St Louis Real Estate Search

New Law Improves VA Loan Benefits; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

The new legislation is titled: Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act (H.R. 1627) and has been signed into law on August 6, 2012. Congress expanded the scope of the legislation and specifically mandated improvements in VA home loan benefits through the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program. Realtors and lenders will now be able to help more veterans and their families become homeowners. A portion of the new law makes VA loans available to more surviving spouses, provides easier funding fee waivers for disabled vets and helps single and dual-duty parents with occupancy hurdles. […]

Government funds of up to $25,000 available to assist first-time home buyers

If you are considering buying your first home you may very well be asking yourself if now is the time, have prices bottomed out and trying to weigh the risks of buying a home versus the rewards. Well, if this is the case, allow me to give you some things to put on the “rewards” side of the equation…. For starters, with mortgage rates at historic lows, your monthly mortgage payment in most cases should be much lower than what you are currently paying in rent! Remember this…”Your Landlord says Hi…& Thanks You for Paying His Mortgage.” Also, we have seen flexibility from sellers on negotiations and most are helping in paying for the buyers closings costs…so that just leaves the down-payment! […]

Low Interest Rates and Tougher Underwriting Standards; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

I continue to hear in the news about incredible low interest rates, but the catch is getting approved for a mortgage loan, either for a purchase or refinance. The process is getting harder and harder. In this tighter credit environment, FHA remains to be a great alternative for buyers with limited resources for a down payment and closing costs or past credit problems. Underwriting guidelines are more lenient than conventional guidelines. […]

Things You Should Know Before You Repair Your Credit; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Most banks and lenders use scores calculated by FICO (also known as Fair Isaac) and derived from your reports with the major national credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Be careful, the credit scores sold at popular credit report monitoring websites are NOT the same scores that lenders use! […]

Home mortgages may become more costly in St. Louis thanks to local law

In spite of warning from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the St. Louis Association of REALTORS (SLAR) and other housing-related groups of the damage the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” (Bill #174 introduced by Hazel Erby, District 1) could do to the already struggling St Louis housing market, including increasing the cost of home mortgages, last month the St. Louis County Council passed the bill, it was signed into law by County Executive Charlie Dooley and will go into effect on September 28, 2012. Then, just last week, Lewis Reed, President of the St. Louis Board of Alderman, introduced what is a basically the same bill in an attempt to get the same law enacted by the City of St. Louis. […]

Mortgage Banker versus Mortgage Broker; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

It is important to understand the difference between a Mortgage Banker and a Mortgage Broker. The mortgage company I am with a mortgage banker with over 41 years of serving our community. What does that mean? Picture your community bank and take away everything but the mortgage department. We use our own money to close the loan and select a servicer to handle your monthly mortgage payments. In essence, a mortgage banker controls the loan process from application to closing. […]

The Top Four Appraisal Questions Sellers Ask; St Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

Since the appraised value of home is a key element when considering a purchase or refinance, the following are the top four most common questions about appraisals asked by sellers: […]

A quick guide for using seller concessions when buying a home; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

What are sellers’ concessions? A seller concession can be any negotiation where the seller, builder, developer, salesperson or any interested party gives a credit to the borrower at closing. The seller concession can help lower or eliminate the amount of money a borrower is required to bring to the closing table. […]

FHA Financing is Great Alternative; St. Louis Mortgage Interest Rate Update

FHA remains to be a great alternative for buyers with limited resources for a down payment and closing costs or past credit problems. Underwriting guidelines are more lenient than conventional guidelines. […]

Successful homeownership is the result of a well informed buyer; St Louis Mortgage rate update

ARE YOU PRE-QUALIFIED? Have you given much thought to how much of a mortgage payment would be for your dream home? Should you talk to you mortgage professional before house hunting? Absolutely! Even if you haven’t so much as selected a Realtor®, it’s important to talk with your mortgage professional first. Why? […]

