Archive for the ‘Mortgage’ Category


 | Comments Off on FICO TRUTHS

FICO logo

FICO logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever you apply for Credit for any of the 5 standard purposes the Lender will require a FICO report. This will be different for each category:

1. Mortgage – Most complete.

2. Auto – Next most complete.

3. Credit Card – Next most complete.

4.Personal loans – Next most complete.

5. Installment loans – Least complete.

Each will give a different FICO Score, Lowest for a mortgage, and highest for the Installment loan.

DO NOT CONFUSE ANY OF THESE WITH THE “FREE” Credit Reports you can get from all 3 of the major Credit Bureaus (EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN and TRANS UNION).

THESE ARE NOT FICO REPORTS and are of no practical use to anyone but you.

Factors contributing to someone's credit score...

Factors contributing to someone’s credit score, for Credit score (United States). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


 | Comments Off on FICO IS BROKEN.

FICO logo

FICO logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




It’s time to tame the FICO god to which the Dinosaurs of FANNIE MAE and FREDDY MAC  bow down, and at whose bidding the American mortgage industry has been tied up by silver ropes.

While I still hold the mortgage lenders greatly to blame for the financial misery of the last 7 years, I also accept their strong desire to make more and better loans now. However they are prevented from doing so by the restrictions required by the industry Overlords (FANNIE and FREDDY).

No matter your politics, our current mortgage system requires a Secondary Market Maker such as we already have with FANNIE and FREDDY. For the vast majority of cases If Bank “A” gives you a mortgage it is planning to sell it to one of these 2 entities.  They in turn will package it along with thousands loans more loans and sell them on to an Institutional investor (i.e. a Pension management Company) to become part of their long term portfolio.

The money they gave to Bank “A” is now available to make another mortgage for another QUALIFIED buyer NOTE the term QUALIFIED because this is where FICO comes into the story.

FANNIE and FREDDY will only buy the BANK “A” mortgage if it meets their qualifying guidelines. One of the most important is a sufficiently high FICO score.  Effectively this means they cannot make a mortgage loan to someone whose credit is excellent but is not reflected as such due to the out of date structures of the FICO score Providers, EQUIFAX, EPERIAN, and TRANSUNION.

These procedures go back to the 1980’s and simply do not reflect today’s society. Their inability to allow for alternate ways to measure financial stability (income self employed and Individual Contractors), Behavioral history, and other liquid assets means that approximately 25% of all qualified potential buyer are unable to get a mortgage. The Banks would love to be able to serve them but without an acceptable FICO score cannot do so.

We desperately need to bring FICO up to date and incorporate it in a Mark 2 version to include some of the other accredited Fair Credit Reporting tools freely available. A primary example is the VantageScore system designed for exactly this situation.

There’s no need to lower credit qualifying standards.

Just bring them into the 21st Century and give the locked out 25% the same home ownership opportunities as the rest of us.




English: AmeriFirst Home Mortgage logo

English: AmeriFirst Home Mortgage logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Vahome1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is it that you never seem to hear anything in the Mass Media about the BEST mortgage available? Especially for 1st time buyers.


                   1. ZERO DOWN PAYMENTS.

                   2. NO PMI.



                   4. UP TO $615,000 PURCHASE PRICE.

                   5. LOWER INTEREST RATES.

 Who do you know that’s a Veteran or ex Veteran trying to buy a home??

 Pass this on to them.



Factors contributing to someone's credit score...

There are many different credit score providers out there. The best known of these are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, due to their being the most important when applying for a mortgage.

As they all use slightly different scoring algorithms, each will provide a different FICO (Credit Score) for any given person.


All regular Mortgage lenders have minimum acceptable FICO score requirements for anyone wishing to get a mortgage approval.


The most important thing to be aware of is that the credit report you get directly from any of these bureaus is not the same as the one the Mortgage Company obtains. (Theirs has much stricter requirements).


You might personally be given a 660 score, but when the Lender runs your credit they get a 640 which may not qualify for their loan on the terms you were hoping for.


I know of at least 12 other Credit Bureaus used by different businesses with industry specific standards, but these are not relevant to Real Estate Mortgage issues.


If you need help improving your Credit Score be very aware that there are more scam artists than reputable professionals in the Credit Repair business.

I can personally recommend Ken Strey who can be reached at:


Scorewell Inc. | 925-478-4732 | | 1371 Oakland Blvd Suite 201 Walnut Creek, CA 94596




Absolute_Mortgage (Photo credit: kathleenleavitt)


A recent study by THE INMAN GROUP showed that 90% of 1st Time Buyers felt they were well prepared when they started the home buying process. By the time they finished 56% said they should have known much more about the financial aspects of home buying.

The top problem areas were:

1. The Mortgage Selection options.

2. The Closing Escrow process, especially loan closing.

3. The Offer and negotiation process.

This supports my personal experience and justifies my firm policy of having a typically 2 hour initial meeting with new buyer clients to discuss these and a few similar areas. This allows us to deal with the probability that many hours spent on the Web has given them a toxic mix of good, wrong, ambiguous, and dangerous data, but no framework in which to analyze it.

The biggest single problem in my experience is the idea that house hunting should start with looking at houses.


It should start with finding the optimal Mortgage FOR YOU based on your current circumstances and future plans.

When you have determined (accurately) how much you can afford and which type of mortgage is best suited for you, should you be using your valuable time to start viewing only homes which meet your parameters and pockets.

NOTE: It’s worth remembering that the 30 year fixed rate mortgage is seldom the best choice for the majority of buyers. However it is always the most expensive.


