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New Home Sales highest since 2007

New home sales (single family) sales increased 12.2% in 2016 to 563,000 units, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. A 5.8 month supply of homes (259,000 units) is currently in inventory. The median sales price of new houses sold was $322,500. The National Association of Home Builders reports high builder confidence for not just new housing in 2017, but in remodeling also. 

Mortgage Company and Realtors fined by CFPB

As reported in RISMedia and other outlets, a major mortgage lender, Prospect Mortgage along with two real estate brokerages have been ordered by the CFPB, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to pay more than $3.5 million in penalties for operating an illegal kickback program for mortgage business referrals.The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits real estate agents and brokerages from recommending settlement services, such as title insurance, appraisals, inspections, and loan origination, to consumers in exchange for payment from those service providers.

What’s that beep?

The other night at 3:00 in the morning my smoke detector/CO2 alarm started beeping. Why doesn’t this every happen during the day, that will always be one of life’s great mysteries, but what do you do then?

Well, if there is no smoke, it’s probably the CO2 part of your alarm being activated. The first thing to do is open all of your windows, then shut off all gas appliances. Check everyone in the home for nausea (CO2 poisoning). If anyone is sick (headache, nausea, confusion, drowsiness) then get to a neighbors and call 911. If no one is sick, then simply call the Fire Department for a CO2 check.

What is Appraisal/Evaluation Management?

Appraisal/Evaluation management is when an individual or group employs Licensed, Certified and General appraisers to fulfill real estate appraisal assignments, and qualified real estate professionals to fulfill evaluation assignments, on behalf of the mortgage lender. It involves recruiting, qualifying, verifying licensure and other requirements, negotiating fee and service level expectations; administrative duties like order entry and assignment, tracking and status reports, pre-delivery quality control (USPAP and Appraisal Standards), and report delivery (generally electronic). In addition, it involves ongoing quality control (a new major focus of federal regulators), accounts payable and receivable, market value dispute resolution, and record retention.

USPAP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

125. ENGAGED DIRECTLY BY THE HOMEOWNER Question: I was contacted by homeowners who want me to perform an appraisal of their home to be used for a loan at a federally regulated financial institution. What are my responsibilities in this potential assignment?

Response: It is an appraiser’s responsibility to disclose to the homeowners that a lender or its agent is required by Title XI of FIRREA to directly engage the services of an appraiser in a federally related transaction. If the homeowners still want to engage you, your disclosure allows you to accept the assignment. Additional information can be found in Advisory Opinion 25, Clarification of the Client in a Federally Related Transaction.

Ellie Mae reports 50 days for loan closings and average FICO scores.

Ellie Mae reports 50 days for loan closings and average FICO scores. In the December Origination Insight Report, Ellie Mae provides data from a sampling of loans that flow through their Encompass mortgage management software in the Ellie Mae Network. Closing time for all loans increased slightly to 50 days. Refinances were 52 days and time to close a purchase increased to 48 days, both up one day from the previous month.

The three top reasons that Closings don’t happen!

Newly released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for 2015 showed that the first place for denial of first-lien purchase mortgage loan applications went to the applicant’s debt-to-income ratio at 23.4%. Right behind that was the applicant’s credit history at 20.4%. What surprised me was that coming in a distant third at 13.7% was the value or type of collateral not being sufficient. Most of that 13.7% would presumably be because the appraisal could not support the buyer’s and seller's agreed-upon sales price of the home. 

Unexpected Housing Demand

All of us in the mortgage business know it hasn’t slowed down for the holidays yet, and there is a reason why! Sales of previously owned homes in October hit almost a 10-year high! This is throughout the nation also, with no region weighing in more than another. Different economists have different views of the why, but it’s generally thought that the tight housing market through the summer created pent-up demand this fall. Rates have recently gone up, so maybe there might be a slow down now for the balance of the holiday season. 

How Are You Paid?

Direct deposit, online and mobile payments, everyone, has heard about and, you would think, would be growing quickly as the typical form of payment. It’s easy, right?