Ingrid B. Quinn

NMLS ID #211652 Arizona, Loan Consultant


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Numbers and their Impact

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I read an interesting article by Lew Schelman in the November 4th National Mortgage News. He pointed out some interesting statistics and tidbits about how numbers correlate to certain home pricing strategies and some things to consider when coming up with the number to set a home’s sales price.

“Home sellers may not be afraid of certain numbers, at least not all of them. But according to Trulia, setting a price and “lucky” numbers go hand in hand.” Studying asking prices for homes since October 2011, Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, discovered that sales prices that end in 9 were the next most popular number after zero. 53% of all non-zero list prices on their site ended in 9. The next most common number was 5. Also, when home prices are reduced, they are more likely to have a 9 as the last number. When sellers are more eager to sell, the home price will also be more likely to have a 9.

When home prices were over $1,000,000, buyers are less likely to be influenced by the numbers game. Only 1 in 4 homes listed for $1,000,000 and up had a 9 as the last digit. The number 9 is also more popular in some markets, for example in up state New York. The number 4 is a number that can be unsettling in Chinese communities because the pronunciation of the number is similar to the word “death” in many Cantonese and Chinese dialects. On the flip side, the number 8 is “phonetically similar” to the words wealth or prosperity. The number 13 anywhere in the list price only appeared in the asking price of 13% of Trulia’s listings. In Nevada, lucky number 7 was more likely to be found in their listing numbers and the numbers 3 and 6 that represent positive and negative references in Christian numerology are more prevalent in a Bible Belt’s home prices.

So as an agent or a home seller, thinking about the numbers and their impact may be worthy of consideration in setting your sales price. Jed Kolko also wrote that “setting the right asking price for your home isn’t all science and it isn’t all art. Sellers and agents pick numbers to signal their strategy, and to appeal to the traditions and superstitions of local buyers.” Have you considered this when setting your selling prices?

I’d love to hear your feedback. I can be reached by email Ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or leave a comment on my blog page. Visit me at http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn.


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The Mortgage Business-Not How It Was

MortgageApproved
It’s been a 30 year ride for me in this business. I thought it was time to reflect where the industry has been and where it may go. It certainly is not a boring job. I find it an exciting challenge to daily talk to people and work with them towards their goal of buying a home.

The industry has been in the news a lot in the last 7-8 years and there has not been a dull moment. There have been a lot of changes in the rules and just keeping up with those has been a huge undertaking, but it just takes me back to when I first started out. We verify everything. It’s the way it should be.

I have been through real estate booms and busts, trends come and go and so do people I have worked with. The industry has done some weeding out and hopefully most of the bad apples are gone and hopefully industry standards are where they should be.

What remains the same is that Americans still want to own their homes. I find that people place an enormous amount of trust in my hands and I do everything I can to make their homeownership goal a reality. What has changed, though, is the difference about how a mortgage is originated. The online channel has grown and the mortgage industry has finally automated the process to an almost paperless process. Yea!! Gone are the file folders of 3-8 inch thick loan files and pdf versions of documents loaded into our processing system has make copying and faxing a near thing of the past.

What I still feel is important is the relationship of the quality referral to an experienced and trusted lender. Though online access is readily available, the referral to your mortgage lender is important because they are handling all of your personal information and the trust factor is imperative as to who has your information.

A home purchase is close to if not the largest personal purchase you will make. Take the time to find your trusted advisor in this process. It will make the experience a smoother one. For questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me at Ingrid.quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit my websites http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn.


