan advisor, it is a good quality check to make sure all bases are covered. “void left by the big banks have moved smaller mortgage …”

Bad advice can come from any source and that’s why you need to check out who you’re dealing with. Deceptive sales pitches and high-pressure tactics have no place in the reverse mortgage industry – period. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and MetLife got out of the reverse mortgage business for various reasons but mainly because

1) It was difficult to control a large number of loan officers and assure high standards were met at all levels

            2) Each faced significant public relations exposure were they to foreclose on even one borrower who was unable to meet their tax and insurance obligations whatever the reason and             3) Competition in the reverse mortgage space once the HECM Home Equity Conversion Mortgage became the standard – made the business less profitable and a much smaller segment of the big banks business. “… complaints, according to elder-care advocates and federal officials, have been rising during the past year” It makes sensational press to highlight a senior is facing foreclosure and eviction from his or her home. No matter what the circumstances is a terrible outcome. All the more reason to seek out education about the proper use of a reverse mortgage, when it makes sense and when it does not. All the more reason to find a reputable company and individual to work with that is interested in helping you live better.  Your adviser must make sure that adequate plans are made and all the elements of a reverse mortgage are explained and patiently.  I invite the seniors financial adviser  children, or other person they will consult with about a reverse mortgage to be at every meeting and walked the same path as the senior. Only then will I proceed completing the reverse mortgage. Taking people from where they are to where they want to be … That is what we believe and practice at Signet Reverse Mortgage. The fact that all of our reverse mortgage consultants are all current or former CPAs or financial planners and have had years of experience in the business are illustrative of the high standard we operate under.

Treasure Hunt! Part One

Written by Clay on . Posted in Uncategorized

Locating and being able to shut off utilities that are damaged in the event of an earthquake is important for the safety of your family.  This week I’ll show you how to  shut off your gas. Gas Meter – only shut off if you smell leaking natural gas … How to Shut Gas Off in an emergency Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following disasters. It is vital that all household members know how to shut off natural gas. If it is not clear to you how to shut off your gas at the meter, it is important to contact PG&E for guidance. Share the information with everyone in your household. Be sure not to actually turn off the gas when practicing the proper gas shut-off procedure. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out quickly. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call PG&E from a neighbor’s home. CAUTION – If you turn off the gas for any reason, a qualified professional must turn it back on. NEVER attempt to turn the gas back on yourself.

HARP 2.0 Update – in full swing

Written by Clay on . Posted in HARP

HARP 2 – underwater refinance program update … The program itself is in full swing – success if you have a Fannie Mae loan … a bit limited if you have a Freddie Mac loan. No change to the requirement that it only applies to loans sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June of 2009. The HARP 2.0 program is designed to help those that no longer have 20% equity qualify for a refinance and benefit of historically low rates. In short, you have to be current on payments, and your loan has to be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (not the same as who services your loan or where you make your payments). Generally that is going to be a conforming loan (below $625,500). harp 2.0Fannie Mae has a lot more participating lenders so is more successful thus far. Freddie Mac has fewer participating lenders so a bit more of a chore. Also, loans with existing mortgage insurance require a bit of care. Those are details we sort out for you … Rates are fabulous so it’s worth checking if you would benefit from a refinance to record low rates. HARP 3.0 for all those not covered by Fannie/Freddie is a pipedream. It would be really cool if the same benefit would be available for those whose loan is held by the major banks…. Not sure if it will gain any momentum given an election year … stay tuned as we are on it. Lending is hard … Good article that summarizes the current lending environment and why -despite Fannie and Freddie’s best intentions – their own actions make it cumbersome to get a loan these days … Basically Fannie Freddie and FHA may talk about loosening guidelines yet on the backside they are forcing lenders to buy back loans for minor technical infractions in underwriting. That causes lenders to adopt defensive lending and apply overlays to the underwriting process to make certain a forensic review done months and years later will not result in a loan being rejected by Fannie or Freddie. Hopefully if the federal agencies ease their buyback demands, we could see an improved lending environment soon.