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 | Comments Off on CREDIT SCORES and MORTGAGES

As most of us know our Credit Score (FICO) has a major influence on whether we can get a Mortgage at all. What’s not always understood is that it also has a huge impact on the interest rate we can get. Here’s a simple way of figuring out how big that impact can be for different scoring ranges: 


A credit score of 620 or lower places you in the “sub-primeborrower category. If you are considered a sub-prime borrower, you will likely pay 3 percent more on a mortgage loan than someone with excellent credit and will likely pay double-digit interest rates on a home equity loan or a line of credit.

*    CREDIT SCORE OF 620 TO 674:

This credit score range is still considered below optimal. If your credit score falls in this range, you will likely pay 2 percent more than borrowers who boast excellent credit ratings.

*    CREDIT SCORE OF 675 TO 719:

If you find yourself in this credit score range, you should find it relatively easy to procure a good loan. You will typically pay up to half a percentage point more than a borrower who has excellent credit in regards to a loan.


If you possess a credit score at or above 720, you have an excellent credit score. This means you will be able to acquire a lender’s most favorable rates and you are in the position to shop around thus finding the best loan for you in regards to term, interest rates and other factors.”

by the way….

Factors contributing to someone's credit score...

Factors contributing to someone’s credit score, for Credit score (United States). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


If you are considering getting help with Credit Repair be aware that the vast majority of organizations claiming to do this are scammers and/or crooks.

I can personally recommend Ken Strey for a professional service. His contact info is below. 

Scorewell Inc. | 925-478-4732 | |



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Things really are getting better. English: Mortgage debt

The mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgage) dropped 23.3 percent in the past year, ending the third quarter at 4.09 percent, down from a year earlier when the rate stood at 5.33 percent, according to data gathered from TransUnion’s proprietary Industry Insights Report. The mortgage delinquency rate also dropped on a quarterly basis, down 5.3 percent from 4.32 percent in the second quarter, the seventh straight quarterly decline.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced a decline in their mortgage delinquency rate between third quarter 2012 and third quarter 2013. Five states – California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah – experienced declines of 30 percent or more in their mortgage delinquency rate. Three states – California, Florida, and Nevada – had double-digit percentage drops in the last quarter.

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 | Comments Off on SMART FHA CHANGE

A great deal has been writen in the past few weeks about the MAJOR good news from FHA. It’s all useful to the professionals but let me try to take out the fluff and show just the bones.

As of August 8th, 2013, people who recently lost their homes due to temorary hardship in any of the following ways have a good chance of qualifying for a new FHA loan:

0. Foreclosure.

o. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure.

o. Short Sale.

o. Bankruptcy (ch 7 and 13).

If you think you might qualify under the new guidelines talk to a Loan Agent who has strong FHA background. Understand that not all of them have strong FHA experience.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration.

Logo of the Federal Housing Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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 | Comments Off on ANALYSIS/PARALYSIS Syndrome

Raven's Progressive Matrices Example

Raven’s Progressive Matrices Example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A nasty medical condition has been diagnosed amongst a small segment of the population here in Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley.

It affects only Highly Educated, Computer Literate, people between 25 and 35, and only when they decide to try to buy a house.

The virus feeds off such people’s addition to “DATA” regardless of accuracy, or relevance to the Home Buying process, and despite the lack of sufficient knowledge to accurately evaluate it.

In a very short time they lose all sense of purpose and truly believe that if they could just know everything there is to be known about the history of a house and all persons who have ever lived in it, plus the ethnicity of every family living within 2 miles of it, and the IQ of all children of these families, there is a “DATA” supported formula which will tell them if they should buy it, and if so, how much they should be willing to pay.

The lack of such a formula throws them a frenzy of inaction leading to the diagnosis of the dreaded ANALYSIS/PARALYSIS Syndrome. Unofficially this is referred to as the “I can’t decide” problem.

Being Highly Educated (NOT THE SAME AS INTELLIGENT) they will blame the problem on their Real Estate Agent who is obviously not finding them the relevant “DATA” needed to make the correct decision.

They then select a new Agent based on his/her promise to provide them all the “DATA” they ask for and to never offer them advice.

To this date no-one suffering from this debilitating condition has  actually bought as house as long before they reach any decision the subject property has already sold at, on average, 15% higher than the price their process suggested.

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Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Home buyers may face an unexpected delay or cancellation of their loan if subsequent financial activity raises any red flags for lenders, especially since Fannie Mae now requires a borrower’s credit to be rechecked right before closing a mortgage.

Making sense of the story

  • Borrowers are advised to keep their credit      picture in the clear by refraining from any purchases that may be seen as      a liability from the lender’s view. For example, the sudden addition of a      $3,000 balance to a new credit card account for an item you’re planning to      enjoy in your new home may cause the lender to send back the loan to      underwriting in order for the calculations to be redone, which could      result in a higher interest rate.
  • If in doubt, borrowers are advised to check      with their loan officer before accruing any new debt so that the purchase      of a new home is not jeopardized.
  • Fannie Mae allows the maximum debt-to-income      ratio to be 45 percent (meaning that a maximum 45 percent of your gross      monthly income can go to cover debt, mortgage and housing expenses).
  • When only one spouse of a couple is named on a      loan, credit rechecks can cause problems if the other spouse has a low      credit score. When the loan is based on one spouse’s income instead of      two, the lender will see a higher debt-to-income ratio.
  • In addition, lenders now routinely re-verify      the employment status of borrowers just before closing, which represents a      standard practice being reignited after the financial crisis. If a      borrower’s employer is undergoing a name change, then the lender also      should be notified to avoid delays.
  • The most creditworthy borrowers may not have      their loan status affected by large purchases before a mortgage is closed,      but those with tighter finances are advised to be more cautious.


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