What a Government Shutdown Means for REALTORS®

2018 Federal Government Shutdown

What a Government Shutdown Means for REALTORS®

Congress has failed to approve a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing funding for most government operations. Therefore, spending authority for most of the government expired at midnight on January 19, 2018. Until legislation providing for funding is signed into law, many offices and programs of the federal government are now shut down. This means many, but not all, government programs, including some that impact federal housing and mortgage programs, have been suspended or slowed due to the lapse in government funding. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires each agency to have contingency plans in place. The information below is based on NAR staff review of agency contingency plans for the current shutdown and past experience with previous shutdowns and near-shutdowns.

NFIP National Flood Insurance Program

An extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was attached to the CR that Congress failed to pass. This means that for the duration of the shutdown, the NFIP will not be able to issue new or renew flood insurance policies. However, existing policies will not be affected until 30 days after their expiration date. Homebuyers will also be able to assume existing policies and claims will continue to be processed and paid as usual. For more detailed information, FEMA’s latest guidance to insurance companies can be found here(link is external).

Federal Housing Administration

HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program except for HECM loans. It will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. FHA will maintain operational activities including paying claims and collecting premiums. FHA Contractors managing the REO/HUD Homes portfolio can continue to operate. Loss mitigation programs will continue to operate. You can expect some delays with FHA processing due to short staffing. (See the HUD Contingency Plan for Possible Lapse in Appropriations(link is external) for more info.)

Government Sponsored Enterprises

During previous shutdowns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have continued normal operations, just as their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, since they are not reliant on appropriated funds. Fannie and Freddie are expected to announce relaxed procedures that would permit closings to go forward without federal verification of Social Security numbers and IRS tax transcripts. However, lenders would still have to obtain federal verification of both before the GSE’s will accept loans for purchase. Any relaxed requirements would not apply to loan modification re-financings.

Rural Housing Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will not issue new rural housing Direct Loans or Guaranteed Loans. Scheduled closings of Direct Loans will not occur. Scheduled closings of Guaranteed Loans without the guarantee previously issued would be closed at the lender’s own risk.

VA Loan Guaranty Program

The VA loan guaranty program will be operational. The VA has determined that housing is an “essential service.” In addition, VA projects that “95.5% of VA employees would either be fully funded or required to perform excepted functions during a shutdown” (Download the VA Contingency Plan here(link is external) for more info.)

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS is closed and has suspended the processing of all forms, including requests for tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). While FHA and VA do not require these transcripts, they are required by many lenders for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA, so delays can be expected if the shutdown is protracted. We have received indications that many loan originators are adopting revised policies during the shutdown, such as allowing for processing and closings with income verification to follow, as long as the borrower has signed a Form 4506T requesting IRS tax transcripts. On loans requiring a Form 4506T Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to adopt relaxed provisions allowing closings but subject to tax transcript verification before the GSE’s purchase the loans.

Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration is closed and has suspended most customer service functions. According to the SSA Contingency Plan, verifying Social Security numbers through the Consent Based SSN Verification Service will also be suspended during the shutdown, a further complication for mortgage processing. As with IRS income verification, policies vary among lenders, with many choosing to exercise forbearance during the shutdown period subject to subsequent verification. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to adopt policies to allow for closing subject to subsequent verification and before GSE purchase of the loan.

For more information contact:

Dean Henderson, CRMS

USDA Lowering Fees

USDA-mortgage-lower-fees2Upfront Guarantee Fee and Monthly/Annual Fee Decrease

USDA has announced a reduction in the upfront guarantee fee and monthly/annual fee for fiscal year (FY) 2017 effective with Conditional Commitments issued on or after October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017. The current and new reduced fees are as follows:

USDA Rural Development Reducing Guarantee and Annual Fees in October:
Effective October 1, 2016 (the start of fiscal year 2017) program fees for USDA Rural Development’s guaranteed home loan program will be significantly reduced.
The upfront guarantee fee will change from 2.75% to 1.0% of the loan amount.
The annual fee will change from 0.50% to 0.35% of the average scheduled unpaid principal balance for the life of the loan.

USDA FEES 10-1-16






The new fee structure will save homebuyers thousands of dollars up front and reduce monthly payments significantly.

For More Information about the USDA program call:

Dean Henderson, CRMS
Financial Independence Mortgage
(661) 726-9000

Home Loan Do’s and Don’ts

A guide to making a smooth loan process

A guide to making a smooth loan process

Now that you have made the decision that you would like to buy a home there are some very important Do’s and Don’t that you need to keep in mind in order to prepare yourself for a smooth mortgage approval process.  The slightest misstep could cause significant difficulties and delays on the closing of your home.  Mortgage guidelines have some strict rules that need to be complied with in order to get you loan approved and it is you loan officer’s job to help guide you through the process and maneuver you around potential road blocks that could lead to a mortgage denial.  These Do’s and Don’t are designed to maximize you FICO scores, minimize your debt-to-income ratios, and assure your funds to close are allowable.

First the Do’s:

  • Do continue making your rent and credit payments on time
  • Do keep working at your current employer.
  • Do ask your loan officer before making any financial moves

Now the Don’ts:

  • Don’t deposit and cash in you bank accounts!
  • Don’t change jobs
  • Don’t make any major purchases. (car, furniture, refrigerator, etc.)
  • Don’t apply for or open and new credit. (even if you’re “preapproved”)
  • Don’t transfer credit card balances or consolidate any debt
  • Don’t pay charge offs or collections.(unless your loan officer says to do it)
  • Don’t close any credit card accounts
  • Don’t increase your credit card balances
  • Don’t change bank accounts.
  • Don’t pay off loans or credit cards (unless your loan officer says it’s ok)
  • Don’t give your landlord notice to move without asking your loan officer first

These are very important rules to following in the before and during you home loan process.  For more guidance to help you navigate to a fast and easy closing please call Dean Henderson at 661-726-9000.

