Our client found the perfect home for an incredible value. We negotiated the sale and a fabulous offer was secured for our buyer. He had instant equity upon closing. But the sale never closed.
We'd recommended lenders to him, but he chose to use another lender. Why? Because he would save $1000 in closing costs.
Unfortunately, this lender rarely spoke to the buyer and would not return our phone calls. Without this communication, it was clear what was happening. Nothing. After two weeks, our client got nervous and decided to switch to a recommended lender. This lender was getting the job done, but having lost the first two weeks of the transaction time, this lender asked for a week's extension.
The seller refused to extend the closing date to accommodate the extra needed time for financing. He decided he'd sold his home for too low of a price and he could get more money for his home. He wanted to put his home back on the market. Our buyer lost this fabulous home and the equity he would've had if he'd been able to close the sale. The equity he lost was worth far more than the $1000 he could have saved on the loan.
It's always important to work with a lender who'll get the job done for you. It's even more critical in our fast paced market. Sellers may not be inclined to let you change lenders or extend the closing time. If you change lenders after the offer has been accepted, the seller has to agree in writing to the lender change. You, as the buyer, can't just up and change lenders without the seller's permission, as you could be in default on the contract and lose your earnest money.* What if you need an extension? The seller also has to agree to any extension to the closing date. If the seller doesn't agree in writing to an extension, then the offer dies on the original closing date and the seller is free to sell the home to another buyer.
Keep in mind how important it is to use a lender with fair pricing, but also a lender who has a proven track record to get the job done. Get referrals from your Realtor, friends or family. Choose a known quanity to do the job. You could lose a lot more than $1000, you could lose the home you want to buy.
*As always, with any legal issues, it's important to seek the appropriate legal advice from an attorney.
After I wrote my last post on the state of the Seattle eastside real estate market, I felt it important to remind buyers that even though it's a seller's market, Interest rates are hot! Interest rates are on your side. Prices are starting to increase, while interest rates are still on the incredibly low side. It's a recipe that calls for action, for not sitting on the fence and for making a move. Literally.
It’s hard to believe that rates are as low as they are these days. If you’re not buying, think about refinancing your home. I just refinanced my home with a 7 year arm for 3.1%! It lowered our monthly payments by $300.
An adjustable mortgage may not work for everyone, but with fixed rates in the low 4% range, there’s a huge savings that can be had there, too.
Buying or refinancing a home or condo now is not for everyone. Unfortunately, some people may not want to or are not in a great position right now to do either. But if it something you’re considering, then check out what the payback would be based on the number of years you might stay in your home. If you plan to be in your home for a while, it could very well be worth refinancing. Talk to a mortgage professional you trust to help you decide if it’s worth taking advantage of these great rates.
How does the government fix the mortgage meltdown mess to ensure nothing like this happens again?
Should buyers be required to have a 20% minimum down payment in order to purchase a home? Is this the answer? Lawmakers in the other Washington, not here in Seattle, are looking into this issue. Congress is currently looking at the Quality Residential Mortgage issue:
As federal regulators wrestle with setting the definition of a qualified residential mortgage (QRM)–which under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act would be exempt from risk-retention rules–a bi-partisan group of U.S. House and Senate lawmakers urged regulators not to be rigid in setting the rules.
Some people might think a large down payment provides more insurance that a buyer can handle the mortgage. After all, if the buyer had the discipline to save a significant amount of money, then the buyer should have the discipline to make mortgage payments. This is true, discipline is required to save a substantial down payment.
But was the lack of a 20% down payment the main source of failed mortgages and the housing meltdown?
Mortgage default is not related as much to a high monthly payment, but to the depreciation of home values and higher unemployment.
A report released by the Boston Fed last week found that home price depreciation is a leading cause of mortgage default, challenging common arguments that attribute rising delinquencies to unaffordable mortgage payments.
“We find that the DTI ratio at the time of origination is not a strong predictor of future mortgage default,” the report said. “A simple theoretical model explains this result.”
“While a higher monthly payment makes default more likely, other factors, such as the level of house prices, expectations of future house price growth and inter-temporal variation in household income, matter as well.”
The economists estimated that a 10 percentage-point increase in the debt-to-income ratio increases the probability of 90-day delinquency by just seven to 11 percent.
Conversely, a one percentage-point increase in unemployment rate raises this probability by 10-20 percent, and a 10 percent fall in house prices raises it by more than half.
From Senator Johnny Isaksen:
“We don’t have a down payment problem in this country, but rather an underwriting problem. I strongly urge regulators to rework their overly rigid down payment requirement for QRM. If left as is, it would make recovery in the housing market almost impossible.”
Mortgage rate and down payment should be based on someone’s overall creditworthiness: credit history, income, employment history, and existing debt.
What happens to those who wish to buy a home, but don’t have the down payment?
Federal regulators have proposed a rule that would require most borrowers to come up with a 20% down payment on a home purchase. Buyers with less than 20% to put down would have to choose between higher fees and rates — up to 3 percentage points more — compared with folks who have the 20% or a 16-year delay while they save up the necessary down payment.
That’s how long it would take the typical American family to save enough money for a 20% down payment and closing costs, according to estimates of 2010 median income and home prices from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and the 2010 national savings rate.
When I read the excerpts from these other blogs, I’m seeing declining house values, unemployment, and bad underwriting as the causes for the financial meltdown. My vote goes to bad underwriting as the main culprit. I’m not seeing a low down payment as the culprit. Everyone knows that changes are still needed for our financing rules, but is the 20% down payment the answer? If you think, no, then please alert your congressional representatives in Washington.