What borrowers need to know about mortgage bankers;  St Louis mortgage rate update

Recently I was contacted by a prospect that was referred to me from a past client. This prospect was interested in a VA loan and had some general questions about the loan process and VA loans. He had mentioned he was currently working with the VA on some credit issues, but the process was taking a long time. It turned out, the prospect was “working” with a mortgage company that had “VA” in their name and there was no affiliation with the VA. I’ve seen this happen numerous times with both VA and FHA where a prospective homebuyer contacts or is contacted by a lender that implies they are who they are not. Know who you are dealing with. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rates Drop Even Further;  Which refinancing option is best for you?

Every borrower’s situation is different. My goal is to provide various options/loan programs that are available to meet the borrower’s needs. When considering a refinance, the following are typical situations borrowers face: […]

The truth about VA loans;  St. Louis Mortgage rate update

Recently, I heard a radio commercial about “special” financing for certain veterans implying this “special” loan is available for a “limited time only.” The good news is that the Veterans Administration (VA) offers an ongoing mortgage loan program to benefit members of the armed forces who have generally served for two years in peace time, or 90 days during conflict. Members of the National Guard or Reserves who have served for six years are eligible along with widows of veterans if the veteran died in a service-related incident. The VA offers loans to: Purchase a New or Existing Home, Rate Reduction Refinance, and Cash-Out Refinance. Borrowers are evaluated by their credit worthiness and their ability to show stable and sufficient income to cover the costs of owning a home, cover other obligations and expenses and have enough left for family support. Traditional credit scoring is not used by the VA in underwriting. Non-married co-borrowers are not permitted. VA loans must be the borrowers’ primary residence. […]

Historic low mortgage interest rates, Refinancing Options & New HUD program

Interest rates have been strong all year, last week however, we saw mortgage backed securities rally each day and with the release of unemployment figures on Friday we are now officially sitting at historic lows! If you have not taken advantage of these rates…what are you waiting for? Maybe you have been told that you don’t have enough equity in your home due to the housing market trending down over the past few years? […]

What’s The Difference Between A Single Family, Second Home and Investment Property?; St. Louis Mortgage rate update

When applying for a mortgage, a borrower’s “Occupancy Type” is a major factor in determining maximum loan-to-value (equity), loan program available and mortgage interest rate. An Owner Occupied property will have better terms (less down payment, better rates) than a Non-Owner Occupied property.

Three Types of Occupancy:

Owner Occupied / Primary Residence -According to HUD, […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Housing Scorecard Finds Promise in Recent Market Data

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of the Treasury released their May Housing Scorecard, which collects key market data and tracks the administration’s recovery efforts. According to the May scorecard, recent market data contains a number of promising indicators and increasing signs of stability. In April, sales of existing homes increased in every region of the country and the number of new homes rose for the first time since 2007. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Jumping through hoops to get a mortgage

A common complaint that consumers have regarding today’s mortgage loan origination process has to do with all of the hoops they have to jump through in order to get a loan. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Rates hit new record low

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates fell to yet another new survey low last week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances fell to 3.91 percent from 3.93 percent the week before. Despite the drop, mortgage loan demand was relatively flat. The Refinance Index dropped 1.5 percent from the previous week and the Purchase Index slipped 0.6 percent. The Market Composite Index, which measures total mortgage loan application volume, fell 1.3 percent from the week before. The refinance share of all mortgage activity was unchanged at 76.6 percent. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Fannie Mae’s Latest Housing Survey

Fannie Mae’s April 2012 National Housing Survey indicates consumer attitudes toward homeownership, the economy, personal finances, and home prices continuing to improve. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; How does amortization work?

By committing to a mortgage loan, the borrower is entering into a financial agreement with a lender to pay back the mortgage money, with interest, over a set period of time. The borrower’s monthly mortgage payment may change over time depending on the type of loan (Fixed, ARM, Interest Only, etc.). However, for this article, we will address the typical 30 year fixed Principal and Interest loan program. So… […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Why Refinance?