Be Prepared For Your OWN Emergency! Part Two

Written by Clay on . Posted in Uncategorized

COMMUNICATION IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY Your cell phone will not work! Many households do not have a land line telephone! Get an FRS radio for each member of the family and put an extra in the family car.  Cell phones are not likely to work – FRS radio will work – but have limited range.  Only designed to get you help and communicate within a short distance (under 2 miles). You can call New Braunfels Car Accident Lawyers | Burch Law Firm whenever there is an accident. For those seeking to clear their criminal record (also called expungement) expungement Michigan law requires meeting several important conditions. Losing a loved one is devastating and traumatizing. A death becomes particularly heartbreaking when it was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought when a person dies as a result of another’s negligence or wrongdoing. Visit wrongfuldeathaccidenthelp.com to get help. There are two different types of civil litigation that could arise when a person is wrongfully killed by the negligent actions of another. A wrongful death action essentially deals with the losses sustained by surviving family members. A survival action, on the other hand, focuses on the losses the decedent would have sustained had he or she survived the incident that caused his or her fatal injuries. REI offers a very good summary of the FRS Radios and GMRS. Check them out HERE. A GMRS radio requires a license but is more powerful and longer range. I’ve found good radios at the following sites: www.amazon.com(FRS radio) Motorola $40 for a pair REI has  Motorola (FRS) for $35 pair (online only), more choices in store Radio Shack also has a several choices. Costco radios have 3 AA batteries … not as good but you still want the flexibility to run on AA batteries Make sure your radio comes with AA batteries.  When the power is out you will want to be able to put new batteries in your radio.  When you purchase it – recycle the battery pack – and carry spare AA batteries GET A HAM RADIO LICENSE/HAM RADIO In the hours and days following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, in some affected areas, Amateur Radio was the only means of two-way communication Get the booklet from the local library! Read, study and find where an exam is available near you. Check it out HERE. Take the 35 question exam (you can take it more than once). Pay a $15 license fee. Check out www.hamcity.com for a LMR Two Way Ham Radio – should cost between $200 – $300. TAKE THE CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) CLASS Go HERE for upcoming classes and the Community Out Reach for the San Ramon Valley Fire Dept. You get a nifty green helmet, goggles, vest and a back pack!  Most of all you will understand how to be more prepared in the event you come across an emergency – a bus accident or an earthquake!  You will be prepared!  

Be Prepared for Your OWN Emergency! Part One…

Written by Clay on . Posted in Uncategorized

There are only 42 fire fighters on duty at any one time in the San Ramon Valley Fire District.  In the event of a large scale disaster – you will have to take care of basic first aid for you and your family until communications and transportation are available to get some medical attention. Read the MyBiosource Learning Center articles to lean about the virus and diseases that could be a threat to your health to see how you could prevent them. BE PREPARED FOR YOUR OWN EMERGENCY: Register with SMART911 This system allows you to provide critical medical information to the 911 dispatch center BEFORE YOU DIAL 911 … important for families with special medical needs! www.smart911.com FILE OF LIFE card alerts responding paramedics to obtain a quick medical history when patient is unable to do so.  A reflective sticker is placed near the front door so responders know to look for the file.  The file is a plastic pouch with a magnet on the refrigerator.  Important for Seniors and anyone with special medical needs.  Stop by any Fire Station and ask for one! Keep First Aid Kit Current Once you have a first aid kit – be sure to replenish supplies used so a complete kit is available in the event of an emergency. BE PREPARED TO HELP YOUR FAMILY OR SOMEONE IN NEED: Know the warning signs of a Heart Attack – Medical attention within the first hour are critical – Discomfort or pain in the center of the chest * Discomfort in the arm(s), back, neck, jaw, or stomach * Shortness of breath * Breaking out in  a cold sweat, nausea, or light headedness. Know the warning signs of a Stroke – act F.A.S.T … FACE – ask the person to smile, does one side of the face droop?  ARMS – ask the person to raise both arms – does one arm drift downwards?  SPEECH – ask them to repeat a simple sentence.  Does speech sound slurred or strange?  TIIME – any symptoms – call 911 – time is critical! Think BASICS – your responsibility early is to keep a patient stable, treat or avoid shock, keep wounds stable and sterile. Basic First Aid and CPR/AED Training  Bay Area Red Cross can help prepare you!  www.redcrossbayarea.org. Daytime, evening and weekend classes. MEDICAL EMERGENCY AT HOME OR AWAY:

-MUST have a first aid kit in your car

-MUST have a first aid kit in your office

-MUST have a first aid kit in your GO BAG!