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Condo Project Eligibility

Buyer-Seller-Rd-Sign
When looking to purchase a home in a condominium project, there are a few things to consider. Condominiums are treated a little differently than a single family detached or even an attached home in a homeowner’s association subdivision. The overall financial health of the condominium association is scrutinized. As a result, the project must be acceptable by guidelines put in place by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or VA. The scope of the guidelines and the specific eligibility criteria are dependent upon whether the condo project reviewed is an established community or new construction. I am going to focus on established projects and conventional guidelines. Below are guidelines for such condo projects:
• at least 90% of the total units in the project have been conveyed to the unit purchasers;
• the project is 100% complete, including all units and common elements;
• the project is not subject to additional phasing or annexation; and
• Control of the homeowners’ association has been turned over to the unit owners.
Some General Questions to ask about the Condominium Association
• Is there current litigation involving the association?
• How many units are investor units out of total count?
• Are there more than 15% homeowners 30 days or more delinquent in association fees?
• Does any single entity own more than 10% of the units?
By getting answers to these few questions, you may find out sooner than later whether you will have difficulty obtaining financing for the home you want to purchase.
Condo Insurance Requirements
The condo project insurance policy must ensure the homeowners’ association maintains a master or blanket type of insurance policy, with premiums being paid as a common expense. The insurance requirements vary based on the type of homeowners’ association master or blanket insurance policy. Also, be aware there must be a fidelity bond coverage or employee dishonesty coverage which covers against theft by those entities handling community funds. As for unit coverage, there are a couple of types available and you must check with your lender for what is required:
“All-In/Single Entity” (sometimes known as an “all-inclusive”): The policy must cover all of the general and limited common elements that are normally included in coverage. These include fixtures, building service equipment, and common personal property and supplies belonging to the homeowners’ association. The policy also must cover fixtures, equipment, and replacement of improvements and betterments that have been made inside the individual unit being financed. If the unit interior improvements are not included under the terms of this policy type, the borrower is required to have an HO-6 policy with coverage, as determined by the insurer, which is sufficient to repair the condo unit to its condition prior to a loss claim event.
“Bare Walls”: This policy typically provides no coverage for the unit interior, which includes fixtures, equipment, and replacement of interior improvements and betterments. As a result, the borrower must obtain an individual HO-6 policy that provides coverage sufficient to repair the condo unit to its condition prior to a loss claim event, as determined by the insurer. Depending on the type of loan you choose there can be a requirement for flood insurance.
Buyers need to know this information when looking into purchasing a condo. To determine eligibility for your condominium contact your lender and discuss what information you have and need to obtain for a smooth transaction. This adds an additional step to your mortgage process so make sure you have sufficient time to process your loan application.
For questions or suggestions please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@CobaltMortgage.com or visit me at either http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com or http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn


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Foreclosures Are Vanishing!

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As of last Thursday the number of homeowners who are either facing foreclosure or are behind on their mortgage payment has dropped to the lowest point in the past five years.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) had a press release last week that stated, “The serious delinquency rate, the percentage of loans that are 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure, was 5.88 percent, a decrease of 51 basis points from last quarter, and a decrease of 143 basis points from the second quarter of last year.”
The MBA talked about how the number of foreclosures we are seeing is more of a historical normal as opposed to the high rate of foreclosure we saw even a year ago. We are seeing the housing market improve each and every quarter.
The MBA said, “Most states are at or only slightly above longer-term averages, and some of the worst-hit states are showing improvement.”
Delinquencies and foreclosures have returned closer to their pre-crisis levels in states such as California and Arizona that don’t require mortgage companies to take back homes by appearing before a judge.
California and Arizona had foreclosure rates of 1.6% and 1.5%, putting them at No. 37 and No. 38 in foreclosures nationally. Those states had the third and fourth worst foreclosure rates in the country at the depth of the housing downturn.
Nationally, banks initiated foreclosure on around 0.6% of mortgages during the second quarter, down from a peak of 1.4% in 2009 but above a more normal level of 0.4%. “The rate of new foreclosures being started is still way too high, but it is down from the peak,” said Jay Brinkmann, Economist and SVP of Research and Economics.
Mr. Brinkman also said, “While overall economic growth and jobs creation have been less than robust, the improvements have not been consistent across the country or all sectors. The result is that those states with the weakest economic growth and the most sclerotic foreclosure systems have seen the slowest improvements in delinquency and foreclosure rates.”
All in all we can see that the housing market is still working its way back up even if it is not at the same rapid rate that we have been seeing in the past few months. However, it is nice to hear that the economic forecast for the near future looks good.
For questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn or http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com


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How Much Can I Qualify For? DTI, What is it?