With interest rates at all time lows, it is worth the few minutes to do a mortgage check up and determine if a refinance would be beneficial to your situation. Since there are many reasons a homeowner may choose to refinance, we’ll take a look at the few most common reasons to consider a refinance. […]

St Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Cash-To-Close must be Seasoned and come from the Proper Source

Whatever funds the borrower intends to use to close a transaction has to be sourced and seasoned. Providing proper asset documentation and the actual source of the funds is a critical element of the approval and closing process. There’s nothing worse in a real estate purchase than making it all the way through the hoops and hurdles of the approval process just to have a loan fall apart due to the borrower not using an acceptable source of funds in order to close. In other words, “Mattress Money” is no longer a legitimate source. […]

St Louis Mortgage Rate Update; What is Private Mortage Insurance (PMI)?

Mortgage Insurance, also know as Private Mortgage Insurance, is required by lenders on conventional home loans if the borrower is financing more than 80% Loan-To-Value.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) allows borrowers to purchase a property by qualifying for conventional financing with a lower down payment. Private Mortgage Insurance protects your lender against non-payment should […]

St Louis Mortgage Rate Update; FHA Lowers Mortgage Insurance Premiums for loans endorsed before June 1, 2009

Under this program, up-front mortgage insurance premiums will be reduced from 1.75% percent to 0.01 percent of the total loan amount for borrowers with FHA loans made before June 1, 2009. In addition, annual fees will be cut to 0.55 percent from 1.25 percent. This streamlined refinance program is available to borrowers who are current on their payments and may qualify even if they owe more than their homes are worth. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; It’s not over till it’s over

And then it happens. The underwriter runs a new credit report just before closing and it turns out the prospective borrower had run up a credit card balance, buys new furniture/appliances etc. and now the new debt kills the loan. […]

Lending Tree says FHA’s change in guidelines may increase mortgage rates

According to the LendingTree Monthly Mortgage Review, average mortgage rates inched up in March, with more borrowers than ever taking advantage of low Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan rates which averaged just 3.85 percent on a 30 year loan, almost 1/2 of one percent less than a conventional mortgage. However, according to the report, this may change soon as a result of the FHA adjusting its loan program guidelines and insurance premium structure which will cause the cost of a loan for future FHA borrowers to most likely increase. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; What Appraisers Look For When Determining a Home’s Value?

The primary indicator of value for residential real estate is comparable sales. The appraiser researches the market to gather information pertaining to sales, listings, pending sales that are similar to the subject property, and verfies this information is correct. The appraiser actually already has a good idea of the property’s value by the time they have scheduled an appointment to stop by the property. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; Do I need to sell my home to buy another?

Do I Have To Sell? No you do not have to sell if you are in a financial position where you qualify, i.e. Debt-to-Income Ratio is satisfactory and on paper you can afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on the new home. However, the borrower in this case must give consideration to other or additional expenses when maintaining multiple properties…increased property taxes, insurance costs, maintenance, un-expected repairs when making that decision. […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; "You’ll never buy at the bottom" Interest rates are on the rise

Mortgage rates have been rising nonstop since the end of last week. If you are considering a refinance or taking the plunge and buying a new home, you’d better get moving. I just had a prospect shop rates and terms for his new home over the last couple of weeks and just called back; he finally decided on a lender and wanted an updated rate quote to lock his loan. Needless to say, he was terribly disappointed…the rates we originally spoke about on a 30 year fixed rate a couple of weeks ago was in the high 3’s, my quote yesterday was 4.25% (4.45% APR ). […]

St. Louis Mortgage Rate Update; The Significance to Credit Scores


Simply stated, credit scores are a statistically-based tool to assess the future performance of a borrower. Scores are derived from the history of a borrower as it is reported to the credit repositories from any creditor. Credit scores are a proven indicator of the likelihood to repay a loan […]