IN YOUR CAR AND AT WORK- Assume You Will Not Be Able to Return Home: Copy of all your prescriptions – if you cannot return home because of a fire or emergency – you can get a prescription refill 3-10 day supply of medications with you – you must rotate to keep the medications current.  If you cannot return home having these with you could save your life. Anyway, for those business owners who want to transfer or add their building and facilities, they can immediately contact Thomas Mensendiek. He is an expert of this niche market and have placed many clients in medical office spaces for rent or buy. Copy of your medical doctor contact information in the event you have to reach them because you are not able to return home REMEMBER… Even if someone is severely injured it could be hours or days before emergency services are available. You need to be able to provide for your family in an emergency – preparation is key.

The New Reverse Mortgage Magic

Written by Clay on . Posted in reverse mortgage

An April article in Registered Rep magazine by Kevin McKinley details how a senior can purchase a home with a reverse mortgage.  Not sure I would start out an article challenging the knowledge of financial advisors as he does but he continues highlighting “….a lesser-known yet more-intriguing use of the financial tool: letting qualifying buyers purchase a home with a decent down payment, but no mortgage to pay off, and with no in-depth consideration of their income, assets, or credit situation.” You can read the article HERE  (10 second sponsored intro)…or you can give me a call and I would be happy to spend some time with a short presentation outlining how a reverse mortgage should be a consideration in any retiree’s portfolio.  Heck, I can do a presentation for the entire office and it qualifies for CE credit!  
Let me know what I can do to help. 

The MOST Important Part of Your Emergency Preparedness—WATER!

Written by Clay on . Posted in Emergency Preparedness Guide

The first 72 hours after an emergency event you will likely be on your own.  You cannot survive without Water – it is the most important part of your emergency preparedness.  There is a good chance you will not be at home in the event of an emergency so make sure you have some in your car and at work. WATER AT HOME: Store water in plastic bottles – soda bottles work well. Commercially available 50 gallon drums can store water indefinitely. Buy a few cases of water at Costco and store it in an accessible place. Minimum of 15 gallons of water per person for your 72 hour survival. ROTATE your water – replace water every 6 months.  If stored in proper containers you can wait even longer. LABEL your water with the date it was filled. In an emergency -do not over look the water in your water heater and toilet tanks and even in your ice cube trays! WATER HEATER is a source!  Turn the gas or electricity off first.  Then open the drain and turn off the intake valve – it may have contaminated water… open a hot water faucet.  There you go! – 50/60 gals of H2O! Locate your water main – both at the house and the box that EBMUD uses to read your meter. You should also build your house fences and the best workers out there to build your fences are from https://www.beitzellfence.com/.  Make sure it is clear enough to get to quickly.  Make sure that everyone in the household knows where these valves are! DON’T FORGET your furry friends – they will need water too! Avoid storing water where it could get too hot – certainly out of the sun. PURIFYING WATER: Water purification tablets (follow package instructions).  Not as good an option because of a relatively short shelf life. Backpackers water filter – store it with your earthquake kit! Unscented Clorox Bleach with 5.25% sodium hypochlorite – 16 drops per gallon – let stand for 30 minutes – a slight smell or taste of chlorine means it is OK to drink.  If it does not have the smell or taste – treat it AGAIN!  BUY a medicine or eye dropper to accurately measure the bleach.  Tape it to the bottle of Clorox. Household tincture of iodine in the same manner as bleach will work. Boil drinking water for at least 5 minutes (requires fuel). AT HOME AND AT WORK: Quart bottles of water – one for each person in your family in your car. Quart bottles of water at work – store under your desk or accessible place. Specially sealed foil packs of water can be stored up to five years.


 Your body is 80% liquid–you can only live without water for 3 days!

If there is an emergency and you can stay at home, you may have enough around the home to get by for 72 hours. 

What if there is a major fire and you have to leave NOW.  What happens if you are at work or on the way home. 

That is the purpose of water in the car at work and in your 72 hr kit.   Do it today.