canada-cut-interest-rateIf you talk to a lender, they are going to drill down to the 4 most important aspects of your loan when trying to purchase or refinance a home. What do you make, Who do you owe, How much cash do you have to work with and What is the property value?
I am going to focus this blog on the numbers involved in qualifying income and what the rules are to get someone an approved loan. Growing up in the mortgage business, I learned the rule of 28/36. Back in the 80s those were important numbers. What do they mean? They stand for the debt to income (DTI) ratios that lenders use as a basic qualifying guideline.
28% of someone’s gross monthly income (or determined self employed income or passive income of some kind) could be tied up in housing expense. That includes principal, interest, taxes, insurance, HOA/condo fees, and possible 2nd mortgage, if applicable. 36% of your income could be tied up in total debt. That includes house expense plus monthly debt like car payments, student loan debt (see Student Loan blog) or credit card payments.
Now, we hear how the mortgage market has tightened up, but the ratios we work with have relaxed over the years surprisingly. It is not uncommon to see ratios in the 35/45 range or even 35/55. Different types of loans, such as FHA, Conventional, VA or Jumbo have different thresholds for approval. You will see more flexibility when the quality of the loan is stronger. Larger down payments, high credit scores and/or cash reserves after closing are all qualities that could command a lower risk loan and therefore allow a higher DTI.
Many loans are run through automated underwriting systems such as DU (Desktop Underwriter) or LP (Loan Prospector) that measure the risk of a loan. Lenders take those results and continue to process the loan if an acceptable response/approval has been received. Knowledgeable loan officers and processors can work with these systems and try to figure what characteristic of the file may need to be improved to reach an acceptable response. Then the loan officer will be able to tell the borrower how much of a loan they are qualified for.
For further questions or suggestions, please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at http://www.ScottsdaleMortgageExpert.com or http://www.CobaltMortgage.com/IngridQuinn.


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Investment Purchase Options

Purchasing an Investment Property?With recent media attention and television shows that focus on buying and/or flipping (buying distressed properties and remodeling), there has been an increase in property investment purchases. These investors know the benefits of buying an investment property. Whether they rent them out to tenants or they flip a distressed property, buying another home can generate passive income for a homeowner. Because restrictions or tightened guidelines have come to mortgage lending companies, many investors are looking for alternative ways to finance their purchase. By researching all of your available options, you will be able to find a way to finance your potential investment property. Below are some options that may be available to you:

Conventional Conforming Mortgages

The rules will vary depending on whether an investor owns 4 or less financed residential properties or 5-10 financed residential properties. Before applying for a loan, make sure that you have your bank/asset and income paperwork in order. Lenders will require your last 2 years personal Federal tax returns. If you currently own rental property and will need to use rental income as qualifying income, it should be reported on your tax returns. Many investors set up LLCs or partnerships for managing rental property income and expenses. Copies of those returns will be required as well. Also, it is a good idea to obtain a current copy of your credit report as lenders will also have FICO requirements for investment mortgages that may be higher than those scores required for a simple owner occupied transaction.

Private Portfolio & Hard Money Lenders
Investors that flip properties must have short term cash to complete the majority of their purchases. Often, they are attending courthouse auctions to buy foreclosed homes. Many times, they obtain loans from private lenders at high interest rates and costs. With this type of loan, investors are under pressure to sell the house as quickly as possible.
You may choose to finance your investment purchase by using the equity in your primary residence as collateral. You can borrow the money from your primary home to pay cash for your investment property.
If you own additional properties, you can use the equity in multiple homes to finance your next purchase by using cross-collateralization. Some lenders will use your primary residence, as well as second home equity as security when buying an investment property.

How have you financed an investment purchase?
Please comment or email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit my websites at http://www.scottsdalemortgageexpert.com or http://www.cobaltmortgage.com/ingridquinn.


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Pre-Qualification Vs. Pre-Approval

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There seems to be a misunderstanding of the difference between a pre-qualification letter and a pre –approval letter. Both letters are given to a home buyer by a lender and it is usually suggested that a buyer gets this letter prior to shopping for their home. These allow clients to know exactly what their price range is and what they realistically can be approved for.

When in Arizona, both of these letters are documented with the same form, a PQF/ Pre-Qualification Form.

A pre-qualification letter can be created by simply having a conversation over the phone with a lender and having a credit check run. All this letter states is that from the information you have given the lender, you are qualified for up to a specific amount. If you are getting a pre-qualification letter, please take the time to be specific and honest with your lender. This will allow you to get the most accurate results possible.

On the other hand, there is also the option of getting a Pre-Approval letter. This letter is completed with the same form as a pre-qualification letter only with additional comments/notes made on it. This means that the file has been sent through a desktop underwriting (DU/LP) engine and documentation has been collected & reviewed by processing as well as an underwriter. This is usually marked with a TBD “to be determined” address. This is an approved loan simply requiring an appraisal, contract & title work.

Realtors appreciate when clients take the time to go through this process because it allows them to properly determine which homes to show and what is going to be best for that specific client. Yes, a pre-approval does take a little more effort and time, but in the end it can really give you the edge when looking to buy! For questions or comments please feel free to email me at Ingrid.Quinn@cobaltmortgage.com or visit me at scottsdalemortgageexpert.com .