HOW TO TRADE-UP (OR DOWN) USING A REVERSE MORTGAGE

Houses on stacks of coins and calculator on dollar bills

Home prices in many markets have gone up recently.  This is leaving many retirees with sticker shock when it comes to trading up, or even trading down.

Consider Anna and Olaf who are in the process of selling their $400,000 home.  They’ll be left with net proceeds of approx. $364,000 after paying 9% in sales expenses (transfer taxes, real estate commissions, etc.).  The new house they want to purchase costs $500,000, leaving them $136,000 short.

  • Option 1: sell or liquidate $136,000 worth of investments or retirement assets. They will need to “gross up” the withdrawal for taxes if the funds are in a taxable account such as a conventional 401(k).  Assuming a 25% tax bracket, they will actually need to withdraw $181,333 from the account, pay their 25% income taxes, and walk away with net proceeds of $136,000.  Ouch!
  • Option 2: use a $136,000 Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), also known as a “reverse mortgage”. In this case, there would be no monthly mortgage payment.  Anna and Olaf could preserve their retirement assets and buy their new home without any impact on their cash flow.

Please contact me for more information or if you’d like for me to run the numbers for your situation.

A SHORT HISTORY OF “UNDERWRITING”

 

Lloyd's of London

If you’ve ever applied for a mortgage, an insurance policy or a car loan, your application went through an “underwriting process”.  Ever wonder why the underwriting process was so intense and detailed?  Well, here’s a short history that puts it all in context:

The word “underwriter” dates back to the story of Lloyd’s of London, which is the world’s oldest continuously operating insurance company.  Lloyd’s of London started as London coffee house in the shipping district of the city.  “Underwriters” were individuals who signed underneath the line on the bottom of insurance contracts that insured the merchant ships.  They offered their personal guarantee and took personal liability for the decisions they made…  If the ship went down, and the cargo was lost, the underwriters had to personally pay the claim on the insurance contract.  Needless to say, they took their job very seriously!  One wrong decision could completely wipe them out financially.

Today, the underwriting guidelines for home mortgages in the US, are determined by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Veteran’s Administration (VA), the Rural Housing Service (RHS), and the US federal government itself, through the Dodd-Frank Rules and Regulations.  Please see the mortgage money flow chart below.  Because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy the mortgages, and because the FHA, VA and RHS guarantee or insure the mortgages, these are the organizations that set the underwriting guidelines in the US.  Like those “underwriters” several hundred years ago in the city of London, these folks are the ones who are on the hook if the mortgages go into default.

Now of course, the banks and mortgage companies also have some liability as well.  For example, if a mortgage goes into default due to some negligence on the part of the mortgage company, Fannie Freddie, the FHA and US government can all go after the mortgage company for damages.  They can require the mortgage company to buy back the loan or pay penalties.  THAT is why the underwriting process is so intense and detail-oriented.  Please contact me if you have any questions or for further information.

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

Why Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step |MyKCM

In many markets across the country, the amount of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

Bottom Line

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.

Home Prices Up 5.61% Across The Country!

Home Prices Up 5.61% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report.
  • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
  • Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!
  • Vermont was the only one state where home prices are actually lower than they were last year.

Why Is There So Much Paperwork to Sign to Get a Mortgage?

Why Is There So Much Paperwork to Sign to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

We are often asked why there is so much paperwork mandated by the bank for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today. It seems that the bank needs to know everything about us and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank prove beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of affording the mortgage.

During the run-up in the housing market, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allows you to get a mortgage interest rate as low as 3.43%, the latest reported rate from Freddie Mac.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990’s and 6.29% in the 2000’s). If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of less than 4%, they would probably bend over backwards to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

Supply & Demand Impacts Real Estate

How Supply & Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The Concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low & demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to out-pace Seller Supply!

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

Fannie Mae’s “What do consumers know about the Mortgage Qualification Criteria?” Study revealed that Americans are misinformed about what is required to qualify for a mortgage when purchasing a home.

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Fannie Mae’s survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 76% of Americans either don’t know (40%) or are misinformed (36%) about the minimum down payment required.

Many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home. New programs actually let buyers put down as little as 3%.

Below are the results of a Digital Risk survey of Millennials who recently purchased a home.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

As you can see, 64.2% were able to purchase their home by putting down less than 20%, with 43.8% putting down less than 10%!

Myth #2: “I need a 780 FICO Score or Higher to Buy”

The survey revealed that 59% of Americans either don’t know (54%) or are misinformed (5%) about what FICO score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans. As you can see below, 54.1% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

2 Myths About Mortgages That May Be Holding Back Buyers | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will definitely make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.  Take advantage of the Home Express Mortgage Plan and let us save you time and money buying a home with the Home Express Guarantee.