Friday, June 5, 2009

It's all in the Spin!

Life and our outlook on it, is sometimes dependent on how we Spin the situation.
It's the "Half glass full vs. Half glass empty" theory. But it is true, we can apply it to any situation.

For example, with mortgage rates increasing over the last couple of weeks there are two recurring thoughts:

  1. "I can't believe rates have increased to the mid 5% range. That is outrageous."
  2. "Rates have increased but at least we aren't paying 6.5%-7.5% like the historical averages. A thirty year fixed rate in the 5% range, is still a great deal."

Two statements - Two completely different outlooks.

It's the same with gas prices. They have gone higher but they aren't at the highest levels we have seen them (think March/April of 2008)

The question remains: Does it make it any easier?

NO - Is of course the resounding answer.

We all want the best rate, the cheapest gas, the easiest road. But it usually doesn't happen. I locked my fair share of loans in the 4% range, but those people didn't hold out for lower rates, they seized the opportunity. Sometimes timing isn't perfect and we wait too long until what was great passes us by.

I think the goal is to do what you believe is best at the time: based on past experiences and using good decision making skills. They say that "hindsight is 20/20" but perhaps those that say that dwell too much on the past. Think of why you make the decisions at the times that you made them and you will find that you probably made the decision with the best possible information you had available and were okay with it.

Life changes: sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. But one thing remains, another decision is always around the corner. How are you going to Spin it so that you make the best decision at that time. Don't let negativity keep you from moving forward...that might lead to regrets you never want to experience.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"Monetizing" $8000 Tax Credit for Down Payment

On May 29, 2009, HUD released Mortgagee Letter 2009-15.

Initially this letter appears to help First Time Homebuyer's to use their $8000 Tax Credit as a part of their down payment before they actually receive the credit back from the government.

Based on my research this is not the case!

Currently their are 10 States that are participating in "First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Loan Programs" - for purposes of this blog and since I work in AZ, please note that Arizona is not on the list.

In addition, if you read the entire Mortgagee Letter there is a very important Condition listed:

"Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1709(b)(9), the homebuyer's downpayment required for eligibility for FHA insurance may not consist of any funds (including funds derived from a sale of the homebuyer tax credit) provided by the mortgagee, the seller, or any other person or entity that financially benefits from the transaction(or by any third party or entity that is reimbured, directly or indirectly, by the financially benefiting persons or entity). Accordingly, the proeeds of the sale of the tax credit to FHA approved mortgagees, the seller , or any other person or entity that financially benefits from the transaction (or any third party or entity that is reimbursed, directly or indirectly, by the financing benefitting person or entity), may not be used to meet the 3.5% minimum downpayment, but may be used as additional downpayment, buying down of interest rate, or other closing costs." - See Mortgage Letter 2009-15, Page 2

Notice the first part that says, "including funds derived from a sale of the homebuyer tax credit". You cannot use the money in place of the 3.5% down payment, based on the comment above.

The secondary financing essentially works like this: A company could "purchase" your $8k tax credit, charge you $200 for lending you the $8K and put requirements on how you pay them back.

Important points on how they can be repaid:
  • No Cash Back to the Borrower
  • Second lien cant exceed the total amount needed for down payment, closing costs and prepaid expenses.
  • Secondary financing can be "soft" - Meaning no repayment required until the sale or refinance of the property.
  • Must include payments in qualifying ratios if they are required.

Basically the mortgagee letter is intended to let buyers use the $8K tax credit to help pay for closing costs and any extra down payment above the 3.5% required by FHA.

There is no way, up to this point and based on my research, to not be required to put 3.5% down into the new home, unless the money is gifted from a relative.

Hopefully that clarifies the new mortgagee letter. I don't know whether it is good or bad...I just know that it might not be what people were hoping for. Sure it would help get more 1st time homebuyers into homes, but the DPA programs were opposed by HUD for a while, why would they enact a new guideline to help bring DPA programs back???

Kind of makes you stop and think that the perception this might be available in the future is just that - perception and not reality.

here is good news though - 1st time homebuyers or people who haven't owned a home for the past three years, can still receive an $8000 tax credit on the purchase of their new home between now and December 1, 2009 (unless the bill is extended by President Obama).

Happy 1st week in June.

All Quotes taken from Mortgagee Letter 2009-15 from HUD Website:

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