Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bill passed by the House

In a move today, which was coming for about a week or so, the House approved the new bill regarding Fannie-Mae and Freddie Mac. The bill is now being pushed to President Bush's desk by, what they are hoping, is the end of the week.

You can read the full article here:

The bill is designed so that ONLY if the two major mortgage players, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, begin to have "issues", then government will step in and use this bill to infuse capital and lend to the organizations. The estimated cost to the taxpayers, you and me, is roughly $25 Billion dollars.

In addition, a part of the bill would be used to help about 400,000 homeowners with sub-prime loans avoid foreclosure by being able to refinance. However, the instances of foreclosure in the U.S. is surely greater than that.

Hard to say whether the bill will have a positive impact or not. Only time will tell.

USDA Rural Housing Loan Option

The USDA Rural Housing lending program is designed to help low-income families purchase homes in outlying and rural communities. In Arizona, those communities include places in the far West and East Valley cities. This may be a great way to market those attractively priced homes and fit potential buyers with a program that will satisfy their needs.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Provide up to 102% LTV financing for existing homes or new construction based on appraised value (the extra 2% can be the financed mortgage insurance fee)
  • Available to low and moderate-income rural households
    No requirement to be a "first-time" home buyer.
  • Less up-front cash to close requirements than for conventionally insured or FHA loans.
  • No monthly mortgage insurance required. One-time guarantee fee, payable to Rural Development at closing.
  • 30 YR fixed rate loans
  • No PPP

These benefits may help some homebuyers who fit this specific product. You can look up more information regarding the program and benefits at the Rural Housing website.

Good luck and don't hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Three Easy Things to Discuss


Three EASY things to talk about...Sports, Weather, and the Implosion or seemingly near implosion of Fannie and Freddie (at least that is what the media says).

Okay here goes...

Sports - Diamondbacks can't find a hole to squirm into fast enough. With all the promise of April now comes the reality of a young team teetering on the verge of collapse. They salvaged a bit of self respect last night...but it took 11 innings to beat the lowly Nationals, but without April we would be the lowly Diamondbacks. Okay so it isn't that easy to stomach.

Weather - My poor tree in the front of the house looked as though the Big Bad Wolf was standing directly next to it and blowing with all his might. Granted the tree is no bigger than my forearm in diameter but still, the wind gusts last night in Phoenix reached 50 MPH not bad for a Thursday night Monsoon. Hopefully I am smart enough to stay inside and not have my car turned into a luxury four seat boat like some other guy on the freeway last night.

Anyone keeping score because I am 0-2 when it comes to things that are EASY to talk about...

Ah yes, the impending "implosion" of Fannie and Freddie. So I was a little late to reading the WSJ yesterday (it was about 10:30 last night) when I saw the article about the difficulty these two major Mortgage players were having. Fell asleep uneasy and awoke to find that the 41% loss in FNMA stock price by 6:45AM was not a good sign.
Couple that with Indy Mac this week and well...I am 0-3.

When I call you next week...maybe I will talk about "Wipeout" - the new show on ABC. At least then we can have a good laugh at the people bouncing of those big red balls (I do laugh every time - I can't lie). At least it is an escape from the other EASY things to discuss.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Learning to Add Value

As a loan officer, the most difficult aspect of the job is learning how to Add Value to the many Real Estate Professionals that I meet every week. If I can enhance the process of buying a home by bringing value to all parties involved, I will have done my job. There can be many different ways to Add Value within this business, but finding them is the hard part. Here is a list of ways to potentially Add Value to your business partners:
  1. COMMUNICATION: This is essential to the process. Think of it this way...there are three "main" parts to the home buying experience: the Realtor, Loan Officer, and the Homebuyer. Realtors rely on the Loan Officer to "pre-approve" the homebuyer for a loan so that they can help the homebuyer find the home they like. Once the real estate agent helps the homebuyer find that home, it is up to the Loan Officer to process the financial paperwork and make sure the loan is in place and ready prior to the COE date. Along the way there are many steps involved from the appraisal on the property, to the underwriting, to conditions on the loan request, etc. In order to be successful, it is beneficial to communicate quickly and efficiently at every step. Not only when there is a problem, but also throughout the entire process. A phone call to say hello and let all parties know you are still working on the loan will go a long way to adding value to the buyer as well as the real estate agent.
  2. PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE: In this ever changing environment, where more often than not products and programs are axed, it is imperative to understand your Real Estate Agents, their client base and needs, as well as understanding all the changes that are constantly occurring within the market. If there is something you can't do as a loan officer, don't be afraid to meet other loan officers who may have access to other products. Even if you obtain nothing from the deal, the Real Estate Agent will know they can come to you anytime; because even if you can't do it you can still point them in the direction of the program/loan officer that will help get the deal done. They are more apt to using you the next time because they know you aren't just in it for yourself but you are in it for the Homebuyer.
  3. TIME SENSITIVE: Though some may take this for granted and abuse your promptness by waiting until the last minute to ask for something, the majority will appreciate the attitude of getting done today what can and should get done. Some are prone to putting things off until "later" but in a business where you are serving the Real estate agent and the Homebuyer, it is in the best interests of all parties to get done what needs to be done as soon as possible.
  4. UNDER PROMISE & OVER DELIVER: The great motto of the service industry. Never promise what you can't come through on; it looks bad to the Real Estate Agent and to the homebuyer. My goal is to always provide the Agent and the Homebuyer with a great experience, and I know from my experiences that when things are done better, more efficiently, and more quickly than expected I am usually apt for repeat business.
  5. REAPING WHAT YOU SOW: Treat the Agent and the Customer the way you would like to be treated and it will come back to you tenfold. Sometimes in difficult situations it is easy to point blame, lose your temper, or react badly to a situation. 9 times out of 10, that response gets you nowhere. Instead always treat the Agent and the Homebuyer like they are your only customer and give them the utmost respect because that is usually what you will get in return. Don't lose sight of the service aspect of what we do and it will go a long way.

I know that there are many more ways to Add Value to Real Estate Agents and Homebuyers. For example, be willing to teach homebuyers about the loan process (educate them) and offer to help the Agents with any items they may need should the opportunity arise (i.e. open houses, marketing material, flyers, etc.).

I do believe there are more ways to Add Value, and I would love to hear about what other Real Estate Agents find valuable from their loan officers. I believe we can all learn from each other and in so doing make the process better for the Hombuyer. In the end, that is what we are here to do.

I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.

Active Rain Site

You can find great local Scottsdale, Arizona real estate information on Eric Murrietta is a proud member of the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, a free online community to help real estate professionals grow their business.