Dean Henderson, CRMS
Financial Independence Mortgage

USDA Loan Property Eligibility Extended to October 2014

USDA Loan Still AvailThe USDA 100% Financing program had been slated to implement the 2010 census data modifying eligible rural areas for USDA Rural Housing Programs on October 1, 2013. However, with the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014” (H.R. 2775) signed into law by the President of the United States on October 16, 2013, eligible areas for USDA Rural Housing Programs remained unchanged and consistent with the 2000 Census through January 15, 2014.

On January 9, 2014, USDA sent out a memo stating “Eligible areas remain unchanged and continue in a “holding pattern” until either an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution is passed.”

Then on January 24, 2014 USDA sent a memo stating, “Barring Congressional action, USDA will begin using 2010 Census data to determine eligible rural areas for Rural Development housing programs on October 1, 2014.

Once the new maps are implemented the main areas in the Antelope Valley that will be eliminated from eligibility will be Rosamond and Lake Los Angeles.

Financial Independence Mortgage has specialized in funding this program for the last several years and it has been a great option for home buyers in the following areas of the Antelope Valley: Rosamond, Mojave, Antelope Acres, Acton, Littlerock, Lake Los Angeles, Pearblossom, Juniper Hills, Llano, Elizabeth Lake, Lake Hughes, Leona Valley and Valyermo.

In addition to zero down payment, the cost of the monthly payment is less than an FHA loan.  Guidelines are similar to FHA which makes qualifying easy for first-time homebuyers.

Eligible rural areas are defined as open country or towns, or places with a population up to 20,000 in Non-Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Counties and less than 10,000 populations in MSA Counties, which are not a part of or associated with an urban area.

For a Free-PreQualification and to check for USDA eligible properties please contact Dean Henderson at 661-726-9000.

Waiting Period to Buy Again After a Foreclosure, Short Sale, or Loan Modification?

How long is the waiting period to buy again?By Dean Henderson, CRMS

One of the most common questions I get asked these days is how long does someone need to wait before they qualify for a new mortgage if they have experienced a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification in the past?  Currently, mortgage underwriters are treating all of these events the same.

While re-establishing credit and meeting other lending guidelines will be necessary, there are minimum waiting periods for getting new mortgage loans after these significant negative credit events.

Below are the timelines for obtaining new loans for Conventional Conforming Mortgage Loans (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), FHA (Federal Housing Administration Insured Loans),  USDA-RD (United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Loans) and VA (Veterans Administration Guaranteed Loan).

These are the most common time frames. There may be some rare exceptions to these timelines. These basic guidelines do not serve as a substitute for a discussion with a mortgage professional about your specific situation.

Conventional Loans (Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac) – 7 Years

The waiting period to buy again after a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification is 7 years.  This timeframe may be reduced if the previous short sold property or modified loan was never late and the borrower is putting a large down payment on the new mortgage.  How the previous lender has rated the previous mortgage on the credit report can also have and impact on the waiting period.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration Insured Loans) – 3 Years

The waiting period to buy again after a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification is 3 years.  How the previous lender has rated the previous mortgage on the credit report can have and impact on the waiting period.  FHA does provide some very rare exceptions where the time frame can be reduced which, for example, includes the death of spouse who was the primary wage-earner at the time of the foreclosure, short sale or loan modification.

USDA-RD (United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Loans) – 3 Years

Like FHA loans the waiting period to buy again after a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification is 3 years.  How the previous lender has rated the previous mortgage on the credit report can have and impact on the waiting period.

VA (Veterans Administration Guaranteed Loan) – 2 Years

VA has the shortest waiting period.  The waiting period to buy again after a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification is only 2 years.  If the previously foreclosed property was a VA loan there may be some issues regarding the reinstatement of the veterans full entitlement benefits.  This can be determined when we order a new Certificate of Eligibility from the US Department of Veteran Affairs.

To find out more specific information regarding these guidelines call Dean Henderson at 661-726-9000.

Zero Down USDA Loans are HOT in Rosamond, Lake L.A., Littlerock and Pearblossom.

Zero Down Loan

100% Financing is alive and well in the AV…

It wasn’t all that long ago when few people even knew about the USDA loan program and those that did thought it had to used to buy a Farm. But not today – most homeowners who are shopping for a home outside a major city are surprised to learn that many properties qualify for a USDA loan even though they can hardly be considered “rural”.

USDA Loan Highlights

  • A USDA loan is backed by the USDA (U.S. Federal Government)
  • True 100% / No Money Down financing
  • Can be used to buy a new home or refinance an existing mortgage
  • Many people can qualify – it is “not just for farmers”
  • No Mortgage Insurance
  • No FICO score OK or 620+ FICO score
  • No Cash Reserve Requirements
  • Gifts can be from family or non-family members
  • Seller can contribute up to 6% of sales price towards closing costs

Who Can Qualify for a USDA Loan?

USDA loan eligibility is determined by property area, so if the property is located in Rosamond, Lake Los Angeles, Littlerock, Mojave, Pearblossom or Acton it will very likely be eligible for USDA financing.  Palmdale and Lancaster do not qualify.  When qualifying for a USDA loan, it is very similar to qualifying for a FHA loan – it is important to have a current income that you can document and a decent credit history with a demonstrated ability to repay the loan.  Not all lenders have experience helping people with USDA loans, so it is important that you choose a lender with experience and a track record for successfully closing USDA loans.  Financial Independence Mortgage is expert at these loans in the Antelope Valley.

Want to know more about USDA Loans?

Call Dean Henderson at 661-726-9000 for more information on USDA Loans.