Shelli Dore’s Real Estate Blog

Archive for the ‘Lending’ Category

New rules governing title insurance in Colorado are taking effect May 1, the state Division of Insurance announced Wednesday.  The rules are intended “to ensure consumer interests are protected in real estate transactions,” officials said. Here is the text of a news release issued Wednesday by the Division of Insurance, a unit of the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies:

NEW RULES FOR TITLE INSURANCE TAKE EFFECT MAY 1, 2010

Although many homebuyers are not educated in the intricacies of title insurance, the Division of Insurance is working to update title rules and regulations to ensure consumer interests are protected in real estate transactions.

Effective May 1, 2010, there’s a newly adopted version of Division of Insurance Regulation 3-5-1, which governs the title insurance industry in Colorado.

“When purchasing a home, having title insurance in good order helps buyers be sure that there are no problems with the home’s title and that the seller really owns the property,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison. “The recent update to our regulation recognizes the inherent value in services provided by title insurance companies and agencies, and moves to ensure these entities are compensated for valuable services, rather than passing hidden costs back to consumers in the form of higher premiums and closing fees.”

While much of the regulation has remained the same as past versions, there are a number of important changes in the way title insurance entities must now conduct business:

• Free property reports – title insurance companies and agencies are no longer permitted to issue property reports (known as ownership and encumbrance reports, or O&Es) without charge. Also included in this prohibition is the issuance of preliminary title commitments (known as TBD commitments) without charge. These products represent a considerable expense for the title industry, expenses that are passed back to consumers in the form of higher premiums and closing fees.

• Free classes for real estate agents – while title entities may still teach classes relating to title insurance without charge to the attendees, but any costs associated for classes not primarily related to the business of title insurance must be passed back to the attendees. Classes such as internet marketing for real estate brokers, or how to prepare a real estate contract, may not be provided without charge.

• Title commitments and disclosures – a number of updates affect the internal operation of title entities, including clarifications on what is considered a reasonable search and exam, disclosure requirements on the title commitments regarding true ownership of properties, and prohibitions against overly broad coverage exceptions.

• Consumer funds – title entities are no longer permitted to invest the funds they hold for other parties without first receiving written approval from necessary parties. Additionally, a title entity that earns interest on fiduciary funds must now give disclosure that interest is or was earned, and give consumers the opportunity to receive payment for any interest over certain administrative fees.

The updated regulation can be viewed at: http://www.dora.state.co.us/insurance/regs/F3-5-1_030510.pdf

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Aggressive steps readied to fight foreclosures – The Denver Post.

By Renae Merle and Dina ElBoghdady
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to overhaul how it is tackling the foreclosure crisis, in part by requiring lenders to temporarily slash or eliminate monthly mortgage payments for many borrowers who are unemployed, senior officials said Thursday.

Banks and other lenders would have to reduce the payments to no more than 31 percent of a borrower’s income, which would typically be their unemployment insurance, for three to six months. In some cases, administration officials said, a lender could allow a borrower to skip payments altogether.

The new push, which the White House is to announce today, takes direct aim at the major cause of the current wave of foreclosures: the spike in unemployment. While the initial mortgage crisis that erupted three years ago resulted from millions of risky home loans that went bad, more recent defaults reflect the country’s economic downturn and the inability of jobless borrowers to keep paying.

The administration’s new push also seeks to more aggressively help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, offering financial incentives for the first time to lenders to cut the loan balances of these distressed homeowners. Those who are still current on their mortgages could get the chance to refinance on better terms into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The problem of “underwater” borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Foreclosure relief

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

The measures have been in the works for weeks, but President Barack Obama is finally to release the details days after his watershed victory on health care legislation. Following that bruising battle on Capitol Hill, his administration is now welcoming a chance to change the subject and turn its attention to the economy and, in particular, the plight of the unemployed — concerns that are paramount for many Americans.

In addition to mortgage relief for unemployed borrowers, the program features four other key elements, including several steps to address the growing population of borrowers who owe significantly more than their home is worth, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official announcement had not been made.

Financial incentives

The first key element is that the government will provide financial incentives to lenders that cut the balance of a borrower’s mortgage.

Banks and other lenders will be asked to reduce the principal owed on a loan if the amount is 15 percent more than their home is worth. The reduced amount would be set aside and forgiven by the lender over three years, as long as the homeowner remained current on the loan.

