Using Gift Funds or a Co-Signer to Help With Your Mortgage

gift 1

Should I Pray or Should I Co?   I tend to see a fair amount of high loan-to-value mortgage scenarios, mostly because real estate values here in Marin County, the San Francisco Bay Area and coastal California, in general, tend to be high.  And I think it also has a lot to do with the formidable task of saving the funds necessary to purchase some homes, which we know can take a prohibitively long time.  So 10% down payments, or even less, are not at all uncommon, and I’ll see these … [Read more...]

Will Refinancing Cause my Property Taxes to Go Up?

Will refinancing cause my property taxes to rise

Because the current interest rate environment remains conducive to refinancing, a concern that some have about taking action stems from confusion related to how their property taxes are determined, and specifically the question, "Will refinancing cause my property taxes to go up?"  It goes without saying that nobody wants to save money via refinance, only to see it evaporate in the form of higher real estate taxes.  But is this a real threat?  Or is it safe to assume that simply by refinancing … [Read more...]

A Pragmatists Guide to Qualified Mortgages (QM)

Los Angeles mortgage, new rules

A Pragmatists Guide to Qualified Mortgages (QM) On January 10, 2014, new mortgage rules will go into effect that will change the way home loans are originated by just about every institution.  These changes stem from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passed in 2010.  Here is what a buyer, seller and borrower need to know: Conforming Loans You are a buyer with more than a 5% down payment.  Your loan amount falls somewhere below the conforming loan limit of … [Read more...]

What Happens if the Appraisal Comes in Low?

Understanding Los Angeles Property Appraisals

I thought I would address a question that comes up either occasionally (or frequently, as the real estate market might dictate...):  "What happens if my appraisal comes in low?"  And so I'd like to cover the relationship between purchase price and appraised value while providing a few looks into your mortgage options should this dilemma befall your homebuying experience. In all of our examples to follow, we’re going to assume a purchase price of $500,000. We’ll change the appraised value of … [Read more...]

How to Get the Best Deal on Your Mortgage

How to get the best deal on your Los Angeles mortgage

So you’ve embarked upon the daunting task of shopping for the best mortgage rate? As a 15-year veteran of the mortgage industry myself, I can be reasonably certain that you, the consumer, will not suffer for lack of choices, information or opinions! In fact, the greater likelihood is that you’ll be overwhelmed with options. Imagine yourself as a tourist in Rome, standing on a busy intersection and asking for directions. Everybody wants to help, but since they’re all responding in foreign … [Read more...]

Getting a Mortgage as a Non-Resident or Foreign Buyer

Buying a home in L.A. as a foreign national

Robert Spinosa, a Marin County Mortgage professional, provides an excellent overview of the process of getting a loan for non-residents of the U.S. The Foreign Concepts of Mortgage Lending Too often in mortgage lending we are reminded of the divide that exists between the way things are and the way they ought to be.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the financing options available to non-permanent resident aliens and foreign nationals of the United States.  Maybe due to misconceptions they … [Read more...]