Until recently, administration officials had been reluctant to encourage lenders to cut the principal balance, worrying that this would encourage borrowers to become delinquent. But as federal regulators have struggled to make an impact on the foreclosure crisis, those qualms have weakened.

Second, the government will double the amount it pays to lenders that help modify second mortgages, such as piggyback loans, which enabled homebuyers to put little or no money down, and home equity lines of credit. Third, the new effort also increases the incentives paid to those lenders that find a way to avoid foreclosing on delinquent borrowers even if they can’t qualify for mortgage relief. For example, the administration is scheduled to launch a program next month encouraging lenders to have borrowers sell their homes for less than the mortgage balance in what is known as a short sale.

Fourth, the administration is increasingly turning to the Federal Housing Administration to help underwater borrowers who are still keeping up their payments. The aim is to help these borrowers refinance into a more affordable loan. The FHA will offer incentives to lenders that reduce the amount borrowers owe on their primary mortgages by at least 10 percent.

Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) was introduced to simplify and streamline the short sale process. HAFA accomplishes this in the following ways: 

  • Compliments the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) by providing viable alternatives for borrowers who are HAMP-eligible
  • Utilizes borrower financial and hardship information collected in conjunction with HAMP, eliminating the need for additional eligibility analysis
  • Allows the borrower to receive pre-approved short sale terms prior to the property listing
  • Prohibits the servicer from requiring, as a condition of approving the short sale, a reduction in the real estate commission agreed upon in the listing agreement
  • Requires that borrowers be fully released from future liability for the debt
  • Uses standard processes, documents and time frames
  • Provides financial incentives to borrowers, servicers and investors

HAFA provides financial incentives as follows: 

  • Financial incentives for lenders participating in the program include a $1,000 servicing bonus
  • Homeowners can receive up to $1,500 in relocation assistance (which, in some cases, may classify as taxable income) after a short sale or deed-in-lieu has been executed
  • Lenders pay all servicing fees – homeowners suffer zero out-of-pocket expenses

If you (or someone you know) are a homeowner looking for answers, or would like to determine if you qualify for HAFA, contact me at 303-942-0648.  I’m here to help.  

Sources:

HousingWire “Treasury to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

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Shelli Dore

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The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program is a government-sponsored initiative led by the US Treasury Department assisting all Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)-eligible homeowners in avoiding foreclosure, specifically through short sales or deeds-in-lieu.

First introduced November 30, 2009 in Supplemental Directive 09-092 as part of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), HAFA assists eligible homeowners in quickly and effectively implementing short sales by providing financial incentives to lenders that work in conjunction with HAMP to assist homeowners in need.

The program was introduced in part with the intent to remove the stigma from short sales and help keep communities from being destroyed through massive foreclosures. HAFA in its current state is only applicable to conventional-type, non-Governmental Serviced Enterprises (non-GSE) mortgages and therefore does not apply to loans owned or guaranteed with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These organizations may have plans to release their own versions of HAFA.

If you (or someone you know) are a homeowner looking for answers, or would like to determine if you qualify for HAFA, contact me at 303-942-0648. I can help.

Sources:
• 1Making Home Affordable “HAMP Supplemental Directive 09-09” (2009): https://www.hmpadmin.com/portal/docs/hamp_servicer/sd0909.pdf

• 2HousingWire “Treasure to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

• 3HousingWire “Treasure to Announce New Program to Avoid Foreclosure” (2009): http://www.housingwire.com/2009/10/12/treasury-to-announce-new-program-to-avoid-foreclosure/

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Shelli Dore

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…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve on Tuesday repeated its pledge to hold interest rates at record lows to foster the economic recovery and ease high unemployment.

But the Fed’s assessment of the economy at its meeting Tuesday was a bit more upbeat. It said the job market is stabilizing, which was an improvement from its January statement when it said the deterioration in the labor market was abating.

It also said business spending on equipment and software has risen significantly, also an upgrade from its last assessment.

Still, the Fed cautioned that consumer spending could be dampened by high unemployment, weak wage growth, lower wealth and tight credit. And it noted weakness in the commercial real-estate and homebuilding markets.

“The Fed painted the economy in a slightly brighter shade,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. “It’s been painted black for so long. Now, it is a lighter shade of gray.”

The Fed held its target range for its bank lending rate at zero to 0.25 percent, where it’s been since December 2008. In response, commercial banks’ prime lending rate, used to peg rates on certain credit cards and consumer loans, has remained about 3.25 percent — its lowest in decades.

Super-low rates benefit borrowers who qualify for loans and are willing to take on more debt. But low rates are hard on people living on fixed incomes and earning scant returns on their savings.

The Fed’s pledge to keep record-low rates for an “extended period” relieved investors. The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day up nearly 44 points. Before the announcement, it had posted a gain in the single digits.

Prices for Treasurys rose slightly. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 3.66 percent from 3.68 percent just before the announcement.

The Fed made no changes to a program to drive down mortgage rates and bolster the housing market, even as a government report Tuesday showed housing construction tumbling in February.

Source: The Denver Post
03/17/2010 01:29:32 AM MDT
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…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.

By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

Moving to defuse concerns that an interest rate rise could be just a few months away, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Wednesday he expects rates to stay “exceptionally low” for an “extended period.”In his semiannual report to the House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke cited high unemployment, “subdued inflation trends and stable inflation expectations” as reasons for keeping its fed funds rate near zero.

“That’s significant,” says James O’Sullivan, chief economist of MF Global. He says it likely means the Fed won’t boost its benchmark rate until late fall.

Similar language has been commonplace in Fed statements during the recession. But signs that the recovery is gaining traction — along with the Fed’s move last week to bump up interest rates on loans to banks — have fueled predictions that borrowing costs for consumers may soon rise. 

The Fed last week raised the discount rate it charges banks for emergency loans by a quarter point, prompting a sell-off in stock and bond markets. But Bernanke reiterated Wednesday that the increase in the discount rate is “not expected to lead to tighter financial conditions for households and businesses and should not be interpreted as signaling any change” in monetary policy.

He added that policymakers expect the economy to grow a “moderate” 3% to 3.5% this year and about 4% in 2011. Unemployment, he said, will fall slowly from January’s 9.7%, remaining at 6.5% to 7.5% by the end of 2012. Inflation should stay low — 1% to 2% — through 2012.

The recovery’s fragility was underscored Wednesday as new home sales tumbled to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 in January.

To jump-start the economy and lower mortgage rates, the Fed is buying $1.75 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, Treasury bonds and other debt. It plans to end mortgage security purchases by March 31. Some economists fear that will drive up mortgage rates. Bernanke said the Fed will “continue to look at” whether more purchases are needed.

But he noted the Fed will still hold $1.25 trillion in mortgage notes. That in itself, he said, should keep rates “below what they otherwise would be.”

Others worry the plethora of Fed-infused cash in markets will spark inflation. Bernanke said the Fed has tools to reclaim the money, including selling securities with agreements to buy them back later.

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Shelli Dore

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…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.

January 25, 2010
Mortgage Support Services
www.mtgsupportservices.com

Here’s the latest tip from The Mortgage Experts:
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the government agency that oversees the FHA loan program, has recently announced that the up-front mortgage insurance premium that applies to FHA loans will be increasing from 1.75% of the loan amount to 2.25% of the loan amount.  The change affects all FHA loans with an FHA case number assigned on or after April 15, 2010.

Although there will probably be an outcry against the change, it really has an extremely small effect on the borrower because almost all borrowers choose to finance the up-front mortgage insurance premium into their loan.  For every $100,000 in loan amount, the monthly payment will go up by only $2.68 if the interest rate is 5%, and by only $2.84 if the interest rate is 5.5%.  Hardly a deal killer.

Call us with any questions and call us if you want to work with the best mortgage bankers in Colorado.

The mortgage industry is constantly changing.  Align yourself with the Mortgage Experts and take advantage of all the opportunities.

If your buyers need information on how to get approved, the loan application, closing costs, all the disclosures, or anything else related to a mortgage, click here.

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Your friend in the real estate business,

Shelli Dore
Friend me on Facebook!
Connect with me on LinkedIn!
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…Remember! The next time you are in a conversation with someone who is thinking about a move – IN ANY CITY OR STATE IN THE US OR CANADA – call me first! I can help make sure your friends, family members and work associates are very well taken